$4 Million From Ford, Mellon, and Alice Walton Fund Goes to Promote Diversity on Museum Boards

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

$4 Million From Ford, Mellon, and Alice Walton Fund Goes to Promote Diversity on Museum Boards

The last museum-board leadership survey conducted by the American Alliance of Museums uncovered a staggering statistic: About 46 percent of American museums have all-white boards of directors.

But the alliance hopes that figure will change for the better soon. Over the next three years, the alliance will receive $4 million to bolster board diversity in a push to make museums more accessible and inclusive. The Ford, Andrew W. Mellon, and Alice L. Walton foundations joined forces to award the grant.

In the more than 20 years that museums talked about the importance of diversity and inclusion, the number of people of color serving on boards has barely budged, says Laura Lott, the alliance’s chief executive. She says that’s a real problem.

"The tone of an institution, the priorities for each museum, the budgets, they’re all established at the board level," she says. "Without that strong understanding and solid commitment by the board, this kind of work ends up being nice to have instead of need to have."

The grant is designed so that the alliance can work closely with a group of 50 museums to improve diversity and inclusion at their institutions and at the same time develop

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