DIVERSIFYING ART MUSEUM LEADERSHIP INITIATIVE A MATCHING GRANT PILOT PROGRAM Funded by the Walton Family Foundation and Ford Foundation
Introduction As passionate believers in the power of art museums and their exceptionally important contributions to the lives of individuals, communities and the culture of our nation, the Ford Foundation and the Walton Family Foundation are affirmatively working to increase the demographic and cultural diversity of America’s art museum curatorial and management leadership. The foundations are seeding a grant program that supports creative solutions to achieve this goal, with the hope that other funders will also contribute over time in order to expand the program beyond this pilot.
Research reveals that art museum staffs do not adequately reflect the changing demographics of our country. As an example, a 2015 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation study reports that while 38 percent of American people are Asian, Black, Hispanic or multi-racial, only 16 percent of art museum leadership positions were held by people with those backgrounds. Similarly, staff and leadership at many art museums do not reflect other forms of diversity (e.g., socio-economic, employees with disabilities, LGBTQ persons, etc.) represented in the communities they serve. The future health of art museums and their ability to contribute to the vibrancy of their communities depends, in part, on their being relevant and appealing to the broadest cross-section of community residents. This requires that staff and Boards of art museums change to better reflect the demographics of their communities.
OUR VISION: By 2025, 30 percent of mid- and senior-level curatorial and management positions at U.S. art museums will be filled by talented leaders from historically under-represented and diverse backgrounds.
Through the Diversifying Art Museum Leadership Initiative, the Walton Family Foundation and Ford Foundation will commit $6 million ($3 million each) over three years to support a limited number of U.S. art museums that are developing strategies and programs to diversify curatorial and management leadership. Single-year or multi-year grants will be offered. The grants must be matched 2:1 ($2 grant funds/$1 recipient match) by recipient art institutions in the first year, and 1:1 in any subsequent years. Efforts undertaken with grant funds should yield measurable outcomes within the grant period. Successful applications will include plans for sustaining the work after the grant period. While the foundations recognize that realizing their vision will require diversifying museum boards as well as staff, and developing more programs that are appealing and relevant to more diverse audiences, this modest pilot initiative is focused on diversifying curatorial and management staff.
The funders will collaborate on selecting grantees. Application logistics and post-selection administration will be overseen by the Ford Foundation. The Walton Family Foundation staff will be available to assist grantees in developing appropriate performance metrics. Program Focus Effectively diversifying art museum curatorial and management leadership requires imaginative and innovative strategies, and this grant program will encourage a broad range of approaches that will produce meaningful impact.
Outcomes are sought in four areas: 1. Increase diversity and presence of under-represented groups among mid- and upper-level curatorial staff
§ The project results in a defined, significant percentage increase in diverse leadership in middle- and upper-curatorial roles, within the applicant organization or industry-wide, within a defined period of time.
§ The project demonstrates measurable progress toward increased interest in curatorial careers among under-represented groups.
2. Increase diversity and presence of under-represented groups among mid- and upper-level management staff
§ The project results in a defined, significant percentage increase in diverse leadership in middle- and upper-management roles, within the applicant organization or industry-wide, within a defined period of time.
§ The project demonstrates measurable progress toward increased interest in art museum-related careers among under-represented groups.
3. Increase pipeline of diverse students and under-represented groups choosing career paths in art history, museum leadership, or other humanities-related fields.
§ The project results in a defined, significant percentage increase in diverse students choosing majors relevant to museum leadership in undergraduate or graduate-level programs at post-secondary institutions.
§ The project demonstrates measurable progress toward increased interest in art-related careers among under-represented groups, within a defined period of time.
Note: While actual impact on mid- and upper-level curatorial or management staff may not be realized within the grant period, clear goals and measures beyond the grant period should be identified to demonstrate how any proposed “pipeline” initiative would eventually impact diversity in museum leadership, and within what timeframe. 4. Supplemental output to any of the above (not stand alone): Develop roadmaps to increased diversity, inclusion, and cultural sensitivity throughout the organization.
§ The project results in a strategic plan for the lead applicant organization to achieve a measurable increase in diversity among museum curatorial and management leadership.
Funded projects may land anywhere along this continuum, subject to individual donor preferences for length of project, but all should lead to an eventual impact on diversifying mid- and senior-level curatorial and/or management positions at U.S. art museums.
Eligibility and Application Process Art museums incorporated as non-profit tax-exempt institutions in the U.S. are eligible to apply. This includes art museums that are free-standing, not-for-profit institutions or components of another not-for-profit institution with a mission to study, care for, interpret, and exhibit works of art. Eligible institutions must be administered by a professional staff and governed by a body that sets general policy and is legally and financially responsible for the museum. Eligible museums may have volunteers who serve a variety of support functions, and must carry out their missions in facilities that are open to the public for designated hours on a regular basis.
The application process will have three steps:
1. Letter of Interest (due April 21, 2017)
Eligible art museums (or museum consortium) may submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) using the form found by clicking on the "Start" widget in the upper right hand corner of this page. LOIs must include a description of the proposed project, expected outcomes, estimated general project budget and the probable request for funding. Applicants can be begin completing the form and return to edit it and submit it anytime until the deadline.
While one museum must be the lead applicant on the LOI, consortium (collaborative or partnership) projects are encouraged. Consortium partners may include other arts organizations, foundations, non-profit organizations, educational institutions, business and civic leaders, and community organizations, as well as public and local government entities.
The LOI submissions will be considered by a review committee composed of the foundations' staff, based on the program goals. After this review, a short list of museums will be invited to submit full proposals. The funders reserve the right to ask additional questions of the applicant organizations prior to final decisions.
LOIs must be submitted online by 5 pm in the applicant's time zone on April 21, 2017. Questions should be submitted by 5pm in the applicant's time zone on April 14 by clicking "Ask a Question" near the top of this page. Please read the guidelines carefully and review the Frequently Asked Questions linked below before submitting questions and allow 3 business days for an email response to inquiries.
2. Full Proposal
Museums invited to submit full proposals will be provided application forms. These will request more detailed information about the proposed work, any partners involved, the measurable outcomes, the budget projections and the likely sources of matching funds. Walton Family Foundation’s Evaluation Unit will be available to assist applicants in developing robust performance metrics to measure outcomes.
In the case of consortium applications, the lead applicant must meet the eligibility requirements, submit the application, and assume full responsibility for grant administration and performance measures. All consortium proposals must include a formal statement of support for the project from the executive director and board chair of the lead applicant institution, and letters of support signed by the executive directors of all participating institutions.
Submitted proposals will be reviewed by the review committee. Based on the goals of the Initiative, a group of museums will be selected for funding. The funders reserve the right to ask additional questions of the applicant organizations, through program management team, prior to final decisions.
3. Final Contract
Program management will work with the selected grantees on final contracts, which will include agreed work plans, budgets, performance metrics and reporting deadlines. Application Restrictions
An organization may submit as a lead applicant up to two LOIs. As a partnering organization, an applicant may serve on as many applications as they wish. If two LOIs are submitted from a single lead applicant, the review committee will carefully consider the capacity of the lead applicant to carry out the proposed work, the commitment of the participating partners, and sustainability of the proposed work.
All grant funds must be allocated to expenses that will achieve the goals of the project.
Subject to funder approval, grants may offer limited support for indirect costs associated with museum systems or overhead, or for salaries and fringe benefits for current museum staff already funded through an applicant’s operating budget.
Criteria for Reviewing Letters of Interest
Letters of Interest will be reviewed in light of these criteria:
Clarity of project plan and its appropriateness for the applicant museum;
Likelihood that the project will result in a defined, significant and sustained increase in leaders from under-represented backgrounds, including ethnically and racially diverse groups, in middle and/or upper curatorial and management roles, and/or a defined and significant increase in under-represented students choosing career paths in art history, museum leadership and other humanities related fields;
Likelihood that the project will have a long-term impact on diversity, inclusion and cultural sensitivity throughout the organization;
Likelihood the museum will sustain its work on expanding under-represented groups in curatorial and/or management leadership positions after the grant period;
Relevance of the project to the museum field, and likelihood that other institutions will be able to learn from and, where suitable, replicate its implementation;
Likelihood that the grant will be matched.
The funders seek to support a broad range of grantees in this pilot program, therefore the group of museums invited to submit final proposals will be diverse in size, age, geographical location and aesthetic orientation as well as programmatic strategy.
Applicants may propose strategies that address one or more of these desired outcomes.
Applicants should list outcomes that can be achieved within the grant period (one, two or three years), as well as long-term outcomes that may occur beyond the grant period but will contribute to the stated objectives of the initiative.
Preference will be given to proposals that are sustainable beyond the grant period, and potentially replicable by other institutions.
Successful applicants will demonstrate that they will share the lessons of their program, leverage learning networks in the museum community and broader arts sector, and use digital learning and/or other collaborative technology to advance knowledge sharing.
Toward the goal of sharing lessons and encouraging the replication of effective strategies, grantees will be required to submit a detailed program report and/or case study that may be presented at a professional conference.
Applicants will waive any intellectual property rights for funded programs.
In this pilot initiative, the funders seek to support a range of impactful projects and kinds of art museums. Grant selection will be based on funds available for distribution; the likelihood that funded projects will achieve defined, significant impact; and considerations related to composing a grantee cohort that is diverse by museum size, geographical location and aesthetic orientation. Award amounts will vary based on the scope of the proposed project.
Letter of Interest Deadline: April 21, 2017 Invitations for Full Proposal Issued: no later than June 2, 2017 Full Proposal Deadline: July 7, 2017 Announcement of Awards: September 22, 2017
Late, ineligible, and incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
In the event of a major emergency (e.g., technological failure), application deadlines may be adjusted for the affected applicants. If a deadline is extended for any reason, an announcement will be posted.
Please note: We request that you do not call or contact staff at the Walton Family Foundation or Ford Foundation about this program. All questions are being handled through the online application.