Media Impact Funders and Grantmakers in the Arts hosted a panel discussion celebrating the release of a new report commissioned by the Wyncote Foundation looking at pandemic-era shifts to digital programming among arts and cultural organizations. The virtual conversation provided a chance to hear from three leaders expanding their work in the digital realm. Listen, Learn, Connect studies the ways that arts and cultural organizations responded to COVID-19 lockdowns by foregrounding mission, emphasizing learning, experimenting with art forms and processes online, understanding audience habits, and facing the long-term challenges of digital work. Drawing from insights shared by 29 featured organizations, the report highlights opportunities for action by organizations and funders. Practical steps and recommended approaches are underpinned by the need for adaptability as the cultural sector confronts hybrid programming demands and ongoing pandemic-related uncertainties.
Media Impact Funders traces its roots back to the Council on Foundations, a longtime philanthropy-serving organization. Formerly Grantmakers in Film, Video & Television, MIF began on a volunteer basis in 1984 as an affinity group for funders interested in the power of film to highlight social issues. Reflecting changes in technology and media behavior over the past decade, it was renamed Grantmakers in Film & Electronic Media (GFEM) and formally incorporated in 2008 to advance the field of media arts and public interest media funding. It had 45 members and was headed by former MacArthur Foundation Program Officer Alyce Myatt. GFEM was renamed Media Impact Funders in 2012 and has since expanded its strategy to include a broad range media funding interests such as journalism, immersive technologies, media policy and more. Since that time, MIF has grown to more than 80 organizational members representing some of the largest foundations, and holds more than 40 in-person and online events yearly.