Describing it as a recognition of “America’s Cultural Treasures,” the Houston Endowment and the Ford Foundation have committed to donating at least $10 million to support Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous arts organizations in Houston communities. The historically marginalized, underfunded, and underrepresented communities (more so during the COVID-19 pandemic), will receive funds for general operation and capacity-building support.
The Ford Foundation gave an initial $35 million across seven U.S. regions, part of a new $156 million national initiative, and local foundations such as the Houston Endowment will provide matching funds for multi-year grants. Other regions and organizations include The Barr Foundation (Massachusetts), Getty Foundation (Los Angeles), Heinz Endowments (Pittsburgh), Houston Endowment (Houston), John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (Chicago), Joyce Foundation (Chicago), McKnight Foundation (Minnesota), The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation (Los Angeles), the Terra Foundation for American Art (Chicago), and William Penn Foundation (Philadelphia).
“Houston’s cultural organizations of color celebrate our region’s extraordinary diversity and foster our connections to each other,” says Ann Stern, President and CEO of the Houston Endowment. “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. We are grateful to the Ford Foundation for creating this opportunity and proud to represent the Houston area in this work.”
Among the local beneficiaries of the funding will be Houston’s Project Row Houses, recognized as a significant anchor for cultural diversity.
Funding for the “America’s Cultural Treasures” initiative comes from Ford Foundation, with leadership support from Bloomberg Philanthropies and Barbara and Amos Hostetter, and additional support from the Abrams Foundation, Alice L. Walton Foundation, and Tom and Lisa Blumenthal.
“These organizations represent the very highest ideals of artistic excellence and are truly America’s cultural treasures,” says Ford Foundation President Darren Walker. “We hope that other arts philanthropists and corporations will join in increasing support to the many cultural organizations that reflect our nation’s rich and diverse history.”