The Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) is the recipient of a one-time, unrestricted gift of $8 million from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett. The gift is part of a new round of 286 grants from the philanthropists, totaling $2.74 billion.
In her most recent post, MacKenzie Scott writes: “Arts and cultural institutions can strengthen communities by transforming spaces, fostering empathy, reflecting community identity, advancing economic mobility, improving academic outcomes, lowering crime rates, and improving mental health, so we evaluated smaller arts organizations creating these benefits with artists and audiences from culturally rich regions and identity groups that donors often overlook.” Scott has also said that she is troubled by the increasing concentration of wealth. Her 4% share in Amazon increased by about $23 billion between October 2019 and June 2021. Read more about how and why the gifts are being made in this National Public Radio article: “MacKenzie Scott Is Giving Away Another $2.7 billion to 286 organizations”.
WESTAF is a regional nonprofit arts service organization dedicated to strengthening the financial, organizational, and policy infrastructure of the arts in thirteen western states (including Hawaiʻi). WESTAF assists state arts agencies, arts organizations, and artists in their quest to serve diverse audiences, enrich the lives of local communities, and provide access to the arts and arts education for all. Through innovative programming, advocacy, research, technology, and grantmaking, WESTAF encourages the creative advancement and preservation of the arts regionally and through a national network of customers and alliances.
WESTAF is an experienced technology developer, with projects that benefit the arts and creative industries, including the GO Smart grants management system, Public Art Archive (a free online and mobile database of public art throughout the world), and the Call For Entry (CaFE) call for artists online entry and management system.