The second year and cycle of Black Art Futures Fund sought to answer a question: can we give more in 2019 than we made possible in 2018? We did.

Because of our community of volunteers, we raised and granted $21,000 to small Black arts organizations across the country. We gained momentum—more leadership in the form of an inaugural Advisory Board, more volunteers who helped select grantees and showed up for post-award support learning calls, those who answered the call to raise funds for our third cycle in 2020, and brought along a few more donors as well.

The beauty of it all? Individuals made it possible. You gave year over year—and more. You brought your friends into the journey. You spread the word that we can all secure the future that is needed, what I like to call: The Blackest Artistic Future Possible.

Black Art Futures Fund believes that future starts with small arts, and especially small Black arts organizations.

In these pages we highlight the groups who have received funding, but so many more are worthy.

In 2020, we hope to do even more. 2020 will find us with so much to weigh, so many imperatives will volley for our already stretched resources: emotional energy, time, ability, finances, etc. When I think about all of what we are up against, I fret first, and then ask myself what all of this is for: what will the sum of all of it mean if we get to the other side, and beauty and meaning-making—art—don’t make it there with us?

Let’s secure the future for Black arts, together.

In solidarity,

DéLana R.A. Dameron, Founder


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As is no surprise, producing a robust concert and educational series takes a team of support. For 6 seasons, Castle of our Skins has operated as a volunteer-run organization with an administrative ”team” of two carrying out the work of too many. With the Black Arts Future Fund grant, we are working hard to invest in our organizational growth and build a team of compensated administrators to help support the quality programming we provide. This season, we have hired our first part-time employee, are engaging in our first ever strategic plan, and actively cultivating relationships to help build a base of individual donors. Both the funds and the professional development training the Black Arts Future Fund provides have been hugely helpful and invaluable in this pivotal growing period for Castle of our Skins.


The grant funds from Black Art Future Funds are being used towards the needed resources of positions in our office. The additional funds allowed us to contract with the University of San Francisco’s work study program and employ two additional long-term interns in our office this year. The employees role is to administer to our 450 season subscribers and handle all matters to the theatre engagement experience between patron and the company.


Red Olive and BAFF intentionally aim to cultivate a creative ecosystem that makes space for administrators, donors, artists, and other supporters to participate in the reimagining of philanthropy. This year, we hosted a series of monthly gatherings that embodied this ethos as we collaborated with partners throughout New York City. Our September Socialize & Sip held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music brought together art administrators of color from many organizations within the five boroughs and our Black Philanthropy Month forum, co-hosted with the Brooklyn Community Foundation, provided public space to honor, reflect upon, and extend the Black philanthropic tradition. BAFF Board Members, Ope Bukola and Ed Brockhoff, organized intimate meals in Brooklyn and Harlem during the year at which Red Olive/BAFF community in the northeast met and celebrated one another. Together, these events raised more than $15,000 toward our 2020 grantmaking. We were also thrilled to introduce ourselves to the national philanthropic community at this year’s Grantmakers in the Arts Conference in Denver, Colorado. Our Beloved Community: Collaborative Grant Making featured a dynamic conversation between Red Olive principle DeLana R.A. Dameron, viBe Theatre Experience Executive Director Toya Lillard, and Board Member Jessica Lynne.