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EGAIN Report


In 2023, the Illinois Arts Council (IAC) began an overall assessment of its granting programs, policies, and procedures. As a first step, the IAC embarked on a statewide listening tour hosting 34 town hall meetings in over 20 counties attended by over 150 organizations as well as individual artists, legislators, and local government officials.

Additionally, the IAC and the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies (NASAA) embarked on the Equitable Grant Making Assessment Initiative (EGAIN). EGAIN is a collaborative effort to examine the arts council's grant making through an equity lens, in order to identify funding gaps and recommend strategies that the arts council can pursue to reduce barriers to arts support. These are the aims of the initiative:

• Analyze the demographic distribution of IAC's general operating support awards (unrestricted grants that provide support to an organization as a whole rather than funding a particular project).

• Engage IAC constituents in providing feedback about their needs, experiences and perceptions.

• Identify equity strengths and weaknesses in IAC's approach to general operating support funding.

• Recommend applied actions IAC can take to work toward greater grant-making equity.

• Serve as an evidence base in the arts council's case for the resources needed to reach more Illinois communities with state support.

The data-driven analysis from EGAIN along with conversations throughout the state have informed the next chapter of the IAC. Below are the finalized reports including recommendations on how best to improve grant making in the state of Illinois.