ASC’s Commitment to Equity Drives FY21 Investments

Categories: News & Media

Equity supplement and formula used to increase transparency and support for diverse organizations


CHARLOTTE, N.C. (July 1, 2020) – The Arts & Science Council (ASC), the chief advocate, resource hub and steward of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s cultural community, demonstrates its commitment to cultural equity through its first round of investments for FY21 totaling $4.3 million. ASC is also instituting an equity supplement to further support organizations whose primary intentions, practices and mission are by, for and about African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American (ALAANA) artists, cultures and communities. The grants provide unrestricted dollars for the general administration, operations and programs of 37 arts, science and history organizations.

For the first time, ASC used a formula to improve objectivity and transparency in awarding operating grants to organizations ranging from Discovery Place and Mint Museum to JazzArts Charlotte and Gay Men’s Chorus of Charlotte and others. The formula considers the maximum eligible grant (based on each organization’s budget size), the scores an organization received in the panel review process and total funding available.

“The result is a more equitable allocation model based on a calculation of each organization’s budget size and eligibility,” said ASC President Jeep Bryant. “It also allows ASC to sustain equitable support despite fluctuations in available funding.”

The new approach resulted in:

  • 60 percent increase in the overall allocation for organizations with an annual budget of $300,000 or less.
  • 30 percent increase in the overall allocation for organizations with an annual budget of $300,000 to $1 million.
  • 33 percent decrease in the overall allocation for organizations with an annual budget of $1 million or more.
  • 33 percent increase in funding for ALAANA organizations over what would have been awarded prior to the equity supplement.

The organizations receiving the supplemental equity funding are A Sign of the Times of the Carolinas, Brand New Sheriff Productions, The Carolinas Latin Dance Company, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture at Levine Center for the Arts, JazzArts Charlotte and Que-OS. ASC is also adding five organizations to its Operating Support portfolio: Brand New Sheriff Productions, Charlotte Lit, Goodyear Arts, Kinetic Works and Que-OS.

“ASC is committed to supporting the cultural sector, improving equity overall and specifically extending funding to organizations who have traditionally been underfunded,” said Bryant. “As Angelique Power, former board chair of Grantmakers in the Arts reminds us, ‘Racial equity is about shifting power and resources. It involves dismantling AND rebuilding systems.’ Despite declining revenue, we are in the process of dismantling and rebuilding in a way that advances our values of cultural equity. This is one small step in that process.”

In June 2019, ASC’s Board of Directors approved a Cultural Equity Statement that pledged to empower an inclusive and equitable community, support the role of all arts, science and history providers in achieving cultural equity and embed a commitment to cultural equity in all ASC investments, governance and administrative policies and practices. The adoption of the statement formalized work ASC has been conducting in partnership with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg community for many years, while acknowledging that much more remains to be done in order to ensure that underinvested and underrepresented communities can compete equitably for artist commissions, grants and other financial investments, and that resources are distributed in a way that aligns with the realities of Charlotte-Mecklenburg’s diverse population.

“ASC recognizes cultural equity is critical to the long-term viability of the arts and cultural sector,” said ASC Board Chair Susan Patterson. “Systemic, inequitable access to opportunity has led to generations of unjust outcomes for those who have been historically marginalized in mainstream arts and cultural funding, discourse, leadership and resource allocation.”

ASC’s panel review process leverages the expertise of local and regional accounting and finance professionals that reviewed financial performance, and national arts and cultural practitioners that reviewed programming to ensure excellence, relevance and sustainability.

The $4.3 million for Operating Support grants represent a decrease of 26 percent overall from FY20. The Operating Support grants are supported through ASC’s Annual Fund Drive, City of Charlotte, Mecklenburg County and ASC Endowment funds. ASC also received generous corporate and foundation support from Wells Fargo, Bank of America, The C.D. Spangler Foundation & National Gypsum, and Truist for this year’s campaign. ASC appreciates the long-standing support of the 34 companies that conducted workplace campaigns over the past year. Special recognition goes to the employees at Atrium Health, Duke Energy, Bank of America, Wells Fargo and Robinson Bradshaw, whose campaigns were the five largest by dollars raised.

View ASC’s first round of investments for FY21. Additional investments for artists and community programs will be made throughout the year.

ASC is the chief advocate, resource hub and steward for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region’s cultural community. Its core functions include advocacy, cultural education programs, cultural planning, fundraising, grant making, public art and workshops and trainings for the cultural community. ASC works to ensure Culture For All by combining resources from local and state government with those of the private sector to maximize community impact throughout the cultural sector.

ASC’s mission is to ensure access to an excellent, relevant, and sustainable cultural community for the Charlotte-Mecklenburg region. Stay up to date on ASC news and happenings at and on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.



Krista Terrell, APR
Vice President, Marketing & Communications

Bernie Petit
Communications Manager