Very excited about The Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council forming a Learning and Leadership Committee to study issues of equity in funding for the arts in greater Pittsburgh, both current and historical. The committee will collectively determine an approach to examine the allocation of arts funding in Pittsburgh through the lens of race and will then share their findings with the larger community. In no small issue of equity, participants will receive a $1,000 stipend for their labor and since there are ten people on the committee, they essentially become a collective $10,000 consultant, but with the dollars going to the people who are to benefit, namely Black artists, the issue of trickle down community engagement is prevented. In the past, looking at Heinz giving by race, one of the things that I’ve found interesting is trying to figure out what I think defines the racial classification of an organization. Is it the CEO? The majority of staff? The majority of staff & board? The majority of staff, board and audience? What if the grant is for Black led work in a predominantly white organization? Is that the same as dollars to a white led organization for work primarily impacting white people?
In a study done by consulting firm TDC called The Unsung Majority, which was commissioned by The Heinz Endowments, an anonymous foundation & the Pittsburgh Foundation, an organization was racially defined by saying “it’s race” was whatever its majority was in 2 of the 3 categories of board, staff and audience. The Equity in Funding project will work on answering those kinds of questions as well as deciding what are the critical questions to ask funders when it comes to thinking about how our funding is dispersed in racial terms. I’m super interested in what they come up with.
The research is supported by a grant from a program jointly funded by the Pittsburgh Foundation and The Heinz Endowments called the Advancing Black Arts Program. To see more about the project copy and paste the link below.