2015 Annual Report: President's Report
Searing headlines, images of human misery wrought by migrations, and the political invective offered in reaction beg for analysis, interpretation, and reflection. As is true for the whole range of challenges that face humankind, those reflections can come in at least two modes: journalists often produce much needed immediate responses while scholars follow with deeper analyses. These fuller analyses require linguistic, cultural, social, and political knowledge gained over a lifetime of intense study and examination. Combined, the two approaches allow us to better understand the issues we face. The grander the human challenge, the more important is the perspective of humanists and artists. If we are to understand conditions and prescribe solutions, statistical modeling, interviews, and economic assessments must be undergirded with history and culture, language and literature, art and storytelling. Consider what is learned, for example, from a review of just a few moments in the history of human migrations.
While questions still remain and new discoveries appear annually, the evidence continues to mount that nearly 70,000 years ago humans began colonizing the globe with a northward push out of Africa. That process concluded when our forebears succeeded in ousting all rival species, including the Neanderthals. Thereafter we set about squaring off against one another, be it for tribe, nation, religion, or ideology, and the story of migration became a story of conflict with each other.
For example, well after Homo sapiens’ dominion over the earth had been affirmed, sixteenth-century citizens of London, seeking to protect their interests, turned on a group of outsiders from France, Belgium, and Italy who hoped for safe refuge. The foreigners lived to themselves in their own part of the city, but their presence nonetheless drew the ire of the natives. Londoners came to view the aliens with suspicion, derision, and hostility. Riots ensued. These strangers, you see, carried marks of difference in their dress, mannerisms, language, location, work, and behavior even after having settled in their new home.
The story of these immigrants has come down to us not through news account or royal decree but in the words of dramatists. In a minor play entitled Sir Thomas More, written by Anthony Munday and Henry Chettle and revised by several others (including one revisionist, using the pseudonym Hand D, who scholars think may have been no other than William Shakespeare), the description of the migrant is stark and unambiguous. “Imagine that you see the wretched strangers, their babies at their backs and their poor luggage....” Here is an image that has endured over time: the migrant, dispossessed, owner of meager belongings, striving alone or with family to find a new start. War, politics, natural calamity, economic need, or material insecurity, alone or in combination, sparked their movement. At times they found themselves beckoned by those who had come ahead of them; on other occasions they made the journey only to be thwarted, harassed, jailed, or murdered.
Iconography usually refers to the meaning of visual representations, including those that capture a scene, event, or moment in history. Here it is also words that convey the idea of a newcomer, a stranger, a migrant. The use of this iconography, in all its forms, is as old as the process of moving and has sustained the social and political angst that often followed the arrival of the migrants.
Of course, not every migrant story is the same. In 1290 an early generation of Englishmen and women expelled all Jews, in what author Anthony Julius considers, “the first national, enduring expulsion of an entire Jewish population in history.” In that instance, anti-Semitism combined with a generalized notion of a wandering population to embolden those who knew and recognized the outsider. The result: bigotry wrapped in hatred freed one group to target another.
Two and a half centuries later, the machinery of forced migration produced another chapter in the history of human movement, with a new iconography to follow. Millions of men, women, and children were forced from the African interior to the ocean and survived murderous imprisonment along the West African coast as well as the seemingly interminable middle passage to labor on plantations, farms, and cities in North and South America and the Caribbean. Their movement was coerced and resulted in enslavement. Their enslavement was tied to the production of commodities such as sugar, tobacco, indigo, ship stores, and cotton; those commodities in turn created enormous profit and engendered a triangled relationship that enriched many in Europe, Africa, and the Americas, and left millions to toil until death, as the property of others, over nearly three centuries.
Concomitantly, an iconography of reluctant migrants came into view. Images of men, women, and children trekking from the African interior, often in single file, chained around the neck, ankles, or waist matched written descriptions. Unmistakably, this evolving iconography emphasized race. In the Americas, a diverse collection of African peoples became known by the color of their skin, which had implications for the world. To be black came to represent “slave” or “descendant of slave” as status came to be defined by color. In pamphlets, broadsides, sermons, news accounts, and books, images appeared of the “Ethiopian,” the “darkie,” the “Senegambian”—some of the scores of words used to describe sons and daughters of Africa. And where the immigrants in the story from Tudor England were spurned by the populace, free people of means in the Americas welcomed these forced migrants, because they represented a perpetual labor source that made the plantation economy, and the institutions that enabled it, thrive.
By the time the plantation economy gave way to the industrial age, the place of external and internal migrants shifted again, resulting in new images. For example, throughout large portions of the Americas contract labor and forms of indentureship followed the abolition of slavery, with new migrants coming from India and China. On the western Plains, settlers, the US Army, and industrial interests were on the move. As they did battle with Native peoples they produced an iconography of conquest, shrouded in the cloak of western expansion, progress, and Manifest Destiny. Once Indians were forced onto reservations, images of them oscillated between that of the savage, out of step with progress, and the noble stoic, primal, and frozen in time.
Following the United States Civil War two interrelated changes occurred, significant increases in manufacturing output and new searches for suitable labor. Extractive industries such as coal were matched by the growth in manufacturing industries such as steel, rail, and auto. They joined older industries such as apparel to generate a new demand for labor. As the country expanded its borders from the Atlantic to the Pacific, and corralled the Native peoples who had been its stewards for millennia, calls went out worldwide for labor. Would-be workers answered, coming en masse from Europe, and, because of restrictions, by the trickle from Asia, Africa, and elsewhere. Between 1870 and 1930, the US population increased by 218.4 percent, from 38,558,371 to 122,775,046 residents. During the period, the foreign-born population, mostly from Europe, accounted for no less than 11 percent of the total population (1930) and as much as 14.8 percent (1890). Those coming fled wars, pogroms, economic instability, social and civic upheaval, rigid social rules, and dim prospects. In America they hoped their fortunes would change.
In the wake of the human traffic, the country matched words and symbols to convey a new ethos—within limits. Off the tip of lower Manhattan, in what was to become a permanent home, the nation accepted a gift from anti-slavery French friends in an 1886 dedication headlined by President Grover Cleveland. The towering figure of peace in female form became known to all as the Statue of Liberty. In her outstretched right hand, arm extended, loomed a torch to light the way to a land of hope and prosperity.
Emma Lazarus, New Yorker, poet, Jew, completed the cementing of image and words when she penned the 1883 poem, “The New Colossus.” The poem paid tribute to Lady Liberty and secured the United States’ image of itself. In 1903 a permanent rendition found a place on the pedestal forming the base of the statue. (The inscription has since been moved to a sequestered location inside the associated museum.)While the full poem is worth knowing, several lines from the sonnet have achieved iconic status nearly equivalent to that of the statue itself:
“Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”
New waves of internal and external migration changed the political and economic landscape of the United States at least two more times during the twentieth century and produced a new generation of iconography. Most noticeable were the millions of African Americans who fled the rural South in the first two decades of the century and again in the 1940s and ’50s. Often referred to as the First and Second Great Migrations, these internal repositionings of the nation’s black population accelerated the flowering of a black urban electorate, the demise of the Jim Crow system, and the birth of the modern instantiation of the civil rights movement. No image captures that era as powerfully as the scene of blacks and their allies in front of the Lincoln Memorial, on a warm summer day in Washington, DC in August 1963, before and after Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech.
Equally important, as historian James Gregory reminds us, was the movement of millions of whites from the southern plains and southern states to manufacturing and industrial sites in the North, Midwest, and West. During the Great Depression John Steinbeck etched a lasting image of the Joad family into the consciousness of the literary public with publication of The Grapes of Wrath (1939). Okies were further dramatized on the silver screen and immortalized in photos by Dorothea Lange, searing into the collective memory images of the dispossessed sons and daughters of the soil.
Today we find ourselves once again trying to make sense of the global movement of thousands fleeing war and unrest and in search of opportunity and security. While some work arduously to understand the factors leading to such massive relocation, others quickly turn to the shorthand of long-established iconography to paint the newcomers as dangerous, risky, unassimilable outsiders. It is important to recognize this iconography, interrogate its usage, and question its application. Movement is not a new human phenomenon. It is as ancient as we.
Organizations, too, experience periods of movement, of out- and in-migration occasioned by retirements, transitions, and other shifts of status and location. In March 2015 the Foundation said goodbye and thank you to longtime Board member and chair, W. Taylor Reveley III. Taylor joined the Mellon Board in June 1994 and assumed the chair’s role in September 2012. A Princeton undergraduate and University of Virginia Law School alum, Taylor clerked for Associate Justice William Brennan of the United States Supreme Court before beginning a legal career in private practice at Hunton and Williams, where he eventually became managing partner. Curious about the finer points of the law, he wrote War Powers of the President and Congress (1981). In 1998 he left private practice to assume the deanship of the law school at the College of William and Mary; in 2008 he became the 27th president of that venerable institution. During his twenty-one years on the Mellon Board Taylor served on most committees and, with a supreme combination of wit, insight, balance, and perspective, played a tremendous role in steering the Foundation. His departure signaled the end of an era. Changes in the bylaws in 2007 mean the Foundation will no longer have trustees who serve more than ten years or two consecutive terms, in most instances.
Joining Taylor among key departees was Philip E. Lewis, vice president for programs at the Foundation. After an academic career at Cornell University that lasted nearly four decades (1968–2007), Phil joined the Mellon Foundation in 2007. While at Cornell he gained a reputation as a devoted teacher and mentor, incisive critic and editor, able administrator, and purposeful interlocutor. At the Foundation all of those skills and talents endeared Phil to colleagues and earned him a grand reputation among grantees. He oversaw many grantee relationships, championed interdisciplinary projects, supported important institutions, encouraged new consortia, and mastered the art of when to say “no” or “yes” to an idea. Born and raised in Tennessee, Phil graduated from Davidson College and Yale University. In time, his appreciation of clear prose, fine food, excellent wine, and things French molded the scholar and man into form. All aspects of Phil made a difference at Mellon, and we wish him well in his retirement.
As a private, endowment-based foundation our ability to affect lives is made possible by shrewd investments over time. A team of dedicated in-house professionals partner with more than one hundred money managers to secure the returns that make our grantmaking possible. In turn those professionals are aided by a Board investment committee composed until last year of trustee and non-trustee members. After more than five years on the committee, we also said goodbye to Investment Committee non-trustee member Donald C. Opatrny. Don joined the committee in September 2009, a year after the global tumble reduced the value of endowments considerably. A graduate of Cornell University who had a successful career with Goldman Sachs, Don gave good counsel, offered sage advice and thoughtful questions, which contributed significantly to the work of the committee and the strategies employed by the investment team. Given his already full life and commitments, we deeply appreciated his willingness to share his expertise and insights.
Movement out was matched by movement in. After eight years as a member of the Board of Trustees, Danielle S. Allen assumed the role of Board chair on March 13, 2015. At the time of her appointment she served as the UPS Foundation Professor in the School of Social Sciences at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton; subsequently, she joined the Harvard University faculty as a professor in the Department of Government and in the Graduate School of Education as well as director of the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics. After earning an undergraduate degree from Princeton University, Danielle earned doctorates in classics and political science from the University of Cambridge and Harvard University, respectively. She joined the faculty of the University of Chicago in 2001, where she remained until she began her appointment at the Institute.
In December 2015 the Board welcomed Jane Mendillo as its newest member. Prior to joining the Board, Jane served as president and CEO of the Harvard Management Company. After graduating from Yale with a BA in English and later an MBA, she entered the finance and investment worlds, with stops at Yale, Bain & Company, and Wellesley before Harvard.
Cristle Collins Judd joined the Foundation in September 2015 as a senior program officer for Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities (HESH). The former Bowdoin College dean assumes some of the duties vacated by the departed Phil Lewis. In a newly integrated HESH program area, the Foundation hopes to benefit from Cristle’s experience: nearly a decade on the faculty of a research university—University of Pennsylvania—and nearly another decade on the campus of a selective liberal arts college. She, too, brings the scholarly perspective of a musicologist to a Foundation that imagines increasing collaboration across program areas, but especially between Arts and Cultural Heritage (ACH) and HESH.
In November 2015 we also welcomed Ella Baff as senior program officer for ACH. Prior to joining Mellon, Ella led the renowned dance enclave Jacob’s Pillow. Known for its commitment to documenting and archiving traditions in dance as well as for presenting new, often avant-garde work, Jacob’s Pillow earned the prestigious National Medal of Arts during Ella’s seventeen years as executive director. We welcome her to the new role of overseeing the effective integration and development of the ACH program at the Mellon Foundation.
The Foundation made a few operational changes in the past year, too. Most notably, we created two new offices in 2015. The first was a Communications office, headed by Laura Washington. Prior to assuming the role of director of communications, Laura served as the vice president for communications at the New-York Historical Society. Joining Laura, as the director of our new Information Technology operations, was Doug Torre. Doug too comes with a wealth of experience, having served as chief technology officer for the North Shore LIJ Health System.
As each of the program areas delineates in substantially more detail in the pages to follow, this year’s grantmaking reflects keen attention to the twin themes of continuity and change. Across all five programmatic arenas, nearly half of the grants awarded in 2015 reflect ongoing support or continuity (49 percent) and 42 percent demonstrate a willingness to try new things that were in keeping with stated priorities (see Chart 1).
Key priorities and themes emerged as well in our grantmaking. We have long cared about the liberal arts sector of higher education, especially residential liberal arts colleges. In 2015 we made several grants to institutions in the sector. Two priorities emerged. First, we sought carefully to expand the number of schools Mellon supports. For a long time the Foundation worked closely with the best- resourced institutions. As an outcome of the strategic planning process, and in alignment with my own priorities, we have now begun to work with a select number of modestly resourced schools. Second, we have supported more colleges and universities seeking to form or enhance existing consortia, believing that such arrangements leverage local resources, help improve faculty and student diversity, and strengthen the learning environment on campuses.
The HESH program area continued to look at the relationship between the liberal arts and research university sectors. It also ventured into new areas. Most notable were individual grants to Columbia and Cornell Universities on behalf of prisoner education programs. The carceral state has gained considerable attention in scholarly and popular publications in the last year. Studies continue to show that education can stem recidivism among recently released prisoners. Many states, however, cut back on such programs in the 1980s and 1990s when “tough on crime” ideology replaced the idea of rehabilitation. The Columbia and Cornell grants support courses rather than full degree offerings but provide an opportunity for additional study of the benefits of targeted intervention.
Our concern for the arts and cultural ecosystem found expression in a $10 million leadership grant to the new National Museum of African American History and Culture, two grants totaling $5 million to support implementation of a financial health initiative for small and midsized arts organizations, and $2.5 million in grants to nine regional theaters to support residency programs for playwrights. Many of America’s cultural and artistic organizations and venues are undercapitalized, and Mellon is determined to work to shore up the overall ecosystem through the grants we make, the research we undertake, and the partnerships we forge.
We remain keenly interested in field development across all program areas. A grant to the University of California at Los Angeles to develop the next generation of teacher-scholars is indicative of our concern for educating and training a new cohort of graduate students to augment disciplinary knowledge with new pedagogical tools, approaches, and methods. HESH made a grant of note to the City University of New York (CUNY). CUNY seeks to train doctoral students to teach humanities to undergraduates in CUNY’s LaGuardia Community College and to use an online platform for engagement. Likewise, student demands in South Africa required that we pay particular attention to curricular reform, faculty development, and the need to diversify the professoriate. In the area of Scholarly Communications, we sought to work with university presses to explore new models for distributing and archiving content. Finally, our colleagues in the Diversity program turned to a Latino/a initiative, recognizing that working with Hispanic-Serving Institutions had the promise of bringing a new group of students into the pipeline for later graduate work in the humanities and arts.
This concern with priorities and opportunities led me to refine aspects of our strategic plan by articulating what may be considered key presidential goals. Those goals, briefly summarized, are to grow Mellon’s capacity for leadership and effectiveness by working to ensure its success as a premier supporter of the creation, curation, conservation, and preservation of scholarly, artistic, and cultural knowledge. This would be achieved through grantmaking, the questions we ask, convenings, and research, nationally and internationally. Specifically, we need to strengthen the liberal arts college model as well as cultural and social organizations, and improve the public’s understanding of the importance of the arts and humanities. Work remains to expand opportunities for a broader cross section of human talent and to undertake pioneering research in mission-critical areas.
In the pages that follow, you will get a fuller account of how we have gone about the work of partnering with scholars, artists, organizations, and institutions to confront in an ongoing way the most profound dimensions of the human condition. Sometimes this is expressed in grants to small organizations seeking to stabilize themselves or launch a new idea. At other times it can be found in the convenings held, projects identified, and broader appeals that followed. Emblematic of the Foundation’s intent to address the ways in which today’s pressing problems affect the arts and humanities was a grant made to the Institute for International Education (IIE) for the establishment of the Artist Protection Fund (APF). Drawing on IIE’s long history of assisting scholars at risk because of war, political upheaval, or social calamity, APF will provide assistance to artists around the world who are threatened by censorship, persecution, and violence. We are pleased to partner with IIE in this new venture. Whatever the grant, the concern remains the same: to support the best talent possible in a quest to appreciably alter what is known.
The support for altering what is known returns us to the theme of migration. We do know that few humans willingly abandon their homes to traverse the globe without the push of dire circumstances or the pull of exceptional opportunities. Humanists have long noted and analyzed the remnants of such movements, their causes, consequences, and costs. One key remnant is the images, accounts, and portrayals—that is, the iconography—that situate the migrant’s story in a larger context. More than ever, the world needs those equipped to interpret the iconography of migration—its uses and misuses—as it wrestles with what to do with those desperately in motion.
Putting a Strategic Plan into Action
In 2015, the Mellon Foundation’s grantmaking programs began to implement priorities articulated in the strategic plan adopted in October 2014. Emphasizing continuity as well as change, the plan affirms commitment to the humanities and the arts by restating the Foundation’s mission:
The Foundation endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies. To this end, we support exemplary institutions of higher education and culture as they renew and provide access to an invaluable heritage of ambitious, path-breaking work.
To pursue this mission effectively for the twenty-first century, the Foundation in 2015 completed the reorganization of its grantmaking into five programs: Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities, Diversity, Scholarly Communications, Arts and Cultural Heritage, and International Higher Education and Strategic Projects. After Vice President Philip Lewis retired in March 2015, Vice President Mariët Westermann assumed broad responsibility for overseeing the grantmaking programs in close consultation with President Earl Lewis.
The five programs are led by experts in the fields and sectors they serve. Although each program has distinctive purposes, goals, and ways of working, program staff across the Foundation collaborate closely in areas of key concern and interest for the humanities, arts, and higher education today. These cross-cutting foci include Digital Media, Diversity and Inclusion, International Collaboration, and Public Arts and Humanities. The Foundation has also long made modest Public Affairs grants in support of organizations that serve the philanthropic sector as well as important social organizations in New York; in 2015 these grants were notably aligned with the strategic plan.
In the following pages, each program describes the steps it took in 2015 to implement the strategic plan. Given the specific interests of the organizations we support and the syncopation of grantmaking timelines in relation to the Foundation’s overall goals, it can sometimes be difficult to discern the larger contours and strategic through-lines in the rich variety of grants made over the course of a year. Nevertheless, in 2015 several themes emerged.
First, the Foundation is keenly aware that the future of the humanities and the arts will depend on the inclusive participation of people of all backgrounds and perspectives. In keeping with this commitment, the programs have opened up eligibility for support to a more diverse set of institutions, whether arts organizations that excel at stimulating work at the intersection of the performing and visual arts; universities that support the intellectual aspirations of large numbers of students from historically underrepresented communities; or colleges that are not well endowed but serve diverse students well. Second, many grants sought to strengthen the role of the humanities and arts in public life, and increase access to their benefits to audiences well beyond academic campus walls. This work is not just a matter of making the work of faculty, curators, and artists available to the public, but also involves collaborating with local communities to draw out different types of knowledge that can be brought to bear on the humanities and the arts. Third, all programs sought to support organizations in their efforts to mobilize the power of technology to advance their missions, whether it be in audiovisual preservation or the training of graduate students to become the digital humanities faculty of the future. While this work has always been a focus of our Scholarly Communications program, it now extends fully across the grantmaking programs. Fourth, the Foundation continued to support the development of cutting-edge scholarship and art productions through fellowship programs and institutional grants, including initiatives that strengthen fragile arts ecosystems and protect artists at risk.
As we studied the Mellon Foundation’s history in the preparation and early implementation of the strategic plan, we saw that our grantmaking has never been static or set in stone. Over time, new grantmaking priorities emerged in response to urgent concerns or opportunities, from population control in the 1970s to democratic developments in South Africa in the 1990s, from a sustained graduate education initiative launched in 1998 to the even longer-running Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program focused on the diversification of the professoriate. What connects the Foundation’s grantmaking today to its earlier instantiations is an unwavering commitment to the humanities and the arts at the highest levels of accomplishment, and to the development of a new generation of scholars, curators, and artists drawn from the widest imaginable pool of human talent.
In 2015, the Foundation completed the consolidation of its formerly separate programs for research universities and liberal arts colleges into a single program for Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities (HESH), led by Vice Presidents Philip E. Lewis and Mariët Westermann, and Senior Program Officer Eugene M. Tobin. Following the retirement of our esteemed colleague Mr. Lewis, Ms. Westermann and Mr. Tobin welcomed Cristle Collins Judd into the higher education leadership group as a senior program officer. A distinguished musicologist and academic administrator, with deep ties and experience in undergraduate and graduate education, Ms. Judd’s appointment reflects the intention expressed in HESH’s strategic plan to respond to the intersecting interests of universities, four-year institutions, community colleges, and the communities they serve.
HESH devoted much of 2015 to dismantling artificial grantmaking boundaries between undergraduate and graduate education, identifying curricular, scholarly, and pedagogical synergies, and reaffirming the Foundation’s support for liberal arts education and humanities scholarship. Widespread concerns over rising costs, declining support for public universities, changing student demographics, the falling numbers of humanities majors, and rapid technological change represented a common starting point for HESH discussions and convenings. In conversations with presidents, chancellors, provosts, deans, faculty, and the leaders of scholarly institutes and professional associations, program staff responded to calls to deepen the Foundation’s commitment to field development, interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship, curricular innovation, and support for the public humanities. HESH initiatives included efforts to internationalize the curriculum, teach less commonly taught and taken languages, integrate digital tools and pedagogies into humanities teaching and scholarship, create an arts-based campus culture, inspire faculty and students to use humanities scholarship and pedagogy to address grand challenge questions, and promote the pursuit of diversity and inclusion in faculty recruitment and curricular and co-curricular activities.
Globalization and language learning represented a growing and intersecting influence on HESH grantmaking across curricular, scholarly, and pedagogical lines. In response to a bipartisan congressional request to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (AAAS), the Foundation made a grant of $220,000 to AAAS to commission a study designed to strengthen the nation’s capacities for international education and research as well as language learning. Responding to the challenges facing less commonly taught and under-enrolled languages, Five Colleges, Incorporated received a grant of $2 million to support shared staffing, pedagogical innovation, and videoconference-connected classrooms. A grant of $925,000 to Bowdoin College, in collaboration with Yale University, supported hybrid instruction in Russian language, literature, and culture. A $3 million grant to Columbia University helped launch an institute for ideas and imagination to support innovative thinking across disciplines and academic traditions associated with different continents, and a related $2.5 million grant renewed support for Columbia’s initiative to internationalize its longstanding core curriculum through strengthened connections with international partner institutions. The Great Lakes Colleges Association received a grant of $5.75 million to support a collaborative program to internationalize the curriculum through the development of shared courses. A grant of $3.47 million to the University of Virginia supported new areas of interdisciplinary research and teaching on the Global South. In collaboration with the University of the Western Cape, the University of Minnesota received a grant of $910,000 to support teaching, research, and outreach around interdisciplinary approaches to global issues. The University of Cape Town received a grant of $675,000 through HESH’s Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities initiative to launch an experimental master’s program in urbanism and the humanities.
In 2015, HESH’s support for digital pedagogies focused on efforts to scale up student and faculty training, build capacity for curricular and scholarly engagement, and reduce demands for duplicative infrastructure by creating inter-institutional and cross-sector collaborations. The University of Pennsylvania received a grant of $2 million to support a program of digital humanities training and research. A grant of $1.25 million enabled the University of Maryland at College Park to advance the use of digital technology in African American history and cultural studies. The Council of Independent Colleges received a grant of $1.38 million to develop online upper-level courses for humanities majors. A grant of $1 million to Georgia Tech supported the use of digital media and design research to strengthen undergraduate liberal and humanities education. Washington and Lee University and Union College each received a grant of $800,000 to support the integration of digital and online pedagogies across the curriculum. A first-time grant of $540,000 to the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges supported efforts to create interdisciplinary, team- taught digital seminars across the consortium’s 29 institutions. Harvard University received a renewal grant of $525,000 to expand a doctoral certificate program in critical media practice that enables students in the humanities and related social sciences to complement dissertation inquiry with multimedia research.
Under the rubric of grants that engage humanities scholars in grand challenge questions, Columbia University received an award of $1.975 million, as part of the Foundation’s Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities initiative, to support teaching and research on data visualization of urban conditions and their historical origins. Building on a decade of social investment in the blighted neighborhoods of Baltimore, Johns Hopkins University received a grant of $1.6 million, in collaboration with the Maryland Institute College of Art and the Maryland Film Festival, to support a social documentary and film arts training program for disadvantaged and formerly incarcerated youth. Growing public awareness of mass incarceration and the dramatic effect of higher education on reducing recidivism informed two grants to Columbia and Cornell Universities of $1 million each to support prison education and pathway programs for formerly incarcerated citizens. A grant to the University of Virginia of $750,000, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of the National Endowment for the Humanities, supported research and planning for a public symposium that will address salient public questions such as security and privacy, cultural and political polarization, climate change, and the legacy of war and conflict.
The arts are an integral component of the life of the mind and society, and higher education institutions are increasingly interested in bringing the arts into their students’ academic lives. In order to integrate the arts across curricula, colleges and universities are exploring how the exercise of curiosity and imagination, of craft and creation, relate to the practice of inquiry and the constitution of knowledge in arts and non-arts disciplines alike. In 2015, HESH grants focused on affording undergraduates a meaningful experience in artistic practice and opportunities for graduate students to pursue the formal study of art. Bard College received a grant of $2 million to support a new master’s-level program in music concentrated on curatorial, critical, and performance studies. A grant to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology of $1.5 million, part of the Foundation’s Arts on Campus initiative, provided renewed support for the Center for Art, Science, and Technology to integrate the design and making of art works into the pursuit and communication of research. The University of Michigan received a grant of $800,000 to support efforts by the Alliance for the Arts in Research Universities to disseminate models for effective integration of the arts across disciplinary boundaries. HESH continued to support programs that strengthen the historical and theoretical study of performance and the performing arts. Northwestern University received a final grant of $600,000, in collaboration with Brown and Stanford Universities, to train graduate students and early-career scholars whose work on dance studies contributes new insights to other humanities disciplines.
The barriers to student and faculty diversity require bold and complementary initiatives at the undergraduate and graduate school levels. HESH grantmaking included a number of grants designed to diversify the faculty ranks and meet the curricular and scholarly needs of students from underrepresented, disadvantaged, and first-generation college backgrounds. Renewed interest in pedagogical conversations among faculty and graduate students emerged as a significant theme in several grants. The Associated Colleges of the Midwest, in collaboration with the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, received a grant of $8.1 million to encourage students from underrepresented backgrounds to participate in graduate school preparation, and to appoint 30 emerging scholars whose backgrounds, life experiences, and goals enhance diversity to tenure-track positions at liberal arts colleges. The University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) received a grant of $5 million to enable faculty and graduate students from UCLA and faculty from Santa Monica College, a public two-year institution, to adopt pedagogic reforms that demonstrate the value of study in the humanities and prepare faculty for teaching in increasingly diverse classrooms. A $3.15 million grant to The Graduate Center of the City University of New York, in collaboration with LaGuardia Community College, will enable approximately 30 doctoral students in the humanities to work closely with master faculty to learn to teach in community college classrooms, while LaGuardia students will benefit from team-teaching, cultural enrichment, and a mentorship program designed to strengthen completion rates and diversify humanities enrollments. The University of Wisconsin at Madison received $2.5 million in support of major curricular initiatives designed to increase undergraduate humanities enrollments by focusing on cross-cutting themes and project-based courses that connect the humanities to community-based organizations. The University of California at Irvine received a grant of $2.73 million to broaden the intellectual preparation of doctoral students for teaching across the liberal arts curriculum. A pair of grants to Amherst and Wellesley Colleges of $1.5 million and $800,000, respectively, will strengthen the emphasis on diversity and inclusive pedagogy in residential liberal arts education and introduce faculty to the science of student learning. Bates College received a grant of $1 million to support faculty and curricular renewal and a diversity of experiences and viewpoints. A grant of $900,000 to Mount Holyoke College supported the development of cross-cutting curricular ideas and inclusive models of pedagogy in diverse classrooms.
HESH continued to support dissertation, postdoctoral, and established career fellowships that enable emerging, midcareer, and mature scholars to finish their work in a timely manner, strike out in new directions, and pursue collaborative and comparative research. The American Council of Learned Societies received a grant of $8.85 million to support dissertation completion fellowships and a grant of $2.24 million for the Burkhardt fellowships for recently tenured faculty at research universities and liberal arts colleges, respectively. A grant of $3 million to the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) supported transregional research by junior faculty and a $5 million challenge grant enabled SSRC to strengthen its endowment for core operating support.
The Foundation continued its annual investment in two longstanding fellowship and seminar programs. The New Directions program provides funding to scholars who are 6 to 12 years beyond completion of the doctorate and wish to prepare themselves for new research projects by pursuing formal study in fields other than those in which they hold their degrees. A total of $2.7 million was awarded to the 12 scholars whose projects were selected, representing a range of colleges and universities. The Sawyer Seminar program, which enables interdisciplinary groups of faculty from within and outside universities to conduct yearlong inquiries into the comparative study of cultures, made awards of $175,000 each to 11 institutions: Emory, Indiana, New York, Rutgers, Tufts, and Yale Universities, and the Universities of California at Irvine and at Santa Cruz, Illinois at Chicago, Iowa, and Southern California.
Humanities centers continued to play a prominent role in advancing scholarship, innovative pedagogy, and public engagement. Expanding career horizons for future PhDs was the primary motivation for a $4.2 million grant to the Illinois Program for Research in the Humanities at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in support of Humanities Without Walls, a consortium of humanities centers at 15 research universities that introduces predoctoral students to the intersections of scholarly knowledge and public engagement. The University of Cambridge and Brown University each received a grant of $2 million to endow interdisciplinary programs at the Centre for Research in the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities and postdoctoral fellowships at the Cogut Center for the Humanities, respectively. A grant of $2 million to the American University of Beirut supported the creation of a new center for the arts and humanities.
Support for libraries and research centers that serve the needs of undergraduates, graduate students, and faculty remain at the heart of the Foundation’s support for higher education. The Appalachian College Association received a grant of $3 million to endow core operations of the Bowen Central Library of Appalachia. A grant of $1.16 million to the Newberry Library supported the integration of research centers, library services, and public programs, and Hampshire College was awarded a grant of $1.2 million to support a learning commons in the Harold F. Johnson Library.
The Diversity Program is led by Armando Bengochea, who serves as program officer and director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship (MMUF) program, with the partnership of Lee Bynum, program associate and associate director of MMUF. Following the award of a planning grant and intensive consultations with partnering universities, the Diversity program made a $5.1 million grant to the Center for Minority Serving Institutions at the University of Pennsylvania to implement a program that will prepare undergraduate students from three Hispanic-Serving Institutions (institutions of higher education whose enrollment of full-time undergraduates is at least 25 percent Hispanic) to enter doctoral programs in the humanities and related fields. The program will select students from Florida International University, the University of Texas at El Paso, and California State University, Northridge and prepare them to be successful applicants for graduate study while providing them with particular exposure to PhD programs and graduate school networks at five partnering research universities: New York and Northwestern Universities, and the Universities of Pennsylvania and of California at Berkeley and at Davis. Faculty members and key staff from all eight participating universities will spend the first year of the grant period working together to design program elements. This grant will help to realize the Foundation’s aim, expressed in its strategic plan, of preparing the expanding US population of Latino/a college students to help diversify the American humanities professoriate.
With the related goal of increasing Latino/a participation in the MMUF program from its present level of 29 percent, the Diversity program added five new members in 2014 and 2015: the Claremont Colleges consortium and the Universities of California at Riverside, New Mexico, Puerto Rico at Río Piedras, and Texas at Austin. MMUF continues to make significant progress toward its goal of diversifying faculties in the United States and South Africa. As of March 2016, 642 MMUF fellows have earned PhDs; of those, 107 fellows have received tenure as college and university faculty, 227 are presently in tenure-track positions, and another 132 hold positions as visiting professors, lecturers, or postdoctoral fellows. The renewal in 2015 of a combined grant to the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation continues the Foundation’s longstanding support both to late-stage MMUF graduate students who are completing their dissertations and to early-career MMUF PhDs and other underrepresented scholars who would benefit from six-month or full-year sabbaticals to complete research projects.
In 2015 the Diversity program provided direct support to an expanded number of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and Tribal Colleges and Universities (TCUs). Grants were made to nine HBCUs, including Bennett College, to support the creation of a leadership development institute; Claflin University, to support faculty development activities that would deepen student engagement in the humanities and related disciplines; Clark Atlanta University, to support the implementation of a program that would strengthen undergraduate research skills as part of comprehensive curricular reform; Hampton University, to support a new Center for Teaching and Learning in the Humanities; Howard University, to support activities leading to the establishment of a new Office of Faculty Development; Morgan State University, to support the establishment of a Humanities and Social Sciences Institute; Tougaloo College, to renew support for the internationalization of the college’s curriculum and for its Honors Program; and Tuskegee University, to support the development of undergraduate majors in music and the visual arts.
Several additional Diversity grants promoted student and faculty development opportunities in Native American and Alaska Native communities. These included renewed support for a dissertation completion fellowship at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks for Native Alaskan scholars and others committed to researching indigenous Alaskan history and culture and a renewal grant to the American Indian College Fund to support graduate degree completion by TCU faculty. A new grant to Lawrence University in partnership with the nonprofit organization College Horizons will support summer academic writing seminars held on the campuses of Lawrence University and Amherst College, aimed at strengthening the academic preparation of college-bound Native American students. The grant to Lawrence University and College Horizons also represents the Diversity program’s first response to the Foundation’s strategic plan objective of collaborating with nonprofit organizations that have been particularly successful in preparing students from underrepresented communities for the transition from high school to college.
In addition, a grant was made to ensure continuation of the Moore Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program (MURAP) at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC Chapel Hill). MURAP is a longstanding, research-intensive summer program that brings together underrepresented and other students who aspire to faculty careers in the academy. This grant, enhanced by ongoing funding commitments from UNC Chapel Hill, will extend the life of this program for another decade. Two other grants supported dissertation-completion and postdoctoral fellowships in Latino studies at the School for Advanced Research in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and a faculty development and diversity initiative at Queens College.
In 2015, the Scholarly Communications (SC) program was led by Senior Program Officer Donald J. Waters and Program Officer Helen Cullyer. Under the Foundation’s strategic plan, SC is focused on three major areas of emphasis: scholarly publishing, access and library services, and preservation. The strategic priorities in each of these areas are: (a) a multi-pronged program to develop infrastructure and business models for the production and dissemination of high-quality web-based scholarly publications in the humanities; (b) initiatives that develop capacity within libraries, universities, and other cultural institutions so that they can make their collections and metadata broadly available and usable on the web; and (c) funding that accelerates the preservation of the scholarly and cultural record in all its forms, with particular emphasis on audiovisual media and web-based resources.
In these three areas, SC launched four new grantmaking initiatives in 2015. First, SC collaborated with the National Endowment for the Humanities to co-fund the first round of the Humanities Open Book competition, which supports not-for-profit presses and other organizations seeking to digitize out-of-print humanities titles and disseminate them under open access licenses. The Foundation made six awards including one to Appalachian State University to digitize a series of books in Appalachian studies and another to the University of Florida for its press to digitize titles related to Florida and the Caribbean. Second, to help make digital resources in the humanities more accessible and useful to scholars and the public, the Council on Library and Information Resources administered the first Digitizing Hidden Collections competition and awarded $4 million to 18 libraries and archives that proposed to digitize rare audiovisual materials, photographs, and archives. Third, the American Council of Learned Societies received funds to support the first round of a new competition, Digital Extension Grants, designed to extend the reach of existing digital humanities projects to new users and contributors. Finally, SC initiated a program focused on the preservation of fragile audio and audiovisual analog materials with grants to the Northeast Document Conservation Center for development of a new audio preservation center and to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill for the library to reengineer digitization procedures for its Southern Folklife Collection.
In addition to launching new initiatives, SC began to explore an area of emerging priority. While the Foundation seeks to promote the broadest possible access to resources by funding several open access and open data initiatives, program staff recognize that at the heart of many scholarly pursuits are materials that are restricted for use for very good reasons, including respect for complex intellectual property rights; the appreciation of privacy, security, and confidentiality; and sensitivity to cultural significance. Accordingly, to investigate possible mechanisms for providing secure online access to restricted content, SC provided support to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for secure computational access to materials under copyright restrictions in the HathiTrust. The University of Texas at Austin received funds for the preservation and use of historical records from a racially segregated psychiatric hospital that are subject to legal and ethical restrictions. In addition, with Foundation funds, Washington State University is planning for the enhancement of Mukurtu, a platform for the collaborative curation of Native American digitized cultural heritage collections that will provide restricted access to certain items in accordance with the wishes of tribes.
Two grants in the area of preservation will also touch on content that cannot be openly accessible for privacy reasons. Rhizome Communications received a grant to develop webrecorder.io, a tool for archiving websites including password-protected content. Meanwhile Washington University in St. Louis received funds to support a project to develop tools for archiving and scholarly use of social media content. Both projects will be developing robust policies to protect user privacy while facilitating the preservation of 21st-century, web-based content as a part of the historical and cultural record.
During 2015, SC also continued to support previously launched initiatives. In its digital monograph publishing program, SC made four grants that resulted from a request for proposals issued to US university presses in 2014: the University of Minnesota received funds to create a platform for the publication of scholarly monographs in several iterative versions; the University of Michigan is developing a Hydra-based system for the publication of long-form scholarly works that would be integrated with primary sources; New York University is constructing a web-based platform for reading open access books; and Johns Hopkins University received a grant to plan a mechanism for the distribution of open access monographs. In addition, SC made grants to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and the University of Connecticut to provide improved institutional support for scholars who are developing and aiming to publish digitally based research projects. The Association of American University Presses was awarded a planning grant for UPScope, a proposed discovery and marketing platform for university press books. To help monitor SC’s existing grants and guide future grantmaking in digital monograph publishing, SC awarded funds to Simon Fraser University for John Maxwell, professor of publishing, to lead a formative evaluation of this initiative.
In its ongoing effort to provide support for the development of core digital infrastructure in libraries, archives, and museums, SC made a grant to Duke University for the further development of the Open Library Environment, an open source, integrated library system. The Smithsonian Institution received funds to support the efforts of a consortium of 13 museums to convert a large corpus of existing collections data to linked open data formats suitable for discovery and reuse on the web. The consortium will also experiment with implementing the Foundation-funded International Image Interoperability Framework (IIIF), which allows users to study images from different collections using tools that are based on standardized protocols. The University of Cambridge received funds to plan to implement IIIF in its digital image library of over 250,000 items. The Medici Archive Project, Inc. (MAP) is also implementing IIIF within its digital platform and in a new tool that will allow users to contribute their own digital images to the surrogates of archival documents already made available by MAP.
In 2015 the Arts and Cultural Heritage (ACH) program was led by Vice President Mariët Westermann and Program Officers Susan Feder and Alison Gilchrest, with assistance from Katie Steger and Holly Harrison. Senior Program Officer Ella Baff, the longtime executive and artistic director of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, joined the Foundation in October, thereby completing the reorganization of the Foundation’s two former program areas in Performing Arts and Art History, Conservation, and Museums into a single program for Arts and Cultural Heritage. The new configuration allows for a broader range of grants supporting innovative scholarship and practice at the intersection of the performing and visual arts, while continuing to provide support specific to art museums and performing arts organizations. Under the Foundation’s strategic plan adopted in the fall of 2014, ACH has reaffirmed its commitment to nurturing exceptional scholarship, conservation practices, and creative accomplishment as well as a diverse and sustainable arts ecosystem.
ACH grantmaking in 2015 began to pursue strategic goals that were more difficult to entertain when the Foundation’s arts programs were separate. The program’s intention to reinforce the infrastructure for art and artists at risk resulted in two significant new initiatives aimed at improving the health, welfare, and security of artists as well as critical elements in the infrastructure of American arts organizations. First, the Institute of International Education received a $2.785 million grant to establish the Artist Protection Fund, an initiative that offers safe haven to artists around the world who find themselves at risk of persecution or physical harm. Second, complementary grants totaling just over $5 million to the Nonprofit Finance Fund and National Performance Network (NPN) will support implementation of a financial health initiative for small and midsized arts organizations. Funds will enable testing and refinement of capacity-building and capital deployment methods that could be replicated across the sector, and directly strengthen two important cohorts of arts organizations: regional art conservation centers and art presenters that are NPN partners.
The Foundation’s arts programs have historically responded in an ad hoc fashion to natural and man-made disasters such as 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, and Superstorm Sandy. ACH has now shifted emphasis to developing resources for emergency preparedness in the arts sector. LYRASIS received funds to design a collaborative emergency preparedness initiative through which performing arts organizations will partner with regional conservation centers for ongoing training in disaster readiness and response. The Foundation of the American Institute for the Conservation of Artistic and Historic Works (FAIC) received a grant to address the unexpected closure of Heritage Preservation (HP). FAIC will be able to retain key HP staff and maintain vital capacity to create, manage, and support disaster readiness and emergency response programs in the cultural heritage sector. Despite growing awareness of the need for emergency preparedness among arts leaders, some measure of response will inevitably be called for: a program-related investment is allowing the Martha Graham Dance Company to expedite the replacement of sets, costumes, and artifacts ruined in the aftermath of the Sandy storm while it awaits reimbursement from the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
As in past years, several grants aimed to reinforce underdeveloped or threatened areas of cultural heritage preservation, enabling institutions to assume leadership roles in addressing critical gaps in knowledge, capacity, and training. These grants reflect ongoing efforts to strengthen infrastructure and nurture the pipeline of new expertise in under-resourced fields or regions such as African art (Virginia Museum of Fine Arts); indigenous and Native American arts (University of Virginia and Peabody Essex Museum); Chinese painting conservation (the Smithsonian Freer-Sackler, Cleveland Museum of Art, and Seattle Art Museum); Asian art (Brooklyn Museum and Tate); and the study and conservation of contemporary art (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, and New York University). Grants to the Universities of Pretoria and Cape Town will continue to grow the infrastructure for the study and care of cultural heritage in South Africa. Joint grants to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg will continue a robust partnership with the Ministry of Culture of the Government of India for the training of Indian conservators. Recognizing the urgency of the preservation of audiovisual (AV) artifacts for dance companies, where film is sometimes the only permanent record, the Foundation awarded grants for AV preservation to Discalced (Mark Morris Dance Company) and Pick Up Performance Company (David Gordon).
Some of the program’s largest grants went to initiatives that address the urgent need for greater diversity and inclusion in the arts. A $10 million grant to the Smithsonian Institution will help inaugurate the National Museum of African American History and Culture by providing endowment for the directorship and core curatorial functions of the only national museum dedicated exclusively to the documentation, study, and public presentation of black history, culture, and art in the United States. The museum will uncover and celebrate African American accomplishments while remediating the country’s insufficient reckoning with the legacies of its foundational dependence on the enslavement of African Americans. A $2.5 million grant to the School of American Ballet, the preeminent ballet training academy in the United States, will provide endowment funds for the school’s efforts to diversify the pipeline of ballet dancers and support the training of regional ballet teachers. This grant and support for the Accelerando program at the Nashville Symphony indicate the Foundation’s new interest in supporting the pre-professional training of young dancers and instrumentalists at the K-12 level.
Three other notable grants supported new collaborative programs between arts organizations and institutions of higher education designed to serve as portals of opportunity for students from historically underrepresented communities: the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra (CSO) and the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, where cohorts of graduate-level string players will receive coaching and mentorship from CSO musicians and opportunities to perform regularly with the orchestra; the American Folk Art Museum and LaGuardia Community College, which will create a pilot series of yearlong internships that would expose students to hands-on museum work; and the San Antonio Museum of Art, which intends to recruit two postdoctoral scholars from underrepresented communities who will be mentored into curatorial careers over the course of a two-year immersive fellowship.
First-time support for the spoken word organization Youth Speaks, the First Peoples Fund, and American Ballet Theater’s Project Plié internship program will create training and professional development pipelines for artists from historically underrepresented communities, while a grant to the Dallas Opera supports a program to increase opportunities for women conductors. Renewed support for the American Composers Orchestra will strengthen its recruitment of composers who are female or who come from historically underrepresented communities into their developmental programs. Three performing arts service organizations—Theatre Communications Group, Dance/USA, and Dance/NYC—received funding for diversity initiatives in theater and dance. Oregon Shakespeare Festival received a grant through which artEquity will pilot a facilitator training institute on cultural equity issues, designed for theater practitioners.
The ACH program increased its support for ambitious artistic projects that illuminate critical social and political issues. With Foundation funds, development of Anna Deavere Smith’s School to Prison Pipeline Project will be undertaken in the rural South, while the Oregon Shakespeare Festival will use renewed funding to complete the commissioning of the American Revolutions: The United States History Cycle, a collaboration with a diverse group of playwrights and regional theaters to create plays on topics of social and political significance. Two other grants provide opportunities for enhanced community engagement. Support for Lincoln Center’s Boro-Linc initiative will bring free programs of the center’s resident companies to the New York City boroughs in partnership with community centers. The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) received a grant to develop an international, object-driven research institute on its new campus in East London that would also make its collections and expertise more accessible to a highly diverse and rapidly growing segment of the city’s population. The International Center of Photography received support to launch the Center for Visual Culture, a public humanities forum that intends to use photojournalism and other socially concerned images to prompt dialogue with scholarly and public audiences. A renewal grant to Colonial Williamsburg for its curatorial internships will provide for training in research as well as interpretation for museum audiences.
In addition to Lincoln Center and the V&A, a number of other capacious cultural institutions sought support that would enable them to direct attention outward to communities they serve. With Foundation grants, the Metropolitan Museum of Art will provide scientific research support to a network of New York City partner museums that have little access to scientific resources; the University of Maryland, Baltimore County will lead a Baltimore-based consortium dedicated to mentoring diverse cohorts of undergraduate students in the science associated with art conservation; the Guggenheim will endow two positions, including the directorship of engagement for conservation and collections; the Lyric Opera of Chicago will launch Chicago Voices, a program of new community-created music-theater pieces implemented in partnership with the Chicago Public Library; and the Michigan Opera Theater will bring contemporary chamber operas to venues in surrounding communities.
A strategic initiative launched in 2014, designed to strengthen the zone where performance, new media, installation art, and community participation meet, continued with a grant to the Contemporary Arts Center in New Orleans, to support the development and presentation of new media art inspired by the American South as well as collaborative opportunities for regional presenters to gain expertise in new modes of presenting. The University of Washington received support for artist residencies and collaborative research opportunities with faculty, which are intended to foster interdisciplinary work within the arts and across the arts and humanities.
ACH sustained commitments to key programs with renewal grants to the New England Foundation for the Arts for the National Dance Project; the New York Theater Program (supporting 41 theaters of wide-ranging scope in New York City); the National Playwright Residency Program (providing three years of salary and benefits to resident playwrights at nine theaters); the Association of Performing Arts Presenters for international travel subsidies; and grants for developmental and technical residencies at dance presenters, orchestras, and opera companies, with the intent to provide more time and resources to artists at the pre-performance stage of new work. A grant to the Cultural Data Project, a platform that gathers standardized, longitudinal data on the finances, operations, and demographics of nonprofit arts organizations, would help facilitate assessment of the sector’s assets, impact, and needs.
In 2015, the International Higher Education and Strategic Projects (IHESP) program continued to be led by Program Director Saleem Badat with the able assistance of Program Associate Doreen Tinajero. Building on the Foundation’s longstanding support of higher education in South Africa, the program focuses on countries and regions where the Foundation’s commitment to the humanities, the arts, and higher education could contribute to supporting fragile democracies and create favorable conditions for their participation in global networks of research and culture. Its purpose is to help build durable universities and to provide professional and financial resources in support of teaching, learning, scholarship, and effective scholarly communication. The IHESP program encourages its grantees to find ways to share the benefits of this work with the public at large. From time to time the Foundation’s other programs also make grants that are international in character, particularly when such support is critical to advancing international collaboration in humanities research, art conservation, and the development of scholarly communications.
Across all grantmaking programs, the Foundation in 2015 allocated approximately $28 million to international grantmaking and support for international collaborations. Of this total, the IHESP program made 23 grants totaling $11.38 million to seven South African universities, the Cape Higher Education Consortium, and the Cape Philharmonic Orchestra. A major grant of $3.84 million supported a collaborative program of Rhodes and Stellenbosch Universities and the Universities of Cape Town (UCT), Pretoria, the Free State, the Western Cape (UWC), and the Witwatersrand (Wits) that has the aim of accelerating the development of a Black South African professoriate. Other significant grants included $1.62 million to UCT to support a partnership between South African and other African universities for a program on the movement of music and poetry between Asia and Africa between 600 and 1500 AD; and $768,000 to Wits to pilot a new model of doctoral education.
Several other Foundation programs made grants in South Africa. The Higher Education and Scholarship in the Humanities (HESH) program made grants in support of a new master’s program in urbanism in the Global South at UCT and a partnership between the University of Minnesota and UWC. The Arts and Cultural Heritage (ACH) program renewed support for an honors program in curatorship at UCT and provided a planning grant for a master’s program in art conservation at the University of Pretoria. The Diversity program renewed grants for the participation of UCT and UWC in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship program.
Beyond South Africa, the HESH program awarded $3.39 million in support to the University of Cambridge, the American University of Paris, and McGill University in Montreal. The ACH program’s support of institutions in Europe—the University of Oxford, Stiftung Museum Kunstpalast, Stichting Restauratie Atelier Limburg (SRAL), The Tate Gallery, and the Victoria and Albert Museum—totaled $5.75 million; the grants to SRAL and Tate support international collaborations with conservators and scholars in India and East and Southeast Asia. The Scholarly Communications program made 12 grants totaling $4.71 million to the Universities of Calgary, Cambridge, Lancaster, Oxford, St Andrews, and Toronto; Heidelberg, Leipzig, and Simon Fraser Universities; Birkbeck College; and the Austrian National Library.
In 2015, the Foundation’s Public Affairs grantmaking and Contributions continued to be overseen by Vice President, General Counsel and Secretary Michele S. Warman. Public Affairs grantmaking and Contributions support projects aligned with the Foundation’s strategic priorities that fall outside the focus of the Foundation’s five main program areas. Four Public Affairs grants totaling $550,000 supported ambitious special projects and targeted research aligned with the Foundation’s goal of promoting diversity and inclusion. Two grants supported projects with the potential to inform the public discussion regarding race relations. Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association, Inc. received funds to produce Race Matters, a series of television broadcasts that explore the sources of the racial divide and engage the broader community in identifying new ways to address racial inequality. New York Public Radio received a grant to support The Year of Talking Honestly, a project exploring diversity and bias in New York City. In addition, a grant to the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. supported amicus brief coordination that showcases the value of diversity in higher education, and a grant to the Legal Services Corporation sought to increase equal access to civil justice by involving public librarians in helping low-income patrons access legal information. The majority of the Foundation’s six Contributions, totaling $295,000, were directed to organizations supporting an engaged and inclusive philanthropic sector. Contributions to organizations such as Foundation Center and GuideStar USA, Inc. supported information resources crucial for the field, while a contribution to Independent Sector supported its updated Principles for Good Governance and Ethical Practice, a guide to effective philanthropy.