Grantmakers Partnership Project Update

In 2010, MetLife Foundation funded NCCA to provide grantmaker affinity groups working in the areas of arts and of aging with technical assistance and professional development on the opportunities and challenges of funding at the intersection of these two fields.  The project began with Grantmakers in the Arts and Grantmakers In Aging, and eventually expanded to encompass Grantmakers In Health.  In partnership with the affinity groups, NCCA reached almost 300 funders over four years.  
Since the inception of this project, the field of creative aging has grown substantially.  In 2011, the baby boomer generation began turning 65 at the rate of 10,000 per day.  Over five million Americans live with Alzheimer’s disease alone.  The urgently growing need for supports and services for older adults and their caregivers has become ever more central to public discourse.  Additionally, research continues to reveal tantalizing new information about the impact of the arts on quality of life and quality of care for older adults.  
Through the Grantmakers Partnership Project, more funding has become available to nonprofits working in arts, aging, and health.  NCCA has been privileged to support several foundations in developing new funding initiatives.  Thirteen state arts agencies have joined Communities of Practice in Arts, Health, and Aging, a national network designed to support the field through increased funding and technical assistance at the local government level.  An additional twelve agencies are invited to participate in the project this year.  These national and local initiatives will support the field through advocacy, funding, and capacity building.
In 2014, NCCA produced a culminating webinar series designed to introduce service organizations to the grantmaker affinity groups, showcase the findings from the grantmaker partnership project, and provide new tools and resources to develop funding partnerships.  Creative Aging: Through the Grantmaker Lens featured the directors of each affinity group, with a member foundation, to discuss the rationale behind their support of creative aging, the forecast for the field, their definition of best practice, and tips for writing a successful proposal.  
NCCA believes that, in order to successfully secure funding from grantmaking organizations, it is critical to understand their perspective upon our work in creative aging.  We are grateful to the participating funders and the affinity groups for their willingness to share the history behind their work in this field, their perspective upon creative aging, and to provide key tips and information for service organizations in the field.  
Each webinar presentation was moderated by Margery Pabst, President, Pabst Charitable Foundation of the Arts.
  • Funding in the Arts — February 19, 2014 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST
Featuring Janet Brown, President & CEO, Grantmakers in the Arts; and Teresa Bonner, Program Director, Vitality + Art, Aroha Philanthropies (formerly The Michelson Foundation) 
  • Funding in Health — March 19, 2014 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST
Featuring Faith Mitchell, Ph.D., President and CEO, and Colin Pekruhn, M.P.P, Program Associate, Grantmakers In Health; and Robert Eckardt, Dr.P.H., Executive Vice President, The Cleveland Foundation
  • Funding in Aging — April 2, 2014, Date 1:00 – 2:00 PM EST
Featuring John Feather, Ph.D., CEO, Grantmakers In Aging and Helen Ramon, Program Officer, Helen Bader Foundation
During the webinar presentations, NCCA was unable to answer all questions due to limited time.  In addition, a number of questions addressed a need for resources to guide the conversation.  
Q:  What the best resources you are finding for research findings on the impact of arts learning and aging?
I.  In 2006, Gene Cohen, MD, PhD, released The Creativity and Aging Study: The Impact of Professionally Conducted Cultural Programs on Older Adults.  This seminal study is the cornerstone of later research as was the first controlled study to look at the impact of tapping into creative potential apart from treating problems to promote health with aging. 
II. The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Office of Research & Analysis currently manages the NEA Arts & Human Development Interagency Task Force.  Out of this task force has spun a number of valuable resources for the field, including two white papers, a quarterly webinar, and more.
In March 2011, the NEA and the Department of Health & Human Services hosted a joint summit to showcase and discuss recent research on the arts and human development. This unique event examined the relationship between the arts and positive health and educational outcomes at various segments of the lifespan and culminated in a white paper authored by NCCA.  
In September 2012, the NEA partnered with the National Institutes of Health to sponsor a National Academies workshop titled "Research Gaps and Opportunities for Exploring the Relationship of the Arts to Health and Well-Being in Older Adults." 
Q:  Does the GIA fund government entities that are not 501 (c)3?
The grantmakers affinity groups (Grantmakers in the Arts, Grantmakers In Aging, and Grantmakers In Health) are not funding entities.  They are membership organizations that provide technical assistance and professional development to grantmakers in the field.  
Q:  What kinds of incentives are there for multiple organizations to collaborate in grant applications?
Organizations can leverage existing resources to demonstrate the sustainability of the proposed program.  This includes the strength of expertise to guide the development of the proposal from multiple perspectives.  If possible, the collaborators should represent needs from arts, aging, and health services.
Collaborators also set up a natural learning community that has the capacity to reach new target populations and attract new and diverse funders.
Q:  I have seen many arts funders who accept grants "by invitation only;" do you have any suggestions for how a grantee can get this invitation?
An artist or organization should submit a short one-page description to a grantmaker of work being done, why it is important, and what outcomes have been accomplished.  With the same letter, inquire about upcoming grants and how selections are made and invitations for proposals are designated.   Repeated inquiries are sometimes needed to gain attention.  
The old adage about sending information at least 3 times may be needed!
Q:  Are there any examples of health insurance as a source of revenue for arts in health programs with measurable health benefits? art therapy programs may be such an example, but are you aware of any other types of arts programs whose participants are eligible for insurance coverage?
Arts programs based within long term care facilities and adult day health might in some cases see participant coverage through health insurance.  In addition, health care giants such as Kaiser Permanente and Blue Cross Blue Shield sometimes fund programs through their foundation arms.  
Q:  Is there a list available of organizations that fund the arts and aging?
There are a number of resources available to assist you in the prospect research process.  GIArts, GIAging, and GIH publish their membership through their websites. The Foundation Center has a prospect research tool available by subscription. 

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