DEI February 2019 Update

On February 12 the Cultural Alliance partnered with Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia to present “Equity in Action: Building Social Capital” at Esperanza’s new performing-arts venue in North Philadelphia. An expert panel of funders and grantees, all of whom provide arts-based programs in Hunting Park and surrounding neighborhoods, discussed how they’ve built mutually beneficial relationships to serve these neighborhoods and provided useful tips for how arts funders can connect with smaller, community-based cultural organizations, which often lack access to traditional funding streams.

This event was a good example of how the Cultural Alliance’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiative is starting to bear fruit. The planning and organizing work we’ve done over the past two years has reached a new phase of action and implementation. This phase has been divided into five distinct but interconnected areas. Each area is the focus of a volunteer working group composed of members of our DEI Affinity Group, and each working group is being facilitated by a different Cultural Alliance staff member to ensure that DEI remains a core pillar of our work and is not siloed within our organization.

The five working groups (and their Cultural Alliance staff liaisons) are:

Audiences (Roberta Johnson)

This group is focused on developing a community of practice so members to share successes, challenges, best practices and resources around audience diversification. A current project is a partnership with Art-Reach to provide training to our members about serving audiences with disabilities.

Boards (Kelli Paul)

This group is helping us to plan our second annual Cultural Leaders Breakfast for board chairs and CEOs of our member organizations. This year’s breakfast, on April 9, will focus on diversifying cultural boards and will feature a keynote by Juan Otero, the Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion at Comcast, and a presentation by Daria Torres, who's developed a framework to help leaders assess their organization's readiness to address issues of equity.

Funding (Michael Norris)

As an umbrella organization serving nonprofits that's also a grantmaker, the Alliance is uniquely positioned to address the inequity of cultural funding in Philadelphia. This group has drafted a list of priorities and strategies to help funders make their grantmaking more equitable. It will partner with the Philanthropy Network’s Arts & Culture Funders Affinity Group and DEI Task Force to engage funders in this work.

Workforce (Lauren Gilmore)

On March 7 this group is presenting a workshop for our members on creating a more inclusive workplace culture. They are also  exploring ways we could offer discounted or subsidized trainings to our members. Ultimately, this group will seek to align with the city’s workforce-development strategy to reinforce the cultural sector’s role as a dynamic economy force in the region.

Organizations of Color (Elizabeth Estrada)

This group focuses on the distinct challenges of cultural organizations that self-identify as an organization of color. It is surveying these groups to identify and prioritize their needs in order to design future programming.