Livestreaming on this page on Tuesday 16 June 2020 at 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 2 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).
Coronavirus Response: Building a future that reimagines systems for justice
a conversation hosted by Grantmakers in the Arts
Grantmakers in the Arts presented the conversation Coronavirus Response: Building a future that reimagines systems for justice livestreaming on the global, commons-based, peer-produced HowlRound TV network at howlround.tv on Tuesday 16 June 2020 at 11 a.m. PDT (San Francisco, UTC-7) / 1 p.m. CDT (Chicago, UTC-5) / 2 p.m. EDT (New York, UTC-4).
For weeks or months now, depending on the kind of community you live in, we have been living a different kind of collective reality, one that is adapting to deep social, emotional, cultural, physical, and economic impacts of social (read: physical) distancing. While we still do not know the full scale of impact the coronavirus pandemic will have upon our communities, our grantees, our artists and educators, we do know that the arts ecosystem as a whole will need to come together to reimagine a different kind of future.
We have seen immense energy from funders around flexibility and trust. Funders have been acting fast with limited to no requirements for applications, repurposing current grant program awards in favor of GOS, increasing payouts above the 5% minimum, and centering experiences of their grantees. These elements of rapid response can inform structural changes for how we can operate in the future, if we are committed to long-term change. We will hear from funders and PSO leaders who are calling for and working toward a more liberated future of grantmaking. Together, we will explore what is necessary to re-imagine systems, power, and practice in response to this pandemic and the ongoing crisis of racial inequality.
Join us to address the following questions:
- How are funders working together to re-create new systems of power and practice?
- How can we change our relationship with recovery to ensure we do not a return to the inequitable and unprepared system with huge gaps in power?
- What is the long-term strategy for equity-centered resiliency in the arts?
Please review the following resources prior to the webinar:
Resonance: A framework for philanthropic transformation
Philanthropy, this is our “Matrix” moment... what will you choose?
Four Criteria for More Justice in COVID-19 Response Funds
Randy Engstrom is the director of the Office of Arts & Culture for the City of Seattle. Previously, Engstrom owned and operated Reflex Strategies, a cultural and community-based consulting business. He served as chair of the Seattle Arts Commission in 2011 after serving two years as vice-chair and was chair of the Facilities and Economic Development Committee from 2006 to 2010. He has served as the founding director of the Youngstown Cultural Arts Center, a multimedia/multidisciplinary community space that offers youth and community members access to arts, technology, and cultural resources. Prior to Youngstown, Engstrom spent three years as the founding CEO of Static Factory Media, an artist development organization that owned and operated a record label, bar/performance venue, graphic design house, recording studio, and web development business. In 2009 Engstrom received the Emerging Leader Award from Americans for the Arts and was one of Puget Sound Business Journal’s 40 Under 40. He is a graduate of the Evergreen State College in Olympia, and he received his executive master in Public Administration at the University of Washington’s Evans School of Public Affairs.
Sharnita C. Johnson
Sharnita C. Johnson directs The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation’s arts grants, which foster a diverse and vibrant arts ecosystem, create broad-based public support of the arts, and support communities engaged in creative placemaking in New Jersey. Prior to joining Dodge, Johnson managed a $25 million grantmaking portfolio in education, health, and family economic security at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation in Michigan. Her arts career began in development at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History and the historic Music Hall Center for the Performing Arts in Detroit. Johnson later joined the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, then co-founding the Council of Michigan Foundations Arts Affinity Group, which led to implementing the Cultural Data Project (DataArts) and later establishing Detroit's first community public art program. Johnson holds a master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a bachelor of arts from Marygrove College in Detroit.
As the Executive Director for Justice Funders, Dana Kawaoka-Chen partners and guides philanthropy in reimagining practices that advance a thriving and just world. She is a co-author of “The Choir Book: A Framework for Social Justice Philanthropy,” and frequently serves as a trainer and facilitator for values-aligned practice in philanthropy. Her leadership has been recognized by her peers – in 2014, she was awarded a Distinguished Alumni Award by Oakes College of the University of California at Santa Cruz, and in 2015, Asian Americans/Pacific Islanders in Philanthropy recognized Kawaoka-Chen as one of twenty-five national “Leaders in Action.” She has previously served in executive functions for two other non-profit organizations. She has a master of science degree in Organization Development from the University of San Francisco, bachelor of arts degrees in American Studies and Visual Art from the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Non-Profit Management Certification from San Jose State University. Kawaoka-Chen attempts to practice patience every day as a parent of two very opinionated kids and a stubborn dog. She occasionally finds time for her yoga practice and has been known to be rendered speechless by good chocolate. Born and raised in the Bay Area, Kawaoka-Chen currently lives in San Jose with her family.
Justin Laing applies critical race and critical pedagogy to create project-based learning experiences in partnership with staff and participants in order to create deeper reforms of white supremacist systems. The work is intended to expand Hillombo LLC’s critical analysis and shift power to Black, Brown, and racially critical White people in order to bring about more equitable outcomes. Before starting Hillombo in 2017, Laing worked as a senior program officer of Arts & Culture at The Heinz Endowments for more than a decade and led the Transformative Arts Process, a participatory grantmaking program. He came to philanthropy having worked for ten years as the assistant director of Nego Gato, Inc, an Afro Brazilian Music, Dance, and Martial Arts company. Laing has a BA in Black Studies from the University of Pittsburgh, a Masters in Public Management from Carnegie Mellon University and is the son of Susan and Clarence Laing and the father of Kufere, Etana, and Adeyemi Laing.
[Sherylynn Sealy begins speaking, unseen. Sherylynn’s voice cuts in and out.]
Sherylynn Sealy: Webinar Coronavirus response, building a future that reimagines systems for justice. I'm Sherylynn Sealy, Program Manager Grantmakers in the Arts. This webinar will be live streamed on the GIA website for participants who are Deaf or hard of hearing or request accommodation live captioning and ASL interpretation will be available via the live stream. The links for these have been provided to the left of your screen in the notes section. This is our second coronavirus response webinar and we have seen immense energy from funders around flexibility over the past few months. with limited to no requirements for applications repurposing current grant program for and centering experience for their grantees. These elements of rapid response can inform structural structural for how we can operate in the future if we are committed to longterm change. We're glad to have Randy Engstrom, Director of Seattle Office of Arts and Culture, Sharnita C. Johnson, Program Director of Arts at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, Dana Kawaoka-Chen, Executive Director of Justice Funders and Justin Laing, Principal Consultant, Hillombo LLC. We are calling for and working toward a more liberated future of grant making. And on this webinar, we will explore what is necessary to reimagine systems, power and practice and response to this pandemic and ongoing crisis of racial inequity. We're glad to have all of these presenters joining us today. there'll be an opportunity for you to submit your responses to questions. Please do so in the Q&A box to the bottom of your screen. There will also be an opportunity for you to write one for this activity. At the very end of the presentation, I will be joining again to facilitate the Q&A. So with that, I will turn it over to our presenters. Welcome Dana, Justin, Sharnita, and Randy. Dana why don't you get us started?
Dana Kawaoka-Chen: Thanks so much Sherylynn and hello everyone. This is Dana from Justice Funders, thank you all for welcoming me into your home offices. Today's just so you know I'm participating from unceded Ohlone land in what is also known as San Jose, California, so let's get some audience participation going here. Today's webinar is focused on systems for justice. Before we get to that in the chat, I'd like to invite folks to type in your responses to the following question. What systems does institutional philanthropy perpetuate? So folks could chat in their responses to that.
Dana: Hi, to those who've just joined if you can, in the Q&A box, please type in your response to the question on the screen, what systems does institutional philanthropy perpetuate?
Dana: Hopefully folks are typing in just in the interest of time. I'm going to advance to just say that some of the things that I think Sherylynn mentioned in her intro are things around white supremacy, the culture of begging for funds, the white savior complex, we're starting to see inaccurate meritocracy, I would also lift up economic inequality. So yes all of you who are working in the field have a sense that these are the things that our current systems perpetuate. And so one of the things that our research at Justice Funders has found is that in order to build a future, that reimagined systems, we need to really understand how the current system of philanthropy got built and what structures and systems perpetuate them. So hopefully you'll see, in the reading that was posted on the registration webpage for this program, that one of the things we learned through stifle generosity is that like other forms of wealth in the U.S. philanthropic wealth can be directly traced back to industries of extraction and exploitation, including slavery, stolen land from Indigenous people and the systemic undervaluing of women's work. However, it was the Revenue Act of 1913 that we found to have codified several things. Public charities and the independent foundations had been in existence for decades and had operated for the public good. This act formerly started the era in which tax policy regulated philanthropic activities and incentivized charitable giving. These laws created a distinct nonprofit sector divined by their legal status. So this was the beginning of the nonprofit industrial complex in which the government had the ability to monitor and control social movements and it also created a reliance then on state and foundation and corporate funding that has also served to derail then the power of social movements. From there we found other policies that we documented that pull out the ways in which philanthropy has now become a tax shelter for wealth. Our colleagues at Grantmakers for Effective Organizations or GEOs has lifted up the ways in which the culture of philanthropy then is really coming from three dominant fields, academia, banking, and for profit corporations, so the ABCs of philanthropy, we see this manifest in how philanthropy privileges experts with an educational pedigree have a job roles and philanthropy are program officers instead of loan officers, where these folks are expected to perform a sense of due diligence to mitigate risk and the war of board of directors for foundations that are similar to corporations. So I start here to offer this context because while it may be easy for us to talk about what's wrong with institutional philanthropy it may not always be easy for us to say why. You'll see here that this is the just transition framework that's been articulated by the Climate Justice Alliance and Movement Generation. On the left, you'll see a representation of our current economy, which we would characterize as being organized around the right to accumulate wealth through the exploitation of labor, extraction of our natural resources and enforced through militarism. The just transitioned is for us to get into hospice this economy while building the one on the right, which privileges people and planet thriving by being in deep relationship with one another, that allow for the wealth of the productive labor of each community to remain in that community and be governed by deep democracy. As our colleague Ed Whitfield of the Fund for Democratic Communities says the wealth of foundations is derived from the wealth that was created by laboring people. To us, that means there's a moral imperative to give it back to the communities where it was generated and to do so in ways to ensure that is used as a productive asset. This is why Justice Funders has decided to use our approach in philanthropy to call for a just transition in philanthropy. We believe that philanthropy must support the agency of communities to implement solutions and reimagine models for governing philanthropic resources, human, financial, and knowledge that redistribute wealth, democratize power and shift economic control to communities. I believe that Nadia and Sherylynn posted our link to resonance again on the registration page. So the way to begin your philanthropy's just transition in whatever your starting point is, is to identify ways to operationalize your values within all aspects of your organization. A just transition will look different for each philanthropy as it does for each community. Here we offer some of our interpretations of the ones that Climate Justice Alliance and Movement Generation created for their just transition framework. So one moves us to blends of the earth and philanthropy, we offer some of these principles guide us to shift our thinking about the many actions we could take as an inherently privileged perspective to thinking about what is necessary for all to thrive. We think about how do we uphold self determination and build deep democracy, which really means ending paternalistic behaviors and controlling behaviors towards our grantees that are based in a risk aversion and moving towards authentic partnership where grantees retain the right to design solutions for their lives, rather than having these approaches imposed on them. We look at how we can equitably redistribute resources and power, and really think about what does redistribution look like? How do we get beyond the 5% payout? I mean, use all of the capital at our disposal to really combat inequity. And how do we really build what we need now? How do we act with the level of resource that we see needed in the world right now? As this conversation is also about reimagining systems, I think the conversation of philanthropy has often been about, well, what about diversity, equity and inclusion? At Justice Funders, we would offer it, the DEI is a means to an end and not the end itself. These are critical steps towards transferring decision-making and control, to communities that are most impacted by injustice. However, if our intention is to build a future that reimagine systems for justice, this analysis from Dr. Ibram X. Kendi is particularly provocative and particularly salient in this moment. He says racism and capitalism emerged at the same time in 15th century, Western Europe, and they've reinforced each other from the beginning. Slavery and colonialism accumulated the wealth that powered capitalist expansionism. To be an anti-racist is also to be an anti-capitalism and anti-capitalist So given where we are now, how do we move our institutions from a place of extraction to one of regeneration? It begins with transforming our underlying approach to capital, away from an approach where individuals and institutions have the right to endlessly accumulate capital and make decisions on how it should be allocated for the public good and towards an approach where the collective capacity of communities most impacted by extraction and exploitation are able to produce them themselves, give to and invest directly in what their communities need and retain the returns generated from these investments. It also means that we have to transform our underlying approach to philanthropy. We need to move away from approach where foundations maintain power, accumulate wealth, and grow their endowments indefinitely to one in which foundations are actively supporting new economic systems that transfer the management and control of financial resources away from institutions and into the hands of communities who have been impacted by wealth accumulation and the extractive economy. As our colleague Edgar Villanueva at the Schott Foundation says all of us who have been forced to the margins are the very ones who harbor the best solutions for healing, progress and peace by virtue of our outsider perspectives and our resilience. When we reclaim our shared resources, when we recover our places at the table on the drawing board, we can design our healing, we can create new ways of seeking and granting access to money, and we can return balance to the world by moving money to where the hurt is the worse. From there, we offer seven sets of practices that philanthropies can begin to transition from extraction to regeneration. They include relationship to communities, leadership, operations, endowment, grant making strategy, grant making process, and grant making decisions.
Producer: Hold please, ladies and gentleman, we seem to have lost the audio for the presenters. I'll get that right back, hold on.
Dana: Hi, this is Dana I'm so sorry I got cut off.
Producer: Oh yeah Dana, you're back with us, so thank you, continue please.
Dana: Sorry folks, apologies for the technological difficulties. I just wanted to move back in to say that Justice Funders believes that each philanthropic organization is fully capable of restructuring how our resources are deployed more cooperatively, restoratively and regeneratively. And so in order to actually practice this, I'd like to invite folks to get a piece of scratch paper and with your non-dominant writing handed in cursive, I'd like you to try to write the following sentence. Regenerative systems will require us to build new muscles. So if you can, on a piece of scratch paper with your non-dominant writing hand, regenerative systems will require us to build new muscles. If you can, again in the chat, I'd invite folks to share how that's going with you and Sherylynn, if you could share that back. [Pause.] We’re seeing impossible, hard to do, yes, awkward, yes, uncomfortable. So if I can submit to you all this exercise is really analogous to the work before us. It's easier, faster, more comfortable to do things that we already know how to do and in the status quo we may get rewarded for doing so. However, if we're really about reimagining systems for justice, it's not only about how we get competence in our ability to relearn how to do all the things we already know how to do, but to do so with a different intention and in conditions where it will be the spaces that you create that support this practice. So in closing our movements today are waging some of the most courageous fights to build contested one power. And at the same time we're witnessing communities around the country, incubate launch and build alternative economies. When we reconsider the magnitude of these natural man-made disasters happening, we need all of our philanthropies to go all in on helping us to usher the world we want, the world that we need. Each of your foundations has control of your own story. It will be our grandchildren who can look back and determine whether or not we perpetuated the status quo or gave birth to a new world. The narrative of the future has yet to be written, but requires us to start now. Thank you. I will now pass it over to my colleague, Justin. Justin?
Justin Laing: Okay, hope everybody's doing well out there. Thanks Dana. And thanks to Grantmakers in the Arts for the opportunity to be a part of the conversation. I think, one of the things that we just heard in the framework from Dana I think if you look at it, it gives us a North star in arts philanthropy to think about a world where we don't have arts philanthropy. I think if you follow the logic of it that eventually to have actual community control over their own resources, there have to be a whole different governing structure. And so I wanna talk about today, I guess is a little bit around the idea of, well, what might interim steps look like or what I'm offering here as Black Radical Fractals. I'll talk a little bit more about that definition, but what might be the specific steps and art and philanthropy, and how do we look at the way that art, how the particular role in the structure of white supremacy and racial capitalism and how as the program officers are both working in community? How could we start to get more clarity around this is the thing that we're gonna be trying to replace. And so I think that's the longterm strategy to the question that was asked what that might be a longterm strategy. That seems to me to be a longterm strategy. But I think that would require obviously a much broader base, I don't think it's simply as I think we all know from working in the field, it's not just the technical task of like learning some theory and some ideas, and then going to work, because I think the truth is that philanthropy has its own structure within it. So that you have this even class structure even inside your organization. So even though you have the foundation to grantees you also have the foundation of program officers and you work in the field and you kind of get the sense that you know that it's not so simple as you offering a good idea, you have some resistance often from the board probably with different issues and so how do you deal with that? And so one way I think is to the second question about how are funders working together I think we might also have how our funders working together and how they're working together with grantees, with public and how I would be getting to practice some kind of democracy building that even if it's only an interim step now it could be the muscle building to that same analogy that could be taken advantage of and further. I mean, I think the last thing regarding this idea of how do we influence systems? I think, one of the things that's interesting about the work at GIA, I've been privileged, in all sense the word, to work at it in prior iterations, to be on the board, et cetera is that some of the work has been put out whether about systemic racism or internalized oppression, whether it's internal supremacy in terms of why people are internalizing theory or different from people of color is we have a lot of analysis that's gotten out there, but what are our applications? And so this idea of Fractals and Black Radical Fractals, the piece, I guess I'm interested in is what are specific steps that we can take, whether it's creating new ways of making decisions and that was in that article that was posted with this webinar that I did a few months ago when the coronavirus started, whether it's specific grading criteria, whether it's new forms of evaluation that use a racial analysis or use the white supremacy analysis to look at how the program works, how do we start to incorporate these things into the daily practice? The third piece I have here around Black Marxism by Cedric Robinson is I think he offers one of the ways that I think that the arts and culture bill could have influenced and bought our systems as he, he talks about how not only did racism and capitalism kind of get formed together, but rather, or in addition, I guess you would say, I guess you'd say, rather he offered a different theory that European culture gave us capitalism. It came out of a racialized culture, a culture that saw different, saw war, saw aggression amongst themselves, and capitalism serves that kind of cultural orientation. So I think one thing we could offer is to begin more of a cultural analysis of capitalism or racial capitalism, as he would call it and begin to discuss that, that it's actually we're seeing a culture and we see that in the white's company culture work. So I think that's one way we could influence it, that we could begin to get ourselves back at some of the larger tables of policy by starting to talk about the role that culture plays in terms of even that capitalism itself is a cultural product. So here, I've been interested in the just transition framework and thinking about, hopefully you can read this, hopefully it's legible, but that there'd be what does it look like in the arts field? And so I think in this case here, I'm just in this middle steps, regarding what the Black radical fractals are, or you will call them non-reformist reform, but they're ideas that what might have in them that if you were to imagine them much expanded, they would have this much greater impact, but you could do them at the level of your program or level of your foundation, because you knew the principal they were based on, you knew where they were trying to go. So, and this is here, I think on the left side, I have some ideas around the ways that arts and culture philanthropy upholds the white supremacy culture of a community, I'm most familiar with urban environment. So I think of some examples like downtown, where I think you see that in many ways, they're a monument to white supremacy culture, white supremacy period, because which art forms have the greatest land have the greatest real estate have gotten gifts of all different kinds. And how does that start with an ongoing learning place, a place where we learn, who matters, who has culture, so on and so forth, who are the the folks who really have contributed, the greatest of the world, which is the underpinnings of white supremacy. And I think when we see these other incidences of like murder, like we see happening all over the place of Black people from police, how can we see that also a cultural expression of a worldview that can supervise sometimes, maybe even in the budget of a program and how do we maybe start to think about language and using that inside the foundation? It might change how we say that, but to start to raise some critical analysis where there are allies, where there are folks who are willing to listen to that and start to say, this is the way our program upholds that. And in the middle there are some examples of some steps I think that we could take, most of that having to do with the way that you can strain capital is through expanding decision-making having broader folks who are involved in particularly being explicit about this is about shifting power back towards Black people and whether that's through an advisory board practice or through, again, that criteria I mentioned, but really trying to take these ideas that we mentioned in the previous slides and look at what do they look like even in small application? And so here are some, and on the right side, I was idea on pluriversality, not my idea, I know from a number of other people, but with a cultural critique here, we're saying, diversity inclusion equity has an idea of integrating itself into like a singular frame often. So we want the same frame, we want a different, a variety of people operating in the side of it. How do we start to say, what kind of cultural landscape would allow a multiplicity of cultural viewpoint, a plurality of cultural viewpoint that might be radically different from one another. And that's what our field talks about And some of these fields, to this viewpoint from the Indigenous or traditional African perspectives are much different than a material based on the enlightenment and what of system would we need in order so that all those systems had access to resources. So not a fan of Milton Friedman, but I think this idea that he had around developing specific reforms and strategies, it was useful in the so-called neoliberalism, that he was writing about ideas in the '40s, '50s that didn't get applied for much later. So how do we start to develop ideas around reparations, around democracy of a capital that then in a larger crisis, we'd be able to apply all that to a place where we had more liberated resources. We would have the actual system that we've done in smaller scales in all kinds of matters. Whether it's how we make a decision, how we evaluate a program that we're using a whole other kinds of sets of criteria. But they were now at a time, we actually had a greater opportunity and we actually have those practices beyond just kind of like language of critique, which I think are filled with a lot of languages of critique but we don't have much small practice. And that was one of my thoughts with GIA also that it can continue to be a place to probably get like these specific small practices that are being used and that we can learn from. So here are four principles and so a lot of this is influenced by and this is a gentlemen named Andres Gorse who has been around labor strategy, in curtailing capital and managing it, they've been altered a little bit, but I wanna draw attention to this notion of accountability. And that this idea there's a couple of elements to it. So one might be enforceability, we're not there at the moment. That would be where a community could actually enforced with the foundation where the arts program, here are the changes that we want because of the way the governance is structured, that's not possible at the moment. Unless you change the board, which is the highest level, I think a really changing power, which again, is on that transition that Danisha offered. But at least we could have any smaller programs answerability where program officers are communicating clearly about what's going on. Having people participate in public budgeting, even for, again, if it's a whatever size of resources there are, still practicing these broader democratic principles. And so if we don't have enforceability where you actually have shared equal power, maybe we provide a package of answerability. So in last comments here are around this idea about language, because that's a critical aspect, and it's a critical aspect about in philanthropy, where in many ways, philanthropy, as much as it puts out money, I think you could say it puts out language. And so here's different languages I think that we could take great advantage of "Critical Race Theory". A lot of the language that that has been offered by that field is taken advantage of by education, appointed the battle inside the foundation to get to some of this language made public, because that's where I think you see the attention of greater amounts of power in the organization that will resist in the area of change. But I wanted to offer a couple and maybe one framework particularly to draw attention to here is formal race, which I think is a useful idea to see that a lot of RFPs are using a form of race frame and that they describe Black and white as that next Indigenous often they don't just have white at all, they only describe the people of color white is rarely named. And also there's rarely a historical component to it. So I think what reforms look like where whiteness is actually named and RFPs, and actually given some real history to it and then used as a justification for a different kind of program. And that would be a battle, but I think that, that would be space where you'd have the more you could do it the more you learn about it, these are these kinds of practical, greater amounts of radicalism that I think that you have to monitor the level of the amount of tension that, that would create. So that's this model here from adaptive leadership, which is you're looking to create, they call them experiments, you can call them fractals, you can call them reforms that generate an amount of tension that is going to be felt, but that is not so much that it exceeds and it gets shut down. But that when you see that, that you're intentionally trying to create resistance with one of these different strategies, because you know that when you get through that managed well, and you have to do incorporate with other people, which is this other idea around working with other funders and working with other grantees to try to work collectively that once that's done more space is created into putting that together and having that to happen to again, build on Dana's earlier comment. So this is a list of the summaries here. And I think what I would say, I guess is that, if we're looking at a number of strategies, whether it's we need more clarification of the principles we wanna restrain capital, we wanna look at some name for these applications that we're starting to get clear, and you might use a different theory here, but there'll be some analysis that I know the longterm goal is a world where we don't have arts and culture resources controlled by such a small sector of the population. And I know that's an expression of racial capitalism, like cultural supremacy. So what are my steps to where I'm gonna democratize that? 'Cause that's a granted thing no matter how big I get as an individual, what is the way that I'm gonna practice this? And so then I have some other examples here around taking advantage, being critical of color-blind analysis, realizing that my foundation does have a political framework is using, let me become more aware of that. Now let me look at challenging it with other frameworks, let me start to design intentional experiments that have certain principles to them, and then let me be aware that I'm gonna create intention, I'm gonna be ready to deal with that and modify it. And I think, to the extent this is related to the coronavirus, that we have an opportunity now with clearly how coronavirus is impacting folks in other races and racist ways, what are ways that we then say, well, this is coming from a coronavirus time, but is it actually something that had been passed to. And so I offer these ideas not only for the moment, but to last going forward. And with that, I'm gonna tag it onto a Sharnita.
Sharnita C Johnson: Thank you, Justin. And first I wanna say thank you to GIA for organizing this panel. I've been influenced by my colleagues here either indirectly because I follow their work like the Justice Funders or directly as I've had the opportunity to partner with them like Randy, as a fellow GIA board member and co-chair of the Racial Equity Committee with me or Justin, who along with his colleague, Barbary Cook at Dragonfly Partners, work directly with the Dodge Foundation to develop our theories of change and equity rubric. I think we all bring a different perspective to this work and the topic. And well Dodge has been working on its transformation for several years, it's been largely an internal process. And as we move our work toward a more equitable New Jersey, I think it's important that we begin to share out our journey, although using the term journey is not my favorite because it was not a meandering walk without focus or a goal. I like to think of it more as an agenda with specific things to do and accomplish. And I think it's important to share this transformation story and I wanna underscore that it is very much a work in progress. And while we have a longer way to go and much more work to do, I think it demonstrates the pace and the reality of change. While we all have a sense of urgency and many of us more than others and while we would all like to accelerate our efforts, we may be in fact in that moment now. But when I'm really clear about is that the work that the foundation has been engaged in over the last 45 years has positioned us to pivot and response to COVID-19 and given us the context for the change and shifted the conversation internally and externally. I'll begin by saying that the journey hasn't been easy, but importantly it has been both a staff and board endeavor. And we have been learning and experimenting and engaging together. So this slide sort of condenses all of the work that we've been doing over the last 45 years into one page. And for quick reference, but some of the inflection points on our equity journey, I will revisit. So the foundation was established in 1974. It began its work by supporting local leaders across a number of program areas and has almost from the very beginning, supported the arts education and environment. The foundation has had only four presidents since its founding and has evolved over time to meet the needs of the time. The foundation has done a lot of good work over the years and created a strong technical assistance program for grantees to help them build their boards, strengthen financial oversight and leadership and established North America's largest festival every other year in Newark. And the foundation has also been there for New Jersey nonprofits after 9/11, the financial collapse of 2008, and supporting their recovery after hurricane Sandy and we are once again facing new challenges related to COVID-19 as a statewide funder, Dodge has had many successes in its program and focus areas. And was doing good work, but we had an inflection point in late 2015, early 2016, where it was time to reflect and recommit to a longer term existence. And with fluctuating financial returns, we began to examine if we were having the greatest impact were we serving the communities most in need and was our support equitable? We began our work with the Intercultural Development Inventory, the IDI, because it's a tool that helps individuals and organizations understand their cultural competency along the spectrum from denial to adaptation. I had used the IDI and several other organizations, and I think it's a good tool to help people get a baseline understanding of concept, terminology, regarding race and culture and it's scientific, so people feel relatively comfortable with it. In my experience, it's very much a conversation starter and Dodge senior staff took the IDI, then later the board and the entire staff. A lot of our initial learning was based on these concepts and really helped the organization begin to examine ideas, biases, and helped us understand and chart a path forward that eventually led to significant changes. The work has been incremental, and as we moved toward an intercultural mindset, the organization began to have different conversations, we began to understand where we were on the spectrum and that the distinction between minimization, treating everyone the same and adaptation that requires not only knowledge, but behavior change was vast. And we also doubled down on the question of equity. This work took a number of years, numerous partners, and eventually led us to a new strategic plan, mission, vision, and values for the foundation. We committed to creating the conditions for an equitable New Jersey through our programmatic lenses, arts, education, environment, informed communities and poetry, and acknowledged that the historical institutional and structural impediments that contributed to some communities in New Jersey, having the worst outcomes in every quality of life indicator. And in fact, those were communities of color. We grounded our way forward in our values. As you see here, collaboration, learning, respect, equity, and stewardship. In our new strategic plan, the work of the strategic plan was organizational wide with internal, external, programmatic and financial goals. And as we began to operationalize our work, we partner with Justin and Dragonfly Partners to help us develop our program Theories of Change our centering equity, and focusing on communities of color. The program teams are created visual representations of our Theories of Change. This is not actually the one I use for the art, but this image has become important to me over the few weeks so I swapped it for today. It fits because our work in the arts will become much more community and grassroots based. And this image reminds me that people are making art and making statements and making beauty in their communities all the time. Working with Justin and Barbary really led us to a deeper interrogation of how we do our work, how we move forward and how we prioritize the people and communities we want to partner with for change. After we completed the Theories of Change, we wanted to create a framework and tools to help not only us, but grantees and others, to better understand our new direction, have language to address our work and even to use as guideposts to move toward a more equitable organization and eventually sector. We have also developed a staff accountability rubric to hold program directors accountable to the framework and experimenting with how to operationalize it for the whole staff. The Dodge Equity Framework is represented in this infographic and supports a much more detailed rubric with these seven lenses that we are using to help make grant decisions as one tool as a way to have conversations and it gives us opportunity to ground our work and our values as we shift our resources. The framework has seven interconnected focus areas, including three internal factors and three external factors all connected to resources and access. We have plans to roll out the framework and the rubric with largest small convening, but in the wake of the pandemic, we started to share with colleagues, some grantees and a number of the pooled funds that have been established in New Jersey after the pandemic and that the foundation has contributed. We've also used it to guide our rapid response grants to existing grantees relative to COVID-19 and working with organizations that were led by people of color and or serving majority people of color. So a few of the areas that we've been getting the most questions about are the staff and board diversity, and we felt it was important to put a stake in the ground as a goalpost, that the majority of the staff and board of organization be people of color. The focus of this measure is not to count the people, but that the people count. And the framework as a whole goes sort of beyond diversity and allows us to dig deeper into how systems uphold dominant culture. Another area of interest is the equity mindset, and this is about developing a culture of learning. For example, that has made measurable progress over the last 45 years as a board and staff, we've developed a new strategic plan assessed where we are as individuals and as an organization regarding our cultural competence have factor research and learning into our theories of change, have attended undoing racism and other training and how now we're shifting our work and our resources. The other idea that is interesting to those that we shared it with is the systems impact area. And this is a way for particularly white-led organizations to reflect on how they're using their power and influence to benefit people of color communities and all of this leads to the access to resources. And this category really takes into consideration organization's relationship with the foundation over time and how we're working directly with POC led organizations in their early stages of their life cycle and beyond. So as an organization, I believe that the work the foundation has been engaged in gave us great clarity and credibility and context in response to COVID-19 and what we will be regarding the reorganization of the nonprofit sector. And as an organization, I'm confident that the conversations we're having internally and externally are much different than prior conversations during other catastrophic times. I believe COVID-19 has a affirmed what we have been learning and interrogating that the systems don't work for all equitably and that we can and have to ask ourselves new questions and engage with new partner in new ways. And with that, I will turn it over to my colleague, Randy,
Randy Engstrom: Thank you so much Sharnita and thank you to all of the presenters today. It's really a huge honor to share space with all of them, really luminaries in our space. I also wanna echo the thanks to Grantmakers in the Arts for holding this space for us today, and in particular, GIA has been such a powerful space of learning for me over the years, I just wanna name the racial equity work led by Justin Lang, Maureen Knight and Denise Brown, Angelic Powell, Janet Brown, Lilani Arquette, some folks who really helped me grow and learn around what racial equity and racial justice can mean and I just value that GIA continues to prioritize the space. Also want to acknowledge that we here on the West Coast also are on Indigenous land in Seattle, we're on the traditional territories of the coast sailors people still unceded territory and still unjust. And it's in the context of all of that, that we think about reimagining systems for justice and for the purposes of today, I wanna talk about sort of what civic reimagination for justice can be. As a government agency that also exists in the arts philanthropy space I think we are dually complicit in structures of white supremacy and structural racism and I think we have a responsibility to work to dismantle those systems. And I think that, that involves the act of reimagination. I have said if you heard me on any webinars before that the office of arts and culture was chartered in 1971 during the worst recession in Seattle's history when Boeing laid off 65% of its workforce, and there was a billboard next to Boeing field where the last person out of Seattle, please turn out the lights. The mayor in 1971 was asked why you would form a local arts agency in the context of such a recession and he said because you have to give people hope. And though the context and the time is different I think the need for hope and imagination is probably more urgent now than it's ever been in my life. I wanna talk a little bit about what we learned and the implications of that for recovery and reimagination. I wanna walk through the sort of three phases of what COVID did, how it landed, how it impacted and the opportunity that presented in our community, and then dig a little deeper into the civic reimagination, idea and what that means for our work going forward. As was said by both Justin and Sharnita and I think is clear to most folks, COVID-19 wasn't accelerant, it amplified the structural inequity and the structural racism that was already here. And I think that it's only been more reinforced the events of the last three weeks and I think that the urgency of the moment has become even more acute. Sharnita spoke for the moment that we are in and I think it is evident, as evidenced by this ground plane mural that the city of DC did overnight to send a message around their values. It's also worth noting that the organizers in DC painted their own mural that said deep on the police, not so far from this mural. And I think that gets to what I'd call the comfort with discomfort that Justin spoke about. This is for us to fundamentally change our work, it's gonna require us to shift our practice and that's not gonna be easy or comfortable. But there's been this conversation as I've been in spaces for the last three months about what is building back mean? Are we going back to where we were in January, 2020, or are we fundamentally reimagining and building back better? And I really think we have the opportunity and the responsibility to reimagine these systems. A huge part of that as Justin, I think outlined really, really well is the questions of governance and who decides. Who decides? So much of our grant making practice is about who's in the panel room and I think we need to meaningfully center BIPOC voices, we need to cede some governance and some power in a meaningful way to those communities and we need to put our resources where our mouth is. We might be past the time for trainings and statements, it might be time for action and investments. And I think what that means to recovery is reimagining our field. We have had success as a practice in the city of Seattle utilizing racial equity toolkits to center communities of color in particular BIPOC communities for how resources will be distributed. I think this should go beyond programmatic interventions and really be about systems design. And I'll talk about what some of those systems are a little bit later. We know that government can't decide this for people that they have to create this with people. We have to honor what has been asked for in the past, but we also have to bring community to the table, bring BIPOC community specifically to the table so they can help create the systems and the changes on their own terms that will be impacting their lives. And I think going back to the status quo is not an option. So there are really three periods of time that impacted the cultural sector and the city. And I'll spend a little bit of time on each of them, March was really about the immediate response for short term release work. April was really about seeing artists really as the belonging strategy for the city and really lifting up the way that community came together to look out for each other. And then May is when we started to look to the future and really think about resilience and recovery in a structural way. So in March, well in February, on February 26th, the first case of COVID in the United States was reported in Seattle. On February 29th, the first deaths from COVID was reported in Seattle by March 9th, we were closing down events over 500 and by March 16th, we had closed everything. And that had a massive impact, as we all know on the cultural sector, on individual artists and on cultural organizations. We partnered with the luminary artist and author Ijeoma Oluo to support her Artists Relief Fund for $50,000, we also invested in Artist Trust's, another $50,000 to help individual artists who were being impacted. We, I think were the first local arts agency to do a stabilization fund, a relief fund, and we did this not by asking people to apply, but literally by amending people's contracts and just giving them more money. That was both wonderful in it's responsiveness, and also is something for us to think about going forward in terms of its structural analysis. We also were able to partner with Seattle Center and the parks department and offer rent reduction to a number of organizations. All told, we wound up putting about $1.8 million into the sector through those different interventions. I just wanna lift up the Artists Relief Fund from Ijeoma because it raised $620,000, which is incredible. And also because it launched on March 9th, they did not wait for the full impact of COVID, they did not get trapped in process, BIPOC artists went ahead and stood up a process by which they took care of not themselves, but everyone around them. And I think that, that's been a powerful beacon as we've thought about the reimagination space. In April, we really started to see the work that local communities, local artists, local cultural workers were doing in community and we wanted to lift that up. We also recognized there was this unanticipated consequence of everybody's sheltering in place for weeks and months, which is that there's a real mental health impact of that. So how could we support and resource our creative community to foster belonging and social cohesion as we experience this isolation and how can we break the sort of feelings of isolation while we're physically forced to be a part? We were really intentional to center BIPOC community efforts through this work, there's a website seattletogether.org, which you can go to, it highlights a lot of the different sort of mutual aid efforts that are happening in our community, it also highlights arts and culture interventions that are happening. Some that the city led like this public art comes to your front yard campaign, where we hired 10 artists of color to produce prosocial yard signs that helped us spread messages about public health information and also just about belonging and non sanctioned events, like all the incredible murals that came up all over the city. We wanted to support both formal and informal work, and we wanted to lift up the incredible work that our cultural sector was doing. And then we started to turn our focus from relief to recovery. We formed a Community Resilience Subcabinet, which had sort of three areas that it was focused on, economic recovery, civic reimagination, and community support and I'll talk a little bit about what those mean. But at the base of all of this, we are trying to reimagine a city that is driven by a commitment to racial equity, climate justice, creativity and culture. In all of the policy and systems change work that we wanna do, we have to center BIPOC communities, and we have to have them at the table to design the interventions. When we're talking about an economic recovery, we're looking at the roadmap to an inclusive creative economy that we constructed last year. We're talking about a worker's recovery, we're looking at the role of labor and how do we protect a vulnerable contract and gig workers? We can't just put people back to work, we have to put people back to work in a better system, and it's inherently challenging in a extractive system like capitalism to think about laboratory structures, but what are the ways that we could create more just economies and more just systems of work? There's a lot of interesting work that we've been fortunate to be doing around community wealth building. And I think when Justin talks about the images of our downtown sort of the tributes to white supremacy, I don't think we can kid ourselves about where resource haven't been invested historically from a government standpoint. I think we have to get a lot more aggressive about the contribution of land and resources and power in a way that we haven't done in the past. And there's some really great work emerging, we had a equitable development initiative for a number of years that's really community driven, we've talked about how to center cultural space and cultural spaces in the hands of community, and we're trying to move wealth to communities at scale, and that's gonna be a huge priority. Digital equity and the digital divide not only were so clear as a determinant of who would be successful in the last three months and who wouldn't, but it also is such an underpinning of what the future of work in the future of the economy is gonna be, we have to ensure that everyone has access to the Internet, to broadband, we have to ensure that everyone has access to the digital tools that are required to be able to work in our future. And so digital equity is going to be a citywide sort of civic priority, and then, public works is a really interesting space, but everything from a green new deal to a WPA style program as we, as a city and as a country are staring down unemployment, that is pretty unprecedented. We're gonna have to get pretty ambitious with what we're willing to do as government. And one of the initiatives that we've been sort of sculpting in collaboration with a lot of other departments and community partners we call the creative hope initiative, which aim to center BIPOC artists and cultural organizations, both cultural workers and culinary workers, and invest in them to reimagine some of these systems going forward. They can either do short term mitigation, social cohesion and belonging work, or they could do sort of new system reimagination. But the idea is to invest in them directly both to mitigate the economic harm that was done to this sector and to these communities also to engage them in their talent and brilliance for meeting immediate community needs as we're sheltered in place, and as a down payment for the community that we want to build going forward. This is a picture of what is now known as the Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone or the Capitol Hill Occupied Protest. This was a really hard moment for our city and it illuminated so much about what is wrong. And I'm proud to say that as violent as this picture appears at the precipice of this is a very peaceful space now, it is complex and it has its own challenges, but we're in a moment where this is the work that we have to do. Civic reimagination is not a luxury or an option, it is a necessity and the events of the last three weeks took the urgency that already existed over the last three months and the last 400 years and made them so evident. We know that change will only move at the speed of trust and we know that it's gonna take time and we're gonna have to live in our discomfort, but we are committed as a city and as an arts agency to leaning into this work. The window for really dramatic policy change in this city and in this country has never been this significant. And I think it is incumbent on all of us to rise to the moment and I know I can count on GIA to be a partner in that work and I so appreciate all of you spending this time with us today. So thank you and I will move us to the Q&A
Sherylynn: All right, can everyone hear me?
Producer: Yeah, you sound great Sherylynn.
Sherylynn: All right, well special thanks to our presenters, that was fantastic. Dana, getting folks to begin to embody putting theory into practice through your closing exercise. I think offered an iota of the percentage of discomfort that most may feel when transitioning into more justice funding. And your points, Justin, about the discussion of language when we call out Black or Indigenous organizations, but don't name white ones, I think that was a great point and I know folks also wanna see more about the economy cycle diagram. So we'll be sure to send that out to folks who are on the webinar and registered, we'll make sure that you have that. Sharnita your presentation was great as well and when you went into the developmental inventory diagram and you spoke about the minimization stage through that adaptation, I immediately thought of the equity versus equality conversation and that key being building knowledge in order to be adaptive. So I thought that was great. And then finally, Randy not rebuilding, but building better understanding decisions around who decides and all of the interventions that are happening in Seattle right now, just because, I mean, you were here with us at the beginning of the COVID-19 response programming a few months ago. So it's nice to see how things have changed and progressed. And so on that note, we'll transition over to Q&A, I see that some of you have begun entering your questions, that's great, please be specific about who the question is for when you enter your question into the Q&A box to the bottom of your screen, and we'll go ahead and kick it off. And so Justin, I'll start with you. Someone asked a question actually immediately after your presentation. So this person is first thanks you for bringing up accountability and says, there've been a lot of solidarity statements from different arts organizations in reaction to racial equity, can you talk a little bit more about what this would look like ideally?
Justin: I think the arts organization, is that what they asked?
Sherylynn: I’m sorry?
Justin: I think the arts organizations, is that a question? Okay, yeah. I'm not certain, I guess, I've seen a lot of criticism of the statement and I think the last thing I saw someone talking about, was just around we're tired of statements. I think the key piece of it would be, one is apology, being accountable and clear about how the arts are participating in this and there's narratives that are being created and acknowledging that. And the other part, I think is redress, so what is the commitment and what is the standard that is being used so that there is some way to say, this is what we define as accountability and this is how you can assess that. I think one of the things that's useful to take away from the people's Institute training is this idea that there has to be some other side and anti racist work. If you don't establish some way of measuring and showing it the power is being redistributed in some way that you could have some penalty for not doing what say you're gonna do, to me those are some important principles that you could use to assess statements and to develop them. It's like apology and redress.
Sherylynn: Great, thank you. And speaking of policy, I actually wanna kick it over to you, Randy. What policy changes could be enacted to advance racial justice?
Randy: Well, I was having this conversation with Ng Kim earlier in the week, or maybe it was last week, 'cause I can't tell time anymore 'cause it's a flat circle, but we've in this system of capital campaigns and endowments and philanthropy, we've created an environment wherein we ask BIPOC communities and cultural institutions to really overextend themselves, to raise money, to buy buildings in neighborhoods they've largely been pushed out by displacement and gentrification forces. We make them play this strange capitalist game that has already done all this harm to their communities. When policy changes, we could just accept that we're gonna cede property, buildings cede ownership to communities that have been impacted by, in our case the actions of government, for example. So that's one example, another is things like a job guarantee that's focused on those most impacted either by COVID or by structural racism in many cases it's the same thing, but we actually have the data that says both who's been historically underinvested and who's been impacted disproportionately by this and every other crisis in our nation's history and we can prioritize anything from a UBI to a job guarantee program to help those folks get back to a living wage. We can build economic policy and land use policy and make financial decisions through a policy lens that could look very different than what we're doing now. It's just a decision that we have to make as policy makers. So there's a couple of examples.
Sherylynn: Great, thank you. The next question is for you Sharnita, we've got a lot of questions coming in here, so thank you all for being patient. So what processes or tools did you use to level power structures within staff and board in order to successfully do this work together as a united front?
Sharnita: That is a really excellent question. Because it really evolved over time. So as I said, we sort of started with a baseline sort of cultural competency learning and understanding which really over time led to much deeper conversations, conversations about race, about racial equity, about power. And I will say specifically the work that we did with the Interact Institute for Social Change, who helped us with our strategic plan sort of really started to move us into the conversation around understanding race and power structures, et cetera. So that was over a period of time, so it's been very incremental I will say and that sort of prepared us for the work that we did then moved into with Justin and Barbary that really sort of forced us to really interrogate those systems even more at a different level. And I will say that we're still navigating those things, but certainly we spent a lot of time educating ourselves. As I said, many of us attended the Undoing Racism Workshop. There were many opportunities to do deeper learning and understanding and as you can see, Justin has a great cadre of books and resources. So he certainly shared those with us and it really took us in a different sort of trajectory of learning. And then again, we had to plot our own journey. So creating our equity framework and our equity rubric was really our attempt at creating tools that made sense to the foundation and the systems that we're operating in because it's not a one size fits all endeavor. And again, encouraging additional learning, additional inquiry and so now we have the equity framework and the equity rubric for our grantee. But as I mentioned, we also created a framework for program staff because we started this work at the program level, it will expand to the entire organization, board and staff.
Sherylynn: That's great. And I love that you called out the fact that a lot of this work is not one size fits all. And so you created your structure based on sort of what you are working with and what's happening in your foundation and I think that a lot of folks can continue to model after what you're doing while of course keeping in mind that everyone is starting at a different point. So that's important to keep in mind. And so I'd like to kick this next question off over to Dana and after Dana you respond I believe the attendee or participant list, is interested in hearing from other folks as well. And so the question or the individual says, I think the idea of the productive disequilibrium as the ideal tension point for learning that results in anti-racist accountability and change is very important. I'm curious if the speakers can describe what the creative disequilibrium looks like for them at this moment from their respective leadership positions?
Dana: This is Dana, thank you for that question. So without having more of a context about the origin for creative disequilibrium, I will say that I think this moment, or these moments have been incredible opportunities to leverage change inside of our organizations with respect to culture. So I think earlier in my presentation, I talked about how policy changes that created a tax shelter for philanthropy were then codified and informed by the corporations by banking, by academia. And now I think we're at a moment where it's both the opportunity for us in philanthropy as both Justin and Randy have highlighted for us to really reimagine how we can then recenter those who've been historically disinvested in into our processes. So I think at some level on the grant making side, this could look like, how do we actually codify processes that don't require a lot of bureaucracy? At the endowment level, how do we actually codify giving more out now? At the grant making strategy and decision-making level, how do we actually decenter the decision-making within our philanthropy and actually engage our communities in that process? So I think actually this moment is a really a big opportunity for us to push hard for some of the changes that we know need to be made and then work to codify those.
Sherylynn: Great, if anyone else wants to add onto that, I did get another question about what are the thoughts of folks who are working at foundations on spending down endowments? And we at GIA have also recently been having conversations about what the field is saying about going beyond 5% requirement of spending and grant giving. So if any presenters have any other thoughts before we move on, I know multiple folks are interested in hearing, but if not, we can keep responding to other questions.
Justin: Yeah, I mean, I'll say, we wanna think is just actually even acknowledging to myself and then just saying yeah, we actually, we don't want arts philanthropy in the future, and just saying like, let's leave that and just start to really kind of think through what that would be like, start making it more of a public conversation and being inspired by the abolish police discussion. But I think has really been inspiring to see, again, this idea of like in a crisis people pick up the ideas around the floor. And I think another one is just to, again, to start to participate in conversation in community that's like trying to rethink that relationship. And so I think those are a couple that I would offer.
Sherylynn: Great, thank you. And this next question comes from one of our participants for you Justin and Randy, and the participant says in the spirit of universal justice, should GIA be advocating for healthcare for all and universal basic income when these give BIPOC communities, more agency over their own destiny, rather than their, excuse me, rather than having to wait for philanthropy to come to their aid. So what do you think that GIA should be advocating for?
Justin: I’ll follow you Randy.
Sherylynn: This is for Justin and Randy.
Randy: Yeah, thank you. I mean, I think it's a really interesting question. I mean, if we're talking about fundamental policy change, that could be transformational healthcare as a human right, and a universal basic income are really powerful interventions. I think I don't know if that is a space that it makes sense for GIA to weigh in on, although I think that would be a conversation that we could have as the board and that we could have with our membership. And I do think that BIPOC communities potentially would benefit from that, I mean, everybody would benefit from having healthcare and everybody would benefit from having universal basic income. But I think it's about how it's designed and implemented and who is at the table to design and implement it because my fear with those systems, with any system is that it's designed by the same people that have been designing systems for a very long time, and we would not get to different outcomes because we would be vulnerable to the same biases and the same sort of dominant culture default around doing what we think is best for people. So I think GIA would really wanna lean hard on self-determination more than on a particular public policy intervention, but that's just my read, I haven't obviously spoken to any of my board colleagues about that or any staff.
Justin: Yeah, I think that I would just add, I think, with the idea of a critical race lens to it, that to be skeptical or critical about universal frame and that, that they may have this idea of like we're gonna remove bias, but with so much by it, I think we need reparatory frames. And so I think particularly if GIA was looking at reparatory things around culture, that could really be its location and then it might influence a bunch of other systems. I do think that GIA would have some challenges regarding all the boards that are involved and that's what I saw in the past, but at least if it stayed in its lane and it talked about reparation and it talked about healing and some of their premium, maybe that could also be another way to influence.
Sherylynn: Great, well, thank you for that perspective, especially as a staff member of GIA, we are continuing to explore other ways of advocating for justice and intersectional arts and culture fields. And so that is helpful feedback, and I know we'll continue that conversation, so no worries or anything. So Sharnita I kind of wanna go back to you and because when you talked about your framework, you would put it together, you and the Dodge foundation had put it together before COVID-19 sort of took over the nation/world, so you had to make some adjustments and you sort of mentioned that in your presentation, but can you go a little bit deeper into it? And I want us to revisit this just because I know folks are still, while many people are in recovery phase, a lot of people are still in response phase or response mode and so if you could offer a little bit more about how you adjusted and certain things that you had to keep in mind that you wouldn't have had to, if COVID-19, wasn't a part of the equation.
Sharnita: So I think a couple of things, and as I mentioned, we were on a trajectory. There was a lot of learning that had to happen, there were a lot of conversations that we needed to have that we kind of weren't having. And one of them really was around we did quite a bit of research and just looking at your ZIP Code should not determine the kind of life that you have. And basically, anecdotally, we realized that, but looking at the research, we understood across all of the indicators for health, for education, for employment, all those things the Black and brown communities in New Jersey were not doing well at all. And the wealth gap is so severe. The average Black family in New Jersey has a net worth of $5,000 and the average net worth of a white family in New Jersey is upwards of 200,000. So those are just things I don't know that we have been really thinking about or talking about. So it was a fair amount of educating ourselves and the board and to a degree the grantee. So this process, as I said, sort of got us to the place where we have these theories of change that actually name these communities that talk about the structural and historical barriers. And COVID sorta just lay there, these things that not that we didn't necessarily know, but that we weren't necessarily talking about in a particular way. So I believe that the number in New Jersey is over 12,000 deaths. I may be exaggerating that, but it's still a large number. So this community has been impacted and the state has been impacted in tremendous ways as everyone else in the country. But again, we were prepared to have these conversations because of the work that we have been doing, leading up to it. And then when it came time to really think about who are we gonna support and how are we gonna support them? We were able to use our equity framework to say, we know that communities of color are gonna be additionally challenged to respond to all of the needs of their community. So when we made these rapid response grants, we were able to use the framework, to think about the organizations that we were gonna support in that way. And also with the number of pooled funds that have been established where emergency support around food assistance, health, rental assistance, all those sorts of things, we were able to share the framework with our grantee partners, as well as other funders to help them really think about how were they gonna disperse the valor. And I believe over time is certainly going to create an opportunity for us to continue this conversation, but certainly on a larger scale and with other funders and the nonprofit sector in the state. So I think, as I said, it's sort of been incremental and builds upon itself, but we were ready to sort of understand the gravity and the impact on this community because we had done the work previously.
Sherylynn: Great, thank you. Oop, thank you. All right, so our next question to all panelists, do you see a way that explicitly BIPOC nonprofits can flip the script and engage in ways of fundraising that allow them for more agency without depending on the, excuse me everyone, bureaucracies of established foundations to create EIDA granting programs? So all can respond.
Sharnita: I’ll just say that specifically does a lot of general operating grant making anyway, but I think the cede and sort of philanthropy dropped those barrier, allowed private grants to be shifted into general operating grant. I think Randy may have mentioned that there were no application processing for some grant, the same with our rapid response grant. So I think that we learned that we can be nimble and that maybe we need to re-examine why we have those systems in place in the first place, so and I think that that was sort of what was happening across the country as many foundations were making, really innovating and iterating on a dime to get resources to the community that needed them. So I think we have this as an example of we did this and nothing sort of imploded, so it's possible to do.
Randy: I guess I totally agree with what Sharnita said. And I think we learned institutionally through COVID that we in fact can change quickly, we can adapt, we can move particularly to give them a government bureaucracy and a speed much faster than we thought was possible. And that speed was only matched by how quickly it turns out we can move in this moment that we're in. And I think you've seen incredible reforms and policy change happen as a result of the calls for justice across the country. And I would offer that collective organizing model, the organizing that we're seeing happen in communities across the country is accelerating the policy change window in a way that I've never personally seen. So, the degree to which a BIPOC cultural workers or cultural organizers can work together and call for changes, we know that the institutions can change and we know that with enough pressure, they will. So I think those are both things that seem like opportunities from my vantage.
Sherylynn: Awesome, all right. So we've got another question that sort of pivots us to looking toward the rural sort of parts of the country and the person asks, does anyone have any thoughts or suggestions on initiating and implementing these structural or systemic changes in rural areas? Are there key differences you'd see in approaching change either in government arts institutions, higher education, funding, et cetera. And they say, whoever's comfortable speaking to this, please do in rural and urban areas. All right, we'll hold that question then for post the webinar, where we can get a little bit more clarity on that. And so for our next question, this is going to you, Dana, part of your presentation included a quote from Ibram X. Kendi, and it's definitely relevant now and even before now. And so just thinking about white supremacy and so how is justice funders thinking about the connection between being an anti-racist and anti-capitalist in your work in philanthropy?
Dana: Thanks, well, I think as Justin highlighted in his presentation, racial capitalism is reinforced well by philanthropy and in our economy in general. And I would say is really notable in the practice of how our philanthropies invest nearly 95% of their assets in the market economy to fund the very industries that harm Black and brown communities such as the prison and military, industrial complexes. So in thinking about what it means to not only have anti-racist but also anti-capitalist practices, I think it would really mean for our foundations, looking at how do we divest our endowments from industries like prison and military, money bail, predatory lending, speculative real estate, corporations that exploit low wage workers, and then think about how we're reinvesting that capital in local and regional economic development projects that build shared prosperity in Black Indigenous and POC communities. I think Randy had some great examples from the Seattle community, I would also say that for the question proceeding on about rural areas, how are our Indigenous territories and their work to govern and steward their lands lessons for all of us. So those are some of the ways in which I think thinking about that connection between being anti-racist and anti-capitalist are some of the ways that Justice Funders is now thinking about that question. Thanks, Sherylynn.
Sherylynn: Great, and no problem. So that was fantastic, we've actually come to the end of our webinar. It really flew by today I would say, but I do wanna thank our presenters, Dana, Justin Sharnita, and Randy, for your incredible presentations and for really speaking to sort of like what's been happening forever, but like how now more than ever is such an important time for everyone to move and to act and to respond so that we can build better and toward a world and philanthropic sector that we would imagine. And so for everyone who is wondering, and who has asked today's presentation has been recorded, and you will be receiving a link to the recorded file, as well as a presentation slides in the next few days. We also invite you to take a brief survey that we will share immediately following the webinars, because we would like to know what you thought. We will continue sharing COVID-19 response information and resources on our website. We hope you will visit and keep the conversation going and how we can reimagine the future of philanthropy while ensuring racial equity is and remains centered. If you have further questions, feel free to reach out to me, Sherylynn Sealey, and thank you so much for joining us. Have a great day everyone.
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