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African American Arts Alliance Receives Salary Support

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Walder Foundation have awarded AAAA funds to support an executive director.

CHICAGO: The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation and the Walder Foundation have awarded the African American Arts Alliance (AAAA) $240,000 to provide salary support for its first executive director. The funding will be distributed over three years, with the possibility of a two-year extension. The AAAA executive committee will implement the search, interview candidates, and select the person to fulfill the new position.

“We are so grateful to the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelly Foundation and the Walder Foundation for this transformative support,” said board chair Jackie Taylor in a statement. “Indeed, this funding will have a historical impact within the Black arts community, giving us the foundation that we need to strengthen and grow.”

Since its founding in 1997, AAAA has grown from 15 members to its present membership of 186 individual artists and arts organizations in the disciplines of dance, music, theatre, film, visual arts, literary arts, and technical arts in Chicago. For its 23-year history, the organization’s work and daily operations have been carried out by its volunteer board of directors and two part-time staffers. The new executive director will perform the day-to-day business operations, implement programming and marketing, fundraise, and meet the needs of the membership.

AAAA annually produces four organizational developmental workshops and two town hall meetings to ascertain the needs of the membership. The organization also produces Black Arts Month, a month-long series of arts activities produced by the membership and promoted by the Alliance, as well as the Black Excellence Awards, the Alliance Mentoring Program, and the Martin Luther King Annual Celebration.

“The African American Arts Alliance has been a vital service organization for Black artists in Chicago,” said Elizabeth Walder, president and executive director of the Walder Foundation, in a statement. “We commend the hard work of its volunteer board and part-time staff who have built the Alliance into the organization it is today. We are pleased to support the Alliance with this new position so they can expand and strengthen the support of their membership.”

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