Historically in America, Black, LatinX, Asian, and Indigenous arts organizations have been underfunded and underrepresented. To that end, two organizations have partnered to make an unprecedented gift to minority cultural groups in Houston.
Houston Endowment and the Ford Foundation announced a donation of approximately $10 million towards funding “America’s Cultural Treasures” in Houston. The funds are intended to provide general operating and capacity-building support to local long-standing arts organizations and enable them to not only weather the current pandemic, but to be stronger, and more resilient going forward, according to a press release.
Houston Endowment will lead a program to identify local grant recipients, in collaboration with other local donors. The regional campaign was seeded by an initial $35 million in support from the Ford Foundation across seven regions. Local foundations drove fundraising and design for individually tailored grantmaking initiatives. The scope and recipients of each program will be announced in early 2021.
These efforts are part of a new $156 million national initiative by the Ford Foundation that aims to support what Ford described as arts and culture groups “that have been historically marginalized, underfunded and underrepresented in the narrative of American culture.” Some 20 organizations, including Project Row Houses in Houston were recognized as significant anchors for cultural diversity from across the country, according to a press release.
“Houston’s cultural organizations of color celebrate our region’s extraordinary diversity and foster our connections to each other. This initiative, which will provide meaningful support to important organizations during a time of great challenge, carries with it the potential to transform the funding landscape and significantly advance racial equity,” said Ann Stern, president and CEO of the Houston Endowment, in a statement.
“We are grateful to the Ford Foundation for creating this opportunity and proud to represent the Houston area in this work.”