2019 GIA Conference
Cultural Intersections
Denver, CO  |  October 13–16

Arts & Culture Grantmaking for Alternative Economies

Monday, October 14, 10:00am – 11:30am

Tower C-66

Organized by Shelley Trott, director of Arts Strategy and Ventures, Kenneth Rainin Foundation.

Presented by Arleta Little, Arts program officer & director of Artist Fellowship, The McKnight Foundation; Emiko Ono, director of the Performing Arts Program, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation; and Adam Fong, program officer, William and Flora Hewlett Foundation.

The world has become more complex with multiple generational perspectives, shifting demographics, the rise of independent “gig” workers, and the loss of worker protections. There are two distinct “real reality” and digital/virtual economies, yet arts grantmaking practices largely remain unchanged. Efforts around new social contracts, gig economy, portability of benefits, impact capital for creative social entrepreneurs, block chain and smart contracts, and worker ownership are moving from the margins to mainstream, have promising implications for artists, and are addressing inequality head-on. This session is an opportunity to hear why and how the Kenneth Rainin Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, and the McKnight Foundation have invested in AmbitioUS – a national New Economy & Artist initiative – as a way to invent new practices and paradigms. They will share the internal questions that drove their participation and the learning they hope will shape the direction of their funding portfolios in unconventional ways to better reflect the current moment. Funders interested in experimenting with new practices and other adaptations to keep pace with changes to the field will learn about how a set of regional funders utilized varied rationales in support of distinct strategies to support a national initiative.