With the decline of federal arts funding, artist-endowed foundations may step in

Just days into Donald J. Trump’s first month in office, members of the president’s transition team have scheduled dramatic budget cuts to federal spending including the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. The elimination of the NEA, which only makes up 0.003 percent of the federal budget, will leave arts organizations throughout the country without funding for future exhibitions and programs.

However, the recent growth in artist-endowed foundations may serve to replace the loss of federal funding threatened by the new administration. In fact, the educational and policy-making think tank the Aspen Institute issued a report documenting the increasing role of artist-endowed foundations in grantmaking and charitable disbursements. According to their report, there are now 363 operating artist-endowed foundations, reporting $3.48 billion in total assets (in 2010), with approximately two-thirds of these foundations formed between 1991 and 2010.

On November 7, 2016, Alla Efimova participated in the Aspen Institute’s Artist-Endowed Foundation Leadership Forum, at which senior leaders of 60 artist-endowed foundations gathered in New York City for the second annual Artist-Endowed Foundation Leadership Forum. The forum was an invitational symposium at which foundation leaders discussed key issues and innovations in the fields of art stewardship and cultural philanthropy. As a growing field of philanthropy, artist-endowed foundations might represent a powerful, new force in grantmaking to counter the effects of the Trump administration.