A Year-End Note of Gratitude – December 2020

black and white image of Executive director David Farren He has short dark hair, dark and grey moustache and beard facial hair and is smilingAs this tumultuous year comes to a close, we would like to thank our grantees, co-funders, and other partners for your perseverance, thoughtfulness, and creativity as we continue to navigate unprecedented times. Your efforts illustrate the choice between hope and resignation as we continue to strive for sustainable, vibrant, and engaged communities across our two regions.

This year we made over 200 program and emergency COVID-related grants, totaling nearly $6.2 million. 80% of these were for general operating support, which provides flexibility for groups, especially in times of crisis like the coronavirus pandemic. To learn more about the benefits and why we prefer to make multi-year general operating grants whenever feasible, see this recent report from the Center for Effective Philanthropy. And, please take a look in each program area below at the diverse list of organizations new to our portfolio this year.

We also give thanks as we bid farewell to many great nonprofit leaders in both regions. We wish you well in your next endeavors!

  • Lowcountry: Nigel Redden/Spoleto, Mark Sloan/Halsey, Heather Hodges/Gullah Geechee Heritage Corridor, Cathryn Davis/Enough Pie, Jamee Haley/Lowcountry Local First
  • Chicago: Nathan Allen/House Theatre, Ricardo Guiterrez/Teatro Vista, Richard Lariviere/Field Museum

And finally, during this end-of-year giving season, we encourage you to consider a donation or subscription to one of your local arts organizations. Such a gift will ensure that the organizations we love will be here to welcome us when we return to public life in our post-pandemic communities.

Best wishes and health to you and yours,
David Farren
Executive Director

Launching our new Chicago Land Conservation strategy

At its November meeting, our board approved a revised strategy for our Chicago Land Conservation mission area, that aims to support a diverse range of innovative organizations and programs to advance land conservation across the Chicago Wilderness region. Key themes include stewardship of both natural and working lands; climate resiliency; integrating advocacy and public engagement; and benefits to people throughout the region, including underserved communities. Stay tuned for additional details including a virtual launch event and website updates in early 2021, as revised strategy guidelines will apply to the next proposal deadline of Friday, March 26, 2021.

Pleased to have started supporting these organizations in 2020:

  • National Trust for Historic Preservation in The United States
  • Natural Resources Defense Council
  • New Alpha Community Development Corporation
  • University of Illinois at Chicago Energy Resources Center

See the full list of 2020 grants on our website.

Chi-Cal Rivers Fund Award Announcement

The Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation is a longstanding funder partner in the private-public Chi-Cal Rivers Fund, administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation. This collaboration provides grant funding to improve aquatic and riparian habitat, reduce stormwater runoff, and improve access to and use of natural areas and greenspace for communities along the waterways of the Chicago-Calumet region.  See the December 14, 2020 public announcement of the 2020 grant award recipients.

Pleased to have started supporting these organizations in 2020:

  • Penn Center
  • Village Group

See the full list of 2020 grants on our website.

Our new collections strategy seeks to bring forward new and recovered narratives

In case you missed the webinar for the launch of our new Broadening Narratives strategy, you can view it here on YouTube.

Listen to Director, Lowcountry Program, Kerri Forrest talk about the strategy on South Carolina Public Radio.

And our Executive Director, David Farren, was interviewed by WDCB 90.9FM’s Gary Zidek, host of The Art Section, along with Carlos Hernandez of the Puerto Rican Arts Alliance on the importance of Broadening Narratives. The story starts at about the 45:48 mark.

Please reach out to us early as possible to discuss proposal ideas as our next deadline is Friday, March 26, 2021.

Pleased to have started supporting these organizations in 2020:

  • Alternate ROOTS / ConNECKtedTOO Project
  • American Indian Center
  • Ayodele Drum and Dance
  • Chicago Cultural Accessibility Consortium
  • Chicago Latino Theater Alliance
  • Chicago Literary Hall of Fame
  • Chicago Reader
  • Definition Theatre Company
  • Floating Museum
  • Gullah Traveling Theater
  • Honey Pot Performance
  • Mezcla Media Collective
  • Native Island Business & Community Affairs Association / Gullah Festival
  • Public Works Art Center
  • Sixty Inches from Center
  • South Side Community Art Center
  • University of South Carolina / Beaufort Center for the Arts
  • UrbanTheater Chicago
  • Water People Theater Group
  • Yin He Dance

See the full list of 2020 grants on our website.

Art to see virtually or outdoors

It’s been a particularly difficult year for the over 200 arts organizations we support, with access to venues restricted across our two regions. Our approach has been to “lean in” to provide continued support regardless of production limitations. We applaud the efforts of our grantees to continue to produce work and support artists through extreme circumstances over the past 9 months. This list of offerings from arts organizations in both of our regions is updated regularly and includes virtual and outdoor offerings.

Chicago arts organizations, share your story

So many of our beloved small arts organizations have persevered in incredible ways, showing unmatched innovation and tenacity. To help secure news stories about the impact that 2020 had on small arts organizations, and how it will inform 2021, we are once again working with The Silverman Group (TSG), to get your successes in the news.

Please fill out this short questionnaire by December 31st to provide some information for TSG’s compiling of statistics and story pitches for the media. (Though it says performing arts organizations, it can be completed by ALL arts organizations, and we welcome your contributions).

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