The Carl & Marilynn Thoma Art Foundation is excited to announce the Thoma Equity Grants, a new initiative designed to improve the lives of young people in rural or under-resourced areas of Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, or Texas. The Thoma Equity Grants support established and emerging nonprofits as they build capacity, launch new initiatives, and enhance existing programming to better serve their stakeholders.
Founders Carl and Marilynn Thoma are proud and passionate supporters of education. The Thomas are deeply involved in their shared alma mater, Oklahoma State University, and Carl Thoma serves on the board of the New Mexico School for the Arts. The Thoma Art Foundation has championed educational initiatives through its grantmaking efforts, including a $186,000 award to the Chicago High School for the Arts’ Digital Electronic Reach Initiative, and funding for a new clinical appointment in the field of the Art of the Spanish Americas at the University of Illinois, Chicago. With roots in rural New Mexico and Oklahoma, the Thomas relate to the specific challenges that many rural adolescents face including geographic isolation, intergenerational poverty, and limited access to technology and services.
These life experiences have inspired the Foundation to expand its grantmaking in support of rural youth, art-focused community programming and whole-child centered education. The Foundation’s Partner Organization funding enables established organizations to build capacity and undertake innovative pilot programs. Our Green Shoots Initiatives give emerging nonprofit leaders the financial boost they need to adopt best practices, scale their programs, and develop rigorous self-evaluation and financial management. At the heart of this initiative is the desire to create lasting, sustainable impact for young people in our target region. Through these new grants, the Thoma Art Foundation honors the power of the arts, education, and community to inspire the next generation of leaders, changemakers, and entrepreneurs.
In the Fall of 2020, the Thoma Art Foundation initiated conversations with educators, government officials, nonprofits, and funders in New Mexico to learn about the needs of various communities throughout the state. Following these conversations, the Foundation selected a handful of Partner Organizations to participate in our pilot Equity Grants program. These Partners represent diverse communities, disciplines, and strategic goals, but they share a passion for advancing equity and creating pathways to opportunity in New Mexico. Read Profiles of our Partners here.
The Foundation will continue the New Mexico pilot program in 2021 while expanding our reach to include all target states. In early 2021 an open call for proposals will be announced for small and midsize organizations for our Green Shoots Initiatives. We will continue to fund Partner Organizations by invitation only. See full descriptions of both funding tiers in the table below.
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