Ford Foundation Supports America's Cultural Treasures
The Illinois Arts Council Agency is forwarding information to our constituents regarding an announcement made by the Ford Foundation in partnership with the Joyce, MacArthur, Terra, and Walder foundations. Yesterday an unprecedented $150 million initiative was launched to recognize "America's Cultural Treasures," including at least $16 million to support Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous arts organizations in Chicago that have been hard hit by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
The Chicago funders will work together to identify grant recipients as "Chicago's Cultural Treasures," for the vital role they play as cultural institutions in the city. Despite their importance, these organizations have historically been under recognized and under- resourced. The funds are intended to provide general operating support and enable the organizations to be resilient and stable in the face of the unprecedented economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. The funders hope this initial investment will bring greater awareness to and support of Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous arts and culture organizations in Chicago.
The regional campaign was seeded by an initial $35 million in support from the Ford Foundation across six regions - Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Houston, Los Angeles - with local foundations driving fundraising and design for individually tailored grantmaking initiatives. Each region will provide matching funds for multi-year grants to cultural groups of color with regional or local significance. The scope of the Chicago program and recipients of the grants will be announced in the coming weeks.
In addition to the regional efforts, the Ford Foundation committed another $71 million in support to a cohort of 20 national organizations that are significant anchors for cultural diversity, including the National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago. The art and expression these organizations cultivate and preserve reflect the rich cultural identity and traditions within the United States.
If you have any questions please contact the foundations listed above.

Shirley R. Madigan, Chairman


The IACA acknowledges ongoing support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

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