Arts Nonprofits Embark On Multi-Year Initiative to Strengthen Organizational Health and Bolster Sector-Wide Equity

April 4, 2016

NATIONAL—April 4, 2016—Six nonprofits are leading a new phase of the Leveraging A Network for Equity (LANE) initiative to address sustainability challenges created by systemic financial inequalities within the arts and cultural infrastructure of the U.S. LANE is a partnership between the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network (NPN/VAN) and Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF), and is supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. It is an expansive multi-year, multi-million dollar effort to build the financial and organizational health of the NPN/VAN network and bolster arts organizations that have often been overlooked by mainstream funding.

Organizations selected to participate in the current phase include: Carpetbag Theatre (Knoxville, TN), Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas (Seattle, WA), Junebug Productions (New Orleans, LA), Movimiento de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana (MACLA) (San Jose, CA), The Myrna Loy Center (Helena, MT) and Su Teatro (Denver, CO).

These nonprofits include groups that are led by or primarily serve people of color, small- and mid-sized organizations, and those based in geographically-isolated locations. These organizations have deep connections to their communities, demonstrated equity within their organizations and exemplify innovative solutions to a changing field with shifting demographics. Over the next four years, these groups will receive expert assistance and access to significant capital investments to help strengthen their business models and fundraising strategies, with the goal of also informing shifts in the sector at large.

“These organizations preserve and innovate aesthetics that are not often well-represented in mainstream venues, though their contributions are vital to the cultural expression and legacy of their communities,” said Sage Crump, LANE Program Specialist at NPN/VAN. “The entire NPN/VAN network will benefit from work addressing shared challenges, such as gentrification and displacement of core audiences, limited staff capacity, and facilities-related issues."

Among the first activities that the cohort will participate in is a three day Financial Leadership Clinic, during which each organization will receive a customized financial analysis of business model dynamics and insight into how to effectively communicate financial needs and goals, and begin to articulate the objectives that will inform their activities over the next 4 years.

“As we consider capitalization in the arts, it’s imperative to understand the unique dynamics facing small and mid-size arts organizations that have been marginalized,” said Claire Knowlton, Director for Advisory Services at NFF. “LANE and this deep work with the small cohort may inform philanthropic strategies that better support diversity and equity in the arts.”

For information about LANE, visit

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