The Future Of Funding 
Nia K. Evans, Nati Linares, Brendan Martin, Cierra Michele Peters, and Caroline Woolard
May 18, 2021 | 4:00 - 5:30pm EDT
Nati Linares and Caroline Woolard discussed their research processes, findings, and recommendations for grantmakers and funders from Solidarity Not Charity, a 121-page report commissioned by Grantmakers in the Arts. They also introduce attendees to two important models for democratizing philanthropy and building the solidarity economy: Boston Ujima Project and The Working World.
Artists, arts workers, grant seekers, grantmakers, and anyone else interested in transitioning to more equitable and just economic models in the arts were encouraged to attend. 
About the Speakers
Nia K. Evans is director of the Boston Ujima Project, which organizes Greater Boston-area neighbors, workers, business owners, and investors to create a community-controlled economy. Evans has an educational background in labor relations, education leadership, and policy. Her advocacy work focuses on eliminating barriers between analysts and people with lived experiences while also increasing acknowledgement of the value of diverse types of expertise in policy. She is a co-creator of Frames Debate Project, a multimedia policy debate program that explores the intersection between drug policy, mental health services, and incarceration in Massachusetts. Evans has a B.A. in industrial and labor relations from Cornell University and an M.A. in education leadership, with a course of study in leadership, policy and politics from Teachers College at Columbia University. She also studied at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, where she focused on international labor relations.
Natalia (Nati) Linares is a Communications and Network Organizer at the New Economy Coalition - a network of over 200 organizations in the US and Canada envisioning a just transition to a better and stronger social, cultural, and economic system. In 2010, she founded conrazón - a creator development agency investing in new paradigms for a hyper-connected, heart-centered, and rebalanced generation. Her resume includes working as an artist manager for Panamanian, Oakland-based bicultural rap pioneers Los Rakas and Brazil-via-Brooklyn Carioca-funk polyglot diva Zuzuka Poderosa; handling Artist Relations for NYC's SummerStage; leading publicity efforts for emergent festivals such as Santiago de Cuba's inaugural MANANA; and strategic consulting for #DIASPORADICAL artists. Linares is also the founder of ISLA, an arts collective based in her hometown of Staten Island, and a member of Sol Collective in Sacramento, CA. These experiences led her to explore the role art and artist collectives could play in building not only a new economy, but a new culture. She recently co-authored a report with the artist Caroline Woolard for Grantmakers in the Arts about how artists and culture bearers are transforming the economy called “Solidarity Not Charity: Arts & Culture Grantmaking in the Solidarity Economy.”
Brendan Martin is founder and director of The Working World, a cooperative financial institution and business incubator based in Argentina, Nicaragua, and the United States. Martin originally moved to Argentina in 2004 to work with a group of Argentines looking to support the “recovered factory” phenomenon, and out of this was born The Working World and its methods of non-extractive finance and just-in-time “evergreen” credit. Despite dire predictions of investing in the recovered factory movement, The Working World achieved a 98% return rate across 715 loans, and all with repayments from profit sharing and without guarantees. In 2009, Martin helped open a second branch in Nicaragua and another in the United States in 2012. The same grassroots cooperative efforts have proven effective and provocative in the context of the US. Martin is a 2009 Ashoka fellow, a two-time Ashoka Globalizer, a nominated Prime Mover, and a frequent speaker on the solidarity and cooperative economy.
Cierra Michele Peters is an artist and the Communications Director of The Boston Ujima Project. Ujima, named for the Swahili word for collective work and responsibility, uses a participatory budgeting process in combination with traditional underwriting to put economic development decisions in the hands of community members. As an artist, her practice includes video, installation, and durational performance. As an artist, curator, and organizer, her projects examine visual, spatial, and sensory representations of Blackness. Her conceptual work uses wry humor to present commentary on subjectivity and ontology against an urban backdrop. Her recent projects include Print Ain’t Dead, a pop-up bookstore and publishing platform and Demo Radio, an underground sound archive. 
Caroline Woolard is an American artist who, in making her art, becomes an economic critic, social justice facilitator, media maker, and sculptor. Since the financial crisis of 2007-8, Woolard has catalyzed barter communities, minted local currencies, founded an arts-policy think tank, and created sculptural interventions in office spaces. Woolard has inspired a generation of artists who wish to create self-organized, collaborative, online platforms alongside sculptural objects and installations. Her work has been commissioned by and exhibited in major national and international museums including MoMA, the Whitney Museum, and Creative Time. Woolard’s work has been featured twice on New York Close Up (2014, 2016), a digital film series produced by Art21 and broadcast on PBS. She was the 2018–20 inaugural Walentas Fellow at Moore College of Art and Design and the inaugural 2019–20 Artist in Residence for INDEX at the Rose Museum, and a 2020-2021 Fellow at the Center for Cultural Innovation.