strategy

Toward the Future of Arts Philanthropy: 5 Recommendations for Action

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It’s not about you, “Philanthropy.” Philanthropic work is not about showing how smart you are, it is about empowering and liberating the people. Those who seek to help must respect the community as experts in order to drive solutions that work for the world that they know best. Whether it’s musicians, neighborhood leaders, youth or teachers, […]

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Return on investment

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by Kiesha Davis I’ve been pondering over a challenge posed by Susan Taylor Batten during the opening plenary of this past ABFE Annual Conference – The Fierce Urgency of Now, held here in Memphis a few weeks ago. When detailing the themes for the conference, she made reference to “investing in the leadership versus the labor […]

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Philanthropic redlining in practice

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A conversation with Lar’Juanette Williams, Memphis Black Arts Alliance In the study, we explore this idea of “philanthropic redlining,” where essentially certain groups – primarily black- and brown-led organizations – are just excluded from traditional funding. Can you explain how you have experienced that with Memphis Black Arts Alliance or within the nonprofit sector? I […]

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Using what we know to guide what we do

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by Doug Waddill “I know, I know, I know…oooh oooh, call on me, I know…”  We have all been in classes with THAT guy or girl.  The “know it all.”  As a former teacher, I was always amazed at that stereotypical kid that had to be first and had to know it all.  Usually when […]

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Honoring crossroads

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by Kiesha Davis This summer as we closed out the last learning session for leaders of youth serving music organizations in our Institute for Nonprofit Excellence (INE), a capacity building model developed as an approach to supporting the organizational development goals, we offered a panel discussion on nonprofit operational practices.  Over the prior months, cohort participants […]

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Shifting from pain to promise

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by Rhonda Broussard What if solving for pain points isn’t good enough?  From product designers to UX/UL to social entrepreneurs, we’ve been trained to get close to the problem.  Bryan Stevenson urges us to get proximate to people so that we can really understand their pain.  Last year, we worked with Memphis Music Initiative (MMI) […]

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Equity and inclusion ain’t easy – but it needs to happen

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by Sam O’Bryant  Since 2011, I have worked on projects and initiatives that have deliberately and intentionally discussed the role of race and equity in America. My work has included planning regional conferences on racial healing in the American South, hosting community conversations on race in the Delta, and even promoting black male achievement within […]

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Arts, equity and social justice: Americans for the Arts Conference

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Hot, sunny, and beneficial would be the best way to sum up my experience in San Francisco. The Americans for the Arts Conference was held in the beautiful Bay Area from June 14-18. My experience in San Francisco was not typical according to locals that I encountered because of the extreme heat (90 degrees plus!); […]

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Teaching artists and purpose threads: Lincoln Center Education Summer Forum

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During the Spring semester of 2017 MMI’s then In-Schools Director, Lecolion Washington, issued a simple request: Attend a workshop and/or conference that will enhance your work. At this point I had been to a few conferences and although they broadened my perspective of the national arts engagement field I wanted something more focused on the […]

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Building consensus and buy-in with schools

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A conversation with Janet Thompson Let’s start with the strategy and how it’s evolved. Can you talk about how you’ve approached building relationships in the schools and how that approach has developed this year? When I came on board with MMI, I really felt that my first priority should be to extend the reach of […]

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