National Performance Network > News > Leveraging a Network for Equity (LANE): A New NPN/VAN Program

Leveraging a Network for Equity (LANE): A New NPN/VAN Program

Posted: Wednesday, March 25th, 2015 at 3:36 pm in News

by Sage Crump
LANE Project Manager

Over the course of many years, NPN/VAN staff and board have observed that long-term organizational stability has been a consistent struggle for some NPN/VAN Partners, especially organizations of color, geographically isolated and/or small to mid-sized community-based groups. Additionally over the past decade, the NPN/VAN Network has lost over ten organizations of color. Many organizations are suffering from multiple years of struggling to make-do with insufficient resources, which speaks to a larger systemic problem.

Leveraging a Network for Equity is a collaborative national capitalization program between the National Performance Network/Visual Artists Network and the Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF®). LANE will deliver methodology and resources to address the sustainability challenges faced by organizations of color, geographically isolated, and/or small to mid-size community-based groups. Unlike similar efforts in the past that focused on large arts institutions, LANE focuses on organizations that are most vulnerable to shifts in the field that can have devastating consequences.

As an existing network with a focus on relationship building, NPN/VAN is uniquely positioned to tackle the issue of systemic financial inequalities within the arts and cultural infrastructure of the U.S. For more than 30 years, NFF® has helped nonprofit organizations connect “money to mission.” This partnership will provide education, financial advice, and capital that is relevant to this sector and will enable critical arts organizations to achieve their missions. NPN/VAN and NFF® have initiated a pilot capitalization project that moves beyond a conversation about the importance of equity into one of strategy and action.

LANE is an eight-year initiative that builds the financial capacity of the organizations involved in four ways. LANE supports cohorts of organizations with diagnostics, financial education, recovery, and risk capital. The current diagnosis, education and planning stages are funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This initiative is conceptualized to allow for careful planning, continuous learning and iterative evaluation. NPN/VAN is excited about this partnership and its potential for the Network and the field.

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