By Hal Partlow, Associate Director of Grants –
The Targeted Arts Development Initiative (TADI) is a strategy developed by the Tennessee Arts Commission to reach out to counties identified as being under-represented in Commission investments. TADI began in 2014, with an initial three-year pilot identifying 10 counties that have historically received little to no Commission funding: Giles, Johnson, Lake, Lauderdale, Marshall, Moore, Obion, Pickett, Polk and Trousdale. Primary research found these counties had not received our funding for three consecutive years.
The Commission has developed a progressive strategy to enable nonprofits in these counties, and future identified counties, to build capacity from within–to help build high-performing organizations, rather than just strong programs. By strengthening administrative best practices which in turn strengthen organizations, Tennessee will be infused with more effective organizations and thus, more cohesive communities.
A second review process was added to the initiative, designed to identify and respond to the needs of counties not among the original 10, but who have little or no Commission funding in the current fiscal year. This review is conducted mid-fiscal year to identify counties that are eligible for TADI. These counties are then made aware of the opportunity and program directors communicate with organizations who are interested in participating with the initiative.
Collectively, the pilot initiative has been successful to-date.
Year one focused on TADI counties by identifying contacts, building relationships and assisting with the development of eligible projects. Year two repeated these strategies, in addition to providing technical assistance to those first year projects and their contacts, to continue to build capacity and to encourage applications in other grant programs.
As we move into FY15, year three of the initial three-year pilot, we encourage any nonprofit or government organization in the above listed counties to contact the Commission to discuss potential project ideas. With the intention of bettering Tennessee communities through the arts for the benefit of all citizens, this program recognizes that support needs to be widespread and readily available.
Towards the end of FY15, the Commission will analyze county behavior to determine the direction TADI will take in the future. New and/or additional ‘original counties’ will be identified for the next phase of the initiative.