Solidarity with the Asian American Pacific Islander communityyellow background with #stop in red and "asian hate" in black
In response to the tragedy in Atlanta the other day, we condemn these murders and other hate crimes stemming from xenophobic and white supremacy thinking. Hate crimes against the AAPI community are not new, but the rise in racist rhetoric with COVID-19 cannot be ignored. In addition to supporting a number of AAPI arts and collections organizations, we seek to disrupt harmful racialized narratives through our “Broadening Narratives” strategy. More resources for #StopAsianHate from the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy and the Nellie Mae Education Foundation.

Over $2 million granted for pandemic relief
Last week our board released nearly $2.2 million in general operating support to over 200 arts organizations in the Lowcountry and Chicago region. Nearly 70 grants were pre-approved and all arts organizations can opt to receive their 2021 grant payment in April rather than later in the year. This gives arts organizations flexibility as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to leave the sector uncertain.

Nearly all current arts grantees are eligible and have been notified by email; if you have not received an email, please contact Susan Clark, Director of Grants and Communications at
In the News
Our Lowcountry program director, Kerri Forrest, is in this month’s Charleston Magazine, speaking to why we’ve continued to support and strengthen arts organizations during this time. "While the arts might not seem as urgent as food, housing, or health care in times of crisis, [Kerri says] “artists are second responders... We’re all going to need the arts to help us process the pandemic and last summer’s social unrest."

Ellen Placey Wadey was on the radio earlier this month, speaking about what Chicago arts organizations are learning and sharing about virtual programming - production values, generating income, expanding audiences, & more - and what may stay post-pandemic. Tune into this episode of The Arts Section with Gary Zidek on WDCB FM from about 2:00-19:45.
Arts group conversations
Last year, GDDF switched to group conversations to replace individual progress report calls. Arts leaders have a wealth of information learned from their work in the field, and we thought the best way to share that wealth with colleagues and with us was through group convenings.

In Chicago, we have 10 available dates over the next few months with a variety of discussion topics. If you need more information or didn’t receive the sign-up email, please reach out to Clover Morell at In the Lowcountry, group conversations are scheduled for June 8 and 9. More information will be forthcoming, but if you have any questions, please reach out to Ame Holcombe at (Photo from Visceral Dance).
Arts Work Fund Think and Explore Grants
Application Deadline: March 30, 2021 THINK – EXPLORE – SHARE grants enable arts organizations based in Cook County, Illinois to identify and test adaptation to challenges posed by COVID-19 or existing challenges that COVID-19 has exacerbated. Eligible organizations must be led by, for, and about black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC), with operating expenses of $2 million and below OR Any arts and culture organization with operating expenses of $800,000 and below. See Arts Work Fund’s website for more information.
Art to see virtually or outdoors
With access to venues restricted now for a year, arts organizations have continued producing work. We encourage you to check out this list of virtual and outdoor offerings from arts organizations in the Chicago region and Lowcountry is updated regularly. If you’re an arts organization with an upcoming event that’s not on this list, please complete this form to be added and make sure is on your mailing list.
Chicago strategy webinar recording
The Foundation launched its revised Chicago land conservation program strategy on February 11th; you can view the recording of the launch webinar event here.  The new strategy supports innovative organizations and programs that advance land conservation across the Chicago Wilderness region, with emphasis on four key themes: protecting and stewarding natural and working lands; integrating climate resiliency; advancing policy advocacy; and providing benefits to both natural and diverse human communities. See the updated strategy and guidelines here. (Photo of Dolton Prairie from Metropolitan Planning Council).
Documentation video from Historic Charleston
This is just one of the stories that led us to shift our collections grantmaking strategy to Broadening Narratives. We are proud to have supported Historic Charleston Foundation's work of documenting this process, which uncovered numerous stories about the enslaved people who lived and worked at the Nathaniel Russell House in Charleston.
Next proposal deadline
Our next proposal deadline is Friday, March 26, 2021. New organizations should reach out to our respective program staff before applying. Guidelines and contact information can be found here: Chicago or Lowcountry. The other 2021 deadline is July 30, 2021.
Finally, it’s with mixed emotions that we bid farewell to two long-time staff members. Tom Trinley, Director of Finance and Operations, is leaving at the end of March after 18 years with GDDF. And Mary Jo Harney, Executive and Board Assistant, has also moved on after 14 years with GDDF.
For inquiries in the interim, please contact Clover Morell at

We're Hiring
An Executive Assistant position has been posted - please see our website for details and contact information.

We will also be hiring a CFO; details will be posted on the website soon.
Copyright © 2021 Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, All rights reserved.

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