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Local Arts Groups Get Funding For Racial Healing


by Hady Mawajdeh 25 Jan 2018

The Communities Foundation of Texas has awarded $150,000 to Dallas-area nonprofits to support storytelling that gives voice to marginalized experiences.

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The Communities Foundation of Texas (CFT) – a group that connects philanthropists with worthy causes – has awarded $150,000 to 35 Dallas-area nonprofits, including many arts groups,  for projects to address racial equity.

Commuity Foundations of Texas logo.

Commuity Foundations of Texas logo.

The grants – which range in size from $2,500 to $7,500 – were awarded to help facilitate storytelling that gives voice and understanding to marginalized experiences. Sarah Cotton Nelson, Chief Philanthropy Officer at CFT, says they want to wants to start local discussions about racial inequalities.

Sarah Cotton Nelson, CFT's Chief Philanthropy Officer

Sarah Cotton Nelson, CFT’s Chief Philanthropy Officer

“Those stories and experiences of bias and discrimination are really important for people who may not have had those same experiences,” explains Nelson. She says the CFT believes that hearing those stories told in compelling and entertaining ways can help folks understand why it’s so important to address subconscious bias and racism that is sometimes embedded in our systems.

Groups like Border Crossers, whose mission is to train and empower educators to dismantle patterns of racism and injustice in schools and communities, are free to use the grants to pay for general operating expenses. But theater groups like WaterTower Theater in Addison or Dallas’ Soul Rep Theatre will use the grants to pay for special programming. Cara Mía Theatre Company will use their grant funds from CFT to educate and inform audiences about what they see as society’s pervasive, deep-rooted and longstanding racist narrative.

Cara Mía Theatre Co. logo

Cara Mía Theatre Co. logo

“Cara Mia is now better able to promote racial healing by forging a new, dynamic tandem,” says Ernest McMillan, curator for Community Action for Cara Mia Theatre, “Its cutting edge theatrical performances are now coupled with community conversations, youth engagement processes and healing circles.” McMillan says they’re going to be able to take on subjects that are often hard to discussion in a new way thanks to the grant from the CFT.

KERA is one of the groups that received funding. Want to see the full list of recipients and find out how they plan to address racial inequity? Click here.

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