The Kenneth Rainin Foundation awarded $577,500 to 25 small and mid-sized arts organizations through our New and Experimental Works (NEW) Program. The NEW Program provides grants of $5,000-$30,000 to enable Bay Area artists to produce visionary works that are relevant to the communities they serve, advance their artistic practices and push the boundaries of dance and theater. Funded projects explore timely issues such as COVID-19’s impact on Latinx day laborers and domestic workers, the displacement of queer and people of color communities, and the risks of gentrification and homelessness in Black, Indigenous and people of color, Deaf and Disabled communities.
Streamlining Application Process And Extending Resources
This year the Arts program streamlined the NEW Program application to a one-stage process to create a shorter turnaround time for funding decisions. To address and relieve applicant burden, we only requested financial statements from applicants that were recommended for funding. Applicants continued to have the option to re-use applications submitted to other funders for the same project or use the Rainin Foundation application. We offer this option to reduce the time and resources spent on creating unique applications for different funders for the same project. One track is not prioritized over the other during the review process.
To extend our resources as much as possible given the ongoing effect of COVID-19 on artist communities, we committed to funding at least 70% of recommended applicants’ requested amounts. To acknowledge the pandemic’s durational impact on arts and culture organizations, half of the grant funds remained unrestricted to address grantees’ general operating needs and public presentations could be either in-person or virtual.
Demographic Data Collection
We view collecting demographic data as an important step in advancing equity in the Arts program. Earlier this year we reported on our Demographic Data Pilot from the 2021 NEW Program Application. We continued collecting information on racial, gender, sexual orientation and disability identities with the 2022 NEW Program application. The survey remains optional and is not used to make individual grant decisions. We received feedback from applicants about how we can improve the survey to be clearer, more intentional and sensitive to the communities we seek to serve. We hope to deepen our equity practice by using what we learn to address bias and barriers in our processes, develop targeted outreach strategies and adapt our grantmaking to better serve specific communities.