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Rethinking Relevance, Rebuilding Engagement

February 2, 2022

The Culture & Community research series launched with a first wave survey in May of 2020 designed to provide actionable information about changing community needs, contexts, and behaviors to arts and culture organizations during a time of rapid change and uncertainty. This report shares findings from a second wave of the Culture & Community research, collected in May 2021, over a year into the pandemic, and at a point when cases were falling before new variants emerged. This Wave 2 survey tracked changes in key questions from Wave 1 and explored new lines of inquiry. We developed a new series of questions to explore the dynamics of race and identity in cultural engagement, perceptions of systemic racism across the cultural sector, and the roles that Americans want arts and culture organizations to play in addressing social issues. Along with our partners at LaPlaca Cohen and Yancey Consulting, we named the second wave of this initiative Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation to reflect our hope that this difficult period -- one in which the country has faced not just a pandemic but also a long-overdue racial reckoning and intense political polarization -- would be an opportunity for genuine, system-level change.

Black Perspectives on Creativity, Trustworthiness, Welcome and Well-Being--Findings From a Qualitative Study

December 9, 2021

Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: A Special Edition of Culture Track is a collaborative effort to keep the cultural sector in dialogue with its communities and participants during the pandemic and inform deeper equity and justice in the years to come. The project pivoted from examining public attitudes and behaviors in a "time of crisis" in 2020 to doing so in a "time of transformation" in 2021, with a crucial focus around racialized experiences in connection with cultural participation and cultural organizations.The first phase of the research, conducted in Spring 2020, was a large-scale survey intended to inform not just resilience but also innovation and progress toward equity in the cultural sector, and to give the U.S. public a voice in the future of cultural engagement. But that first phase was designed and conducted before the murder of George Floyd ignited a national upswell of anger, sadness, and activism and the Movement for Black Lives began to reshape the discourse around racism in every aspect of American life. In a follow-up statistical analysis of the same (early 2020) data published in December as "Centering the Picture," we and our colleagues explored respondents' experiences in relation to their racial and ethnic identities to highlight and amplify what people of color have been going through and what they would like to see changed in the future. The report revealed some unique experiences and perspectives that Black and African American adults in the U.S. have in relation to cultural engagement, digital connection with arts and culture, and social change. The Slover Linett team, knowing that qualitative methods would be necessary to understand those perspectives in a more nuanced and holistic way, advocated for an additional phase of research in 2021 that would offer a triangulation with — as well as departure point from — the twowave quantitative survey.To that end, and in order to authentically amplify Black voices and stories, we dedicated this qualitative phase of the research solely to Black and African American participants' perspectives, since those viewpoints have historically been excluded or sidelined in most research studies and planning efforts in the cultural field. We intentionally took a broad approach to this inquiry, exploring general dynamics of creativity, trustworthiness, welcome, and community support rather than focusing narrowly on arts and culture organizations and attendance. This allowed us to hear and explore how culture and community experiences and organizations naturally fit into peoples' lives, and it led to rich insights that can inform practice, funding, and policy.

The Case for Enlarging the House of Representatives

December 9, 2021

This report makes the case for expanding the House of Representatives to bring the American people a little closer to their government, and their government closer to them. The Case for Enlarging the House of Representatives is an independent byproduct of Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century, the final report of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. The Commission represents a cross-partisan cohort of leaders from academia, civil society, philanthropy, and the policy sphere who reached unanimous agreement on thirty-one recommendations to improve American democracy. The report takes as a premise that political institutions, civic culture, and civil society reinforce one another. A nation may have impeccably designed bodies of government, but it also needs an engaged citizenry to ensure these institutions function as intended. As a result, Our Common Purpose argues that reforming only one of these areas is insufficient. Progress must be made across all three. To build a better democracy, the United States needs better-functioning institutions as well as a healthier political culture and a more resilient civil society.

Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: Key Findings from Wave 2

November 23, 2021

The second wave of the national study, Culture + Community in a Time of Transformation: A Special Edition of Culture Track, includes an even broader frame for culture (from libraries to parks, music venues, and festivals), as well as deeper involvement with small, rural or BIPOC-serving organizations.Culture + Community is a national research initiative aimed at bridging the cultural sector with the experiences and needs of its communities and audiences during the pandemic and beyond. The findings coming out of this survey also aim to provide the field with actionable insights towards becoming more equitable, inclusive spaces and toward a movement of transformation as cultural organizations become more active participants within movements for social and racial justice. In April and May of 2020, we conducted the first wave of research with a large-scale online survey that asked about the experiences, needs, and behaviors of a representative sample of the U.S. population plus a large sample of people on the contact-lists of more than 650 cultural organizations around the country.In this second wave of research, we broadened the kinds of organizations in our sample by actively inviting new organizations from categories of institutions who were underrepresented in our Wave 1 work: BIPOC-serving organizations, cultural organizations located in rural parts of the country, festivals (film, food, crafts, music), libraries, for-profit arts, and national and city parks. We also re-invited all 653 organizations from the first wave of the study to participate again in this second wave of research.

Art Is Work: Policies to Support Creative Workers

October 19, 2021

This report examines the role artists and other creative workers play in contributing to modern society and it highlights the lack of policy measures supporting them, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic which has impacted jobs and sales related to the arts. To support creative workers, the report outlines four key principles: (1) Include artists in federal policy-making decisions; (2) Recognize how creative work happens, through the investment of time and labor; (3) make equity a central feature of grant-making and other forms of support; and (4) Think Locally and share nationally, so that creative endeavors, which are by nature local, do not become siloed.

Art for Life’s Sake: The Case for Arts Education

September 14, 2021

In 2018, the American Academy of Arts & Sciences convened a Commission on the Arts to examine the state of arts education in the United States, and to assess the need for greater support. The Commission ultimately focused on the challenges of access to arts education in public schools.The resulting report, Art for Life's Sake: The Case for Arts Education, finds ample evidence for the attributes, values, and skills that come from arts education, including social and emotional development, improvements in school engagement, as well as more vital civic and social engagement. It also offers concrete recommendations to improve educational policy at the local, state, and national levels.

Nonprofit News Fact Sheets

September 1, 2021

The Index is the most comprehensive study of nonprofit news. INN's latest Index Report found that the nonprofit news sector grew by almost every measure. During a year of crises, audiences swelled, coverage expanded, staffing measures increased, and individual giving revenue surged for many. Previous Index reports are archived.

Tech as Art: Supporting Artists Who Use Technology as a Creative Medium

June 29, 2021

This report, Tech as Art: Supporting Artists Who Use Technology as a Creative Medium, presents findings from a field scan commissioned in 2019 by the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with the Ford Foundation and the Knight Foundation. The purpose of the scan was to more fully understand how artists are incorporating digital technologies in their creative work and to learn more about the current and prospective sources of support for these artistic practices. Funders reading the report then can make smarter decisions on how to enhance support for this field. The research is grounded in literature reviews, interviews, and group discussions with artists and practitioners across the United States.The report shares detailed findings; identifies challenges; and ends with recommendations for different stakeholder groups, including funders, arts practitioners, policymakers, and educators. 

Consumer Protection for Online Markets and Large Digital Platforms

May 20, 2021

Consumer protection law is vital for ensuring that market-based economies work in the economic interest of consumers as well as businesses, and thus to the benefit of civil society. This is the case for online markets just as it is for offline markets. However, despite broad consensus on these points, too little has been done to ensure that the various standards applicable in offline markets are sufficient or adequate to guarantee efficiency and fairness in online markets. This paper outlines eleven key features of online markets that might necessitate standards additional to or different from those that are applicable offline, and provides a menu of possible policies in relation to each. Many of these are general to all online markets, but some are specific to the largest digital platfroms. Many if not most of our policy proposals could be enacted through minor changes to existing law or regulation or through decisional law interpreting existing legislation. Some have already been implemented in some jurisdictions. What is needed in all jurisdictions, however, is a regulator or regulators with sufficient expertise around technical issues such as A/B testing and algorithmic decision-making to understand, anticipate, and remedy the myriad ways that online firms can disadvantage consumers.

More Competitive Search Through Regulation

May 20, 2021

This paper identifies a set of possible regulations that could be used both to make the search market more competitive and simultaneously ameliorate the harms flowing from Google's current monopoly position. The purpose of this paper is to identify conceptual problems and solutions based on sound economic principles and to begin a discussion from which robust and specific policy recommendations can be drafted.

Local Journalism in Crisis: Why America Must Revive Its Local Newsrooms

November 12, 2019

Thousands of local newspapers have closed in recent years. Their disappearance has left millions of Americans without a vital source of local news and deprived communities of an institution essential for exposing wrongdoing and encouraging civic engagement. Of those still surviving, many have laid off reporters, reduced coverage, and pulled back circulation.

Journalism Grantmaking: New Funding, Models and Partnerships to Sustain and Grow the Field

September 12, 2019

Funders have a long history of supporting social issue media; since 2013, Media Impact Funders (MIF) has been tracking grantmaking in the growing fields of media and philanthropy with our media grants data map, developed in partnership with Candid. In 2016, we released a report on trends in media grantmaking, which revealed the field is growing rapidly and is far larger than previously expected.Following that research, with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we examined the international funding picture in our 2019 report, Global Media Philanthropy: What Funders Need to Know About Data, Trends and Pressing Issues Facing the Field. Having focused on broad national and international trends and data, MIF is creating a series of smaller reports to identify trends, questions and examples of innovation around key issues of interest to our members and supporters.In spring 2019, we published Radio & Audio Grantmaking: Reaching New Audiences Through Old Platforms on audio and radio funding, and examined how both formats are being used to reach new audiences, spark civic engagement and dialogue across diverse communities, examine science, advance disability education, and much more. With continuing concern about the state of the news ecosystem among MIF members, this report focuses on journalism philanthropy in the U.S., with a special emphasis on community foundation support for local journalism. Presenting and identifying funding models and best practices for supporting local journalism was identified as one of four key learning priorities during MIF's year-long strategic planning process. In addition, engaging with community foundations that support a range of media projects was identified as a key area of concern.