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Message from the Chair - December 2023

Friday, December 1, 2023

I want to share a brief update on recent developments at the Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH) and our steadfast commitment to equitable grant-making practices. 

Over the past year, CAH has seen notable budget growth, enabling us to expand community initiatives and grant-making efforts. Despite pandemic challenges, we provided emergency relief grants, reinforcing our dedication to supporting the arts during crises. 

Our commitment to fostering the arts is reflected in a substantial increase in awards to individual artists and humanities practitioners by 48%, and to non-profit organizations by 15% from October 2022 to October 2023. This highlights our successful engagement with grantees and our mission to bring the transformative power of the arts to every Ward and neighborhood in the District. 

However, fiscal challenges lie ahead due to the Mayor's cap on dedicated tax revenue growth and Council-led changes to the GOS funding model. Despite this, our dedication to equity remains unwavering. In FY2025, we aim to target historically underserved communities through increased outreach and community engagement. 

To overcome barriers faced by potential grantees, we initiated the Grantee Application Assistance Program (G.A.A.P.) in FY2023. G.A.A.P. utilizes past applicants and grantees as ambassadors, assisting grant managers in outreach, community engagement, and guiding new applicants through the grant application process. 

Looking forward, we plan to invest in additional resources, grant management specialists, and a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer to fortify CAH's commitment to advancing equitable grant-making practices in the arts and humanities. 

Thank you for your ongoing support as we navigate these challenges and work towards more inclusive and vibrant arts and humanities communities here in the District. 

Reggie Van Lee
Chairperson, DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities