Request for Letters of Interest

The Aspen Institute Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative | AEFI invites letters of interest from individuals wishing to be considered for a consulting assignment central to AEFI’s 12-month project: Building the Artist-Endowed Foundation Community’s DEAI Capacity to Host BIPOC Interns and Fellows. The project is detailed below and in the attached proposal narrative (click here).

The consultancy, taking place January through December 2022, will be implemented under the guidance of AEFI’s project director and will focus on these tasks:
• Interview and survey leaders of Artist-Endowed Foundations (AEFs) about their organizations’ practices and experiences with respect to hosting internships and fellowships and incorporating DEAI principles;
• Conduct a literature review on these areas of practice as they pertain to the project’s topic;
• Write reports summarizing research findings and results of the literature review;
• Assist in the preparation of educational resources and tools based on the research and review findings:
• Support the planning and implementation of educational workshops and convenings utilizing these resources for AEF staff and board members;
• Conduct research and contribute to the feasibility assessment and planning for a potential future consortial initiative that may emerge from these activities;
• Support meetings of the project’s advisors and program managers’ working group; and
• Assist in developing and administering an evaluation to assess the project’s impact;

Interviews and literature reviews will be concentrated in the first quarter of the year. Interviews, workshops, convenings, meetings, and research will be conducted online.

Criteria for Selection
AEFI is seeking an individual for this consultancy for whom it will be an opportunity to grow and develop as a knowledgeable professional operating in the AEF community. As such, this person will possess the following characteristics and qualifications:
• Desire to help the Artist-Endowed Foundation community build its capacity as a resource to advance the next generation of leaders in the visual arts, particularly those from racial and cultural backgrounds historically less-represented in the institutions and professional fields of the visual arts community;
• Motivation to learn in greater detail about the Artist-Endowed Foundation field and its professional practices in the cultural philanthropy and art stewardship realms;
• Knowledge of the visual arts field and its nonprofit and commercial components, including BIPOC artists and arts professionals, and BIPOC-led arts organizations and institutions;
• Educational attainment of at least a bachelor’s degree;
• Demonstrated writing skills, preferably for a general audience;
• Strong inter-personal communication skills;
• Proven ability to manage multi-dimensional projects in a self-motivated, timely manner;
• Experience thinking and working strategically;
• Ability to thoughtfully engage divergent perspectives in conversations about crucial issues;
• Willingness to meet individuals where they are in the DEAI self-education process;
• Ability to work as a member of a small team within the context of a large institution;
• Legally permitted to work in the U.S. and able to conduct all activities remotely; and
• Available to start the consultancy as of January 1, 2022.

Desirable but not essential:
• Personal experience as an undergraduate intern or graduate fellow
• Familiarity with the Artist-Endowed Foundation field

Will Consider:
• An individual currently working on a graduate degree, assuming they have sufficient time to commit to the project.

Selection Process
By December 6, 2021, interested candidates should submit a letter describing their qualifications in light of the tasks to be accomplished and the selection criteria. Two writing samples and two references should also be included.

The chosen candidate will be asked to prepare a proposal for consulting services addressing the tasks listed above and based on a discussion with AEFI leadership and advisors. Compensation, on a project basis, will be equitable based on the scope of the confirmed consulting services and will range from $40,000 to $50,000.

Please submit letters of interest, and any questions, to:

Christine J. Vincent Project Director
Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative | AEFI The Aspen Institute

Thank you.


The Aspen Institute
Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative/AEFI

PROJECT: Building the AEF Community’s DEAI Capacity to Host BIPOC Interns and Fellows

PROPOSED SUPPORT PERIOD: January 1 – December 31, 2022

Support toward the overall costs of a 12-month project, running January 1, 2022, to be undertaken by AEFI in order to advance the AEF community’s conversation on effective DEAI practice, help AEF leaders build their organizations’ capacity on that issue focused in particular on hosting internships and fellowships for BIPOC students interested in careers in the arts, and assess the feasibility of a potential AEF initiative by which AEFs hosting internships and fellowships for BIPOC students would collaborate to optimize the impact of this work with respect to its pedagogic and professional development benefits to participating interns. The proposed activities respond to the AEF community’s interest in hosting BIPOC interns and fellows, articulated during its ongoing conversation about effective DEAI practice, which has identified advancing a new generation of BIPOC leaders in the arts as a priority for shared action by the AEF community.

The project builds on AEFI’s prior research, presentations, and discussions advancing the topic of DEAI in the AEF community in response to the community’s interest. It encompasses research on the AEF community’s current internship and fellowship practices; development of a knowledge resource portfolio on the topic of DEAI practice and internship/fellowship hosting practice; workshops in spring 2022 and fall 2022 to build capacity in hosting internships and fellowships for BIPOC students; presentation and discussion of research findings during the 2022 AEF Leadership Forum; a working group of AEF leaders and BIPOC intern/fellow placement program managers to assess feasibility of a potential collaborative initiative; and an advisory group to inform the 12-month process.

The Aspen Institute Artist-Endowed Foundations InitiativeAEFI, a project of the Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation, focuses on strengthening the charitable impact of the AEF field in its cultural philanthropy and art stewardship endeavors. AEFI fulfills this mission by identifying, developing, and disseminating knowledge about effective practice. To that end, it conducts ongoing research, publication, leadership convening, and professional education programs for those creating and leading AEFs. Through these activities, AEFI fosters a learning community that engages AEF leaders in sharing with colleagues the lessons they’ve learned and together building a mutual body of knowledge about effective practice.

Discussions and collegial exchange about lessons learned with respect to effective practice around diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion (DEAI) have been on the rise among AEF leaders, as is true in the wider arts grantmaking and art museum fields. Some AEFs have been making grants to support DEAI efforts among their grantees as well as emphasizing DEAI in their own programs. As documented in AEFI’s research publications, quite a few AEFs host internships, and in some cases, these have been with BIPOC students. Concurrently, the staff and boards of some AEFs have begun to pursue training with specialists to educate themselves about how deeply embedded racism is in our society’s structure and institutions, including educational, cultural, and philanthropic organizations.

Lastly, the field’s demographics are beginning a slow but evident shift due to philanthropic interests among living BIPOC artists whose successful studio practices are enabling creation of a lifetime foundation. The participation of BIPOC artists’ foundations adds a crucial perspective to discussions of effective practice around DEAI in the AEF community. Reflecting this broader movement, the topic of DEAI practice in the AEF community was the focus of panel discussions during the AEF Leadership Forums presented by AEFI in the falls of 2019, 2020, and 2021. It also came to the fore during a five-part Webinar series and its two bookend convenings held in the spring of 2020 to help the AEF community take its bearings amid the pandemic, economic downturn, and rising Black Lives Matter movement for racial justice.

Energized by the groundbreaking amount of emergency financial support their community has collectively provided to assist individual artists during the pandemic, AEF leaders during the final spring 2020 convening (A Collegial Conversation on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion) agreed that working together for greater impact is a priority. And they cited as an important goal advancing the rising generation of leaders in the visual arts who identify as BIPOC, including by enabling a better path for this generation into the AEF community whose founding artists, executive staffs, and governing bodies remain largely White. A significant caveat was offered, however, that efforts by AEFs to recruit and host BIPOC interns/fellows, as well as staff and board members, must be accompanied by efforts to address internal cultures and structures that could mitigate the success of such efforts. Along those lines, AEFI itself has taken steps with an eye to aligning with its DEAI values, for example beginning the revamp of its AEFI advisory group to increase diversity and raising to one-third, from what has typically been ten percent, the BIPOC portion of the faculty for the 2021 Seminar on Strategy for AEF Leaders.

Looking beyond the AEF community, there has been a notable increase in the number of programs that are designed specifically to advance a new generation of BIPOC leaders in the art museum and broader visual arts fields. This movement has been spurred by data documenting the continuing lack of diversity among those who lead art museums and direct their exhibition programs. It has been propelled by a commitment to address this unacceptable situation by major philanthropies, such as the Mellon, Getty, Walton, and Ford Foundations. Some of the efforts advanced by these funders incorporate internships/fellowships as a key strategy or a primary focus.

The placement processes employed by these programs involve identifying, evaluating, and facilitating matches of interns/fellows with appropriate hosts that can meet their curricular goals, as well as providing support and guidance to students and hosts. The newest among these programs are the Atlanta University Center Art History + Curatorial Studies Collective, an undergraduate degree program spearheaded by Spelman College, and the three-year work-and- study Arizona State University-LACMA Masters Fellowship in Art History Program, both programs in their third year. The longest continuously operating program is the Getty Foundation’s Marrow Undergraduate Internship Program, established in 1993. Rounding out this group are Studio Institute’s Undergraduate Internship Program, created in 1999, and ArtTable’s Graduate Fellowship Program, inaugurated in 2000.

This evolving landscape has matured to the point where it now offers the opportunity for members of the AEF community to act on the ideas and aspirations articulated during the spring 2020 webinar series’ closing convening—working together, advancing young BIPOC leaders in the arts, and being mindful of DEAI practice. Specifically, AEFs can come together to build on the growing number of programs established to advance a new generation of BIPOC leaders in the art museum and visual arts field and do so in a way that helps sustain and advance the broader DEAI conversation within the AEF community.

In line with this vision, one appealing opportunity deemed worthy of exploration when vetted preliminarily with interested AEF leaders is the idea that a consortium of AEFs could commit to collaborate on the implementation of an annual summer internship/fellowship program through which BIPOC undergraduate and graduate students learn about the AEF community, its professional practices, and its multi-dimensional role within the greater arts and philanthropy field. In this concept, a group of AEFs, each hosting a synchronous internship/fellowship arranged through one of the established BIPOC intern/fellows placement programs noted above, would integrate an educational module about the AEF form and field within the professional development activities that they provide for their respective interns/fellows. In addition to incorporating a module on the AEF community and its practices, the consortium would coordinate around associated activities to enhance the educational experience for these students as well as stimulate collegial learning about effective practice in hosting BIPOC interns and fellows within their respective foundations and for the broader AEF community.

AEFI’s role could focus on developing and delivering a curriculum module to the participating students that is integrated into their internship/fellowship experience with their respective host AEF. The curriculum module could be designed to educate about the AEF form, its professional practices, and the overall AEF community. It could also encompass site visits—in person or online—to expose students to the other AEF hosts in the consortium so that the internship experience is broader than that engendered by interacting with one single AEF host. After students have completed their internships/fellowships, AEFI could develop opportunities to engage these alumni in continued learning opportunities, for example via attendance at sessions of its flagship programs, the AEF Leadership Forum and the Seminar on Strategy for AEF Leaders.

More broadly, AEFI could facilitate the consortium’s operation, deliver the educational module focused on AEF practice, and implement the related enhancement activities. The purpose of AEFI’s participation would be to create a value-added educational dimension for students as well as for participating AEFs and the greater AEF community alike. By facilitating collaboration among the consortium of AEF hosts, AEFI could help knit together what otherwise would be a smattering of isolated BIPOC internships/fellowships hosted by individual AEFs, resulting in a programmatic endeavor with significantly greater impact for the participating students as well as for the host AEFs and the greater AEF community.

While there is evident potential in this preliminary concept, there are many questions that have been identified by interested AEF leaders as to the conditions under which it might be feasible. How would multiple AEFs and established placement programs interface logistically? How would the resulting internship/fellowship experience address student’s curricular goals? What steps would be needed to ensure participation by lesser-resourced AEFs capable of adding importantly to the initiative’s goals? What resources and tools would be available to help AEF leaders increase their organizations’ capacity to host BIPOC interns/fellows effectively? What type of evaluation protocol would glean the most useful lessons learned with respect to optimizing the positive experiences of participating students as well as the hosting foundations? What time period for an initiative would be optimal in order to generate the necessary experiences, collegial learning, and practice impacts for the AEF community? What scale of funding would be needed to implement such an initiative?

Lastly, while these are critical questions that must be addressed, there is a parallel concern among AEF leaders who have vetted this concept that the sense of urgency flowing from the community’s discussions about DEAI practice and BIPOC internships and fellowships should not be squandered. Would it be possible for collegial learning opportunities around hosting BIPOC interns/fellows to be made available to the full AEF community as soon as possible, even as a targeted initiative is evaluated?

AEFI proposes a capacity building and feasibility/planning process designed to meet two goals:
• Help interested AEF leaders build their organizations’ DEAI capacity to host BIPOC internships/fellowships; and
• Evaluate and identify the feasible scope, structure, and resource requirements of a potential BIPOC internship/fellowship collaborative initiative to be undertaken by a consortium of AEFs.

Capacity Building & Feasibility/Planning Components:

  1. Research Update – Survey the AEF community’s current practices with respect to hosting internships/fellowships practices
  2. Knowledge Resource Portfolio – Assemble learning tools, readings, exercises, exemplars
  3. AEF Collegial Learning Events – Present workshops, panels, small group discussions, etc., to build capacity around DEAI practice and BIPOC internship/fellowship practice
  4. AEF Leaders & Placement Program Managers Working Group – Assess feasibility and develop a viable plan for a potential collaborative initiative
  5. Allies/Advisors – Establish a group of advisors to provide input on capacity building and feasibility/planning
  6. Status Report – Share “in-process” research findings/progress during the 2022 AEF Leadership Forum
  7. AEF Consortium – Identify and engage AEF leaders interested in advancing a potential collaborative initiative

Detailed Capacity Building & Planning Components:

  1. Research Update
    Build on the initial scan of internship practices among AEFs that was undertaken in 2008 for the National Study of Artist-Endowed Foundations, published in 2010, as Artist- Endowed Foundation and the Academic Community: Potential Mutual Resources, Vol 2 page 527. Survey and interview a cross section of AEF leaders on current internship practices and issues, the extent of BIPOC involvement, and resources used currently or identified as needed to support the success of this work.
  2. Knowledge Resource Portfolio
    Assemble tools, such as the Meyer Memorial Trust DEAI Spectrum Tool, that AEF leaders can use to orient themselves and their colleagues to the DEAI conversation. Prepare a bibliography and assemble publications on the topics of effective DEAI practice and internship/fellowship practice. Research and develop a descriptive list of current AEF projects, conducted directly or grant-supported, focused on DEAI goals.
  3. AEF Collegial Learning Events
    Hold two fieldwide capacity building programs for AEF leaders, senior staff, and board members interested in advancing the AEF community’s conversation on DEAI and in hosting BIPOC interns/fellows. Draw on lessons learned by AEF leaders experienced in this work and interested in sharing their evolving knowledge. Conduct the programs online to achieve the greatest reach and participation possible.

    Spring 2022 – Present a four-part workshop series targeted to issues that are key to effective hosting of BIPOC internships/fellowships and designed to advance the AEF community’s discussions on these topics.

    Fall 2022 – Present a second collegial learning program, format to be confirmed, building on the spring workshops. This timing will sync with placement programs’ host identification cycle for summer 2023 placements, potentially within the context of a BIPOC internship/fellowship collaborative initiative by an AEF consortium.

    Examples of Potential Online Workshop Topics for Spring 2022:

    Navigating Intergenerational Working Relationships
    Assist AEF leaders to be effective supervisors in today’s dynamic work environment, focusing on understanding what motivates today’s workers; bridging generational workstyles, values and practices; traits of inclusive leaders; and adapting one’s communication style.

    Understanding Race and Power in our Organizations and Professional Fields
    Help AEF leaders build a stronger awareness of their intersectional identities and positionality as these relate to race and power dynamics. Focus on tools for self- reflection, critical analysis of racial power structures in practice, and identifying strategies for disrupting systemic racism.

    Managing Internships/Fellowships in New Modes and Contexts
    Enable AEF leaders who have supervised internships/fellowships to further develop their skills, including managing remote/online internships/fellowships, and provide new supervisors with tools to be successful in this role, ensuring they meet interns’ pedagogic goals as well as optimize foundations’ own program goals.

    Partnering with BIPOC Internship/Fellowship Programs
    Engage the leadership teams of established BIPOC internship/fellowship placement programs in discussing their programs’ goals, formats, processes, educational strategies, and lessons learned about effective practices for hosting BIPOC Internship/Fellowships. Include alumni of these programs discussing their views on effective practices.

    Incorporate within each workshop small group discussions among AEF Leaders to brainstorm issues, identify priorities and opportunities, and flag needs for future learning events on the topic of BIPOC internships/fellowships.

  4. Working Group of AEF Leaders and Placement Program Managers
    Convene AEF leaders and the administrators who manage established BIPOC internship/fellowship placement programs to evaluate the feasibility of an initiative by which an AEF consortium could partner with these programs to host synchronous summer internships.
  5. Allies/Advisors
    Identify experts and experienced practitioners to inform capacity building activities as well as the feasibility assessment/planning, preparation, resource development, evaluation design, and identification of staff and specialist advisors required to implement a potential BIPOC internship/fellowship collaborative initiative for the AEF community.
  6. Status Report to AEF Community
    Utilize the spring 2022 AEF Leadership Forum to share in-process updates on research findings and feasibility assessment efforts. Advance the AEF community-wide conversation via an update panel presentation and focused small-group discussions during the Forum.
  7. AEF Consortium
    These activities, above, will help to coalesce a group of AEF leaders that are interested in advancing a potential BIPOC internship/fellowship collaborative initiative. These leaders will be positioned to commit to participating in a consortium in a collegial learning exchange as well as providing an educational experience for their interns/fellows that is enhanced by a curriculum component to educate about the AEF field and its professional practices.

The proposed capacity building and feasibility/planning process will accomplish two goals. First, it will enable AEF leaders to build their organizations’ capacity to host BIPOC internships/fellowships effectively while also continuing to advance the field’s discussion about DEAI practice overall. And second, it will enable the feasibility assessment, preparation, resource development, evaluation design, and identification of staff and expert advisors required to implement a potential BIPOC internship/fellowship collaborative initiative for the AEF community. Running for a 12-month period through 2022, the capacity building and feasibility/planning process would tee-up the implementation of a potential BIPOC internship/fellowship collaborative initiative keyed to the cycle of host identification among BIPOC internship/fellowship placement programs for the 2023 summer session. And whether or not the leaders of any particular AEF ultimately decide they are interested in participating in a future collaborative initiative, this 12-month process will nonetheless have provided the opportunity for members of the AEF community broadly to act on the important ideas and aspirations articulated during the spring 2020 webinar series’ closing convening—working together, advancing young BIPOC leaders in the arts, and being mindful of DEAI practice.

AEFI’s research, publication, and dissemination activities advancing effective practice are made possible by its donors whose charitable support ensures that AEFI’s knowledge resources are available as a public benefit to anyone requiring this information—artists, artists’ families, advisors, foundation leaders, educators, students, scholars, journalists, and the interested public.

AEFI Donor Consortium Leaders
The Jay DeFeo Foundation
Roy Lichtenstein Foundation
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

AEFI Donor Consortium Members*
The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation
American Express Foundation Anonymous
Charitable Foundation Artists’ Legacy Foundation
Michael Asher Foundation
Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
Dale and Leslie Chihuly Foundation
California Community Foundation
Museo Eduardo Carrillo Dedalus Foundation
Richard Diebenkorn Foundation
Claire Falkenstein Foundation
Ford Foundation
Sam Francis Foundation
Helen Frankenthaler Foundation
Jacques & Natasha Gelman Trust
The Getty Foundation
The Adolph & Esther Gottlieb Foundation
Agnes Gund Foundation
The Guston Foundation
Frederick Hammersley Foundation
Keith Haring Foundation
Harpo Foundation
The Hoffman Forum
Jerome Foundation
The Joyce Foundation
The Willem de Kooning Foundation
Phillip and Edith Leonian Foundation
Henry Luce Foundation
Lucid Art Foundation
Sam & Alfreda Maloof Foundation for Arts & Crafts
The Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation
Pierre & Tana Matisse Foundation
Joan Mitchell Foundation
Henry Moore Foundation
The New York Community Trust
LeRoy Neiman & Janet Burns Neiman Foundation
Niki Charitable Art Foundation
One Million Years Foundation
Gordon Parks Foundation
The Irving Penn Foundation
The Pollock-Krasner Foundation
Richard Pousette-Dart Foundation
Dorothea and Leo Rabkin Foundation
Robert Rauschenberg Foundation
Deborah Remington Trust for the Visual Arts
Herb Ritts Foundation
Rockefeller Brothers Fund
George Rodrigue Foundation of the Arts
The Judith Rothschild Foundation
George and Helen Segal Foundation
Leon Polk Smith Foundation
Louisa Stude Sarofim
The Dorothea Tanning Foundation/The Destina Foundation
Lenore G. Tawney Foundation
Eugene V. & Clare E. Thaw Charitable Trust
Phyllis C. Wattis Foundation
Andrew and Betsy Wyeth Foundation for American Art
*As of June 15, 2021

Christine J. Vincent, Project Director of AEFI, is a seasoned foundation executive and education leader who served formerly as deputy director of Media, Arts and Culture at the Ford Foundation and as president of Maine College of Art. AEFI’s work is informed by a group of esteemed advisors whose members include prominent practitioners and scholars in the arts and culture, museum, philanthropy, public policy, law, and education fields. AEFI’s work is supported by the staff members of the Aspen Institute Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation and the many cultural and educational institutions and artist-endowed foundations who partner with AEFI to realize its programs.

Ruth Fine, Honorary Chair, AEFI Advisors Chair, Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Former Curator of Special Projects in Modern Art, National Gallery of Art
Alberta Arthurs, Former Director, Arts & Humanities Rockefeller Foundation
Richard Calvocoressi, Former Director, Henry Moore Foundation
Michael Conforti Director Emeritus Clark Art Institute
Jennifer Dowley, Former President, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation
Michelle Elligott, Chief of Archives, Library, and Research Collections, The Museum of Modern Art
Marion R. Fremont-Smith, Senior Research Fellow, Hauser Institute for Civil Society Harvard University
Elizabeth Glassman, President Emerita, Terra Foundation for American Art
Mari Carmen Ramirez, Wortham Curator of Latin American Art, Museum of Fine Arts, Houston
Franklin Sirmans, Director, Perez Art Museum Miami
Stephen K. Urice, Professor of Law, University of Miami School of Law
Marc-André Renold (Emeritus), Director, Art-Law Centre University of Geneva, CH
Aida Rodriguez (Emerita), Former Professor of Professional Practice, Milano School of International Affairs Management, and Urban Policy, New School
Lowery Stokes Sims (Emerita), Curator Emerita, Museum of Arts and Design
James Allen Smith (Emeritus), Former Vice President, Director, Research and Education Rockefeller Archives Center
Charles C. Bergman (1933-2018), Chairman & CEO, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation
James T. Demetrion (1930-2020), Director Emeritus, Smithsonian Institution Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Aspen Institute
2300 N Street NW, Suite 700
Washington, D.C. 20037

Contact Person:
Christine J. Vincent Project Director
Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative/AEFI Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation/PSI The Aspen Institute
Direct Phone: 207-653-3922
Email: or

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world.
Headquartered in Washington, DC, the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners. For more information, visit

The Aspen Institute’s Program on Philanthropy and Social Innovation (PSI) seeks to inform and maximize the impact of philanthropic actors and those they support so that each can contribute to a free, just, and equitable society. PSI enhances the efficacy of these changemakers through its leadership training for emerging non-profit leaders and social entrepreneurs, consensus-building convenings of foundation CEOs and individual donors, issue- specific philanthropy conferences, and work to advance transparency through policies for making “open” the data generated by and gathered on the nonprofit sector. PSI’s thought leadership focuses on the nexus of civic engagement, citizen agency, and democracy.

EIN: 84-0399006

Staff Demographics:
Female 68.8%
Male 30.6%
Not Defined 0.6%
Total 100.0%

Caucasian 65.1%
African American/Black 14.3%
Hispanic/Latino 8.5%
Asian 8.1%
Multiple 1.9%
Not Defined 1.3%
Native American 0.8%
Total 100.0%