Cathy wears a pink top and smiles
Executive Director

The New England Foundation for the Arts shares in the outrage over the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, David McAtee, Tony McDade, Nina Pop and so many other Black, Brown and Indigenous people across the nation. Systemic racism lies at the root of the two crises before us: police brutality and the public health inequities of Covid-19. BLACK LIVES MATTER. This is not a question for us at the New England Foundation for the Arts. Yet we understand that as a historically white-led institution with influence in our professional sphere and networks it is important for us to be specific and clear about our beliefs and our values.

The New England Foundation for the Arts is in solidarity with those who struggle with the weight of these persistent forms of racism. We commit ourselves as partners in the ongoing struggle for racial justice. NEFA’s value statement acknowledges that structural inequities have excluded individuals and communities from opportunity and makes clear our commitment to countering those inequities in our work. Events of recent days remind us of just how urgent this work has always been and continues to be.

NEFA acknowledges the impact that strong Black leadership on our Board of Directors has had on our culture and work. They join us in saying to our Black, Brown, and Indigenous colleagues, we see you, we hear you, we believe in you, we join you in seeking justice, and we will not move forward without your voice and leadership. NEFA believes if we are not working specifically against the legacy of racism, we are part of this nation’s collective problem.

The arts are a critical vehicle for social justice and social change, and our work will continue to support this vision as we invest in a racially just future. The arts sector has a legacy of benefiting from and perpetuating white privilege, and our organization is a part of this system. To work actively against this legacy, NEFA has been prioritizing equity, diversity, inclusion, and accessibility in our grantmaking, our programs, and how we work together as a staff and board. We will continue to do so, we will report to you on our actions, we will ask ourselves hard questions, and we will work against white supremacy culture. We know we are going to make mistakes. We commit to acknowledging them, learning from them, and doing better.

NEFA contributes to a nation where artists flourish and communities celebrate art as essential to a thriving, equitable society. We foster equitable access to the arts and as such we lift up the voices of Black, Brown, and Indigenous artists and communities who have not had access to the resources they deserve. As a nonprofit arts foundation working in the public trust, we will lead in service of equity and justice, and we believe that this is the most important work we can do.

With care and solidarity,

Your colleagues at the New England Foundation for the Arts

To take action, support Black organizations, and learn more, visit our Anti-Racism Resources: Organizations Advancing Black Life

To contact us with feedback, or to share resources, questions, or more, please email info@nefa.org

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