Power of Culture Blog
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A quarterly report on our anti-racism work
In 2021, Mass Cultural Council launched a three-year Racial Equity Plan outlining some of the internal and external steps we will take to support and encourage an anti-racist cultural sector in the Commonwealth. As part of the plan, the Agency has committed to sharing our progress on this work each quarter:
Too often we don’t have the time to pause and reflect on how we got to where we are today. We know whether or not we achieved our goals, but don’t always take full stock of the effort and time put in along the way. This blog post is my effort to share the journey Mass Cultural Council started with our Racial Equity Plan and continued with our recruitment and engagement efforts this fiscal year.
The overall goal was —and remains— to spread the Agency’s public investment to communities that are under-resourced, under-served, and under-funded.
Thanks to our advocacy victories and due to the ongoing support of our partners on Beacon Hill, Mass Cultural Council was tasked with the incredible opportunity to equitably invest almost $100 million in state dollars into the cultural sector in FY23.
We began the fiscal year by putting a number of the Agency’s grant programs’ guidelines and processes through a racial equity lens. Through these cross-department conversations, we surfaced a number of changes to improve funding equity, including;
In FY23 we also launched one-time Cultural Sector Pandemic Recovery Grants for individuals and organizations. To make real progress toward our goals of recruitment and equity, we undertook unprecedented Agency-wide outreach and recruitment efforts.
Our staff worked on crafting grant programs to serve an intentionally wide array of applicants, which resulted in:
This outreach and engagement slide deck offers a summary of how we tried to operationalize this work, making it a guide for the future. The presentation goes through our targets, tactics, and products throughout the fiscal year.
Now that the Cultural Sector Pandemic Recovery Grants have been awarded, we can reflect on the amazing opportunity the Agency had in FY23 to make record investments and to make them more equitably. Check out an overview of how these recovery grants were awarded and who they benefitted to get a deeper picture into how much more funding was distributed this year, and how many new people the funds went to.
Spoiler alert: It’s a lot!
Track on-going progress using our racial equity journey map.