Pro Bono Consultation in Support of Organizations Focused on Social Cohesion through the Arts

The DeVos Institute invites US-based non-profit organizations committed to enhancing social cohesion to apply for pro bono planning support underwritten in full by the University of Maryland.

Social Cohesion


In continuation of its mission to support and empower arts managers and their boards, the DeVos Institute of Arts Management is pleased to offer pro bono consultation for ten US-based organizations focused on strengthening or developing arts programming to enhance social cohesion.

At a pivotal moment in our nation’s journey — one that calls for justice, reconciliation, restitution, and healing — the initiative seeks to assist organizations in the development and implementation of arts programming that promotes engagement between parties that may not otherwise engage in constructive or creative dialogue. 

Specifically, the program recognizes the disproportionate and unacceptable impact that structural and racial inequity has had within BIPOC communities and, while all proposals are welcomed and encouraged, will prioritize proposals that seek to support BIPOC-led or BIPOC-serving organizations.


The oft-touted role of the arts — to create community, understanding, and empathy — has historically succeeded in engaging individuals and groups already inclined toward conversation with each other. This gathering of like minds in common experience – often bound by geography, background, or interest – has played an important role in efforts to strengthen community and cohesion.

Building on this foundation, this program seeks to support strategies that connect, through creative practice, ways of life that may not naturally collaborate or see eye-to-eye. As such, the initiative is especially interested to support projects that seek to build alliances, partnerships, and sustainable working engagements between communities historically separated by differences defined by geography, economics, race, identity, politics, privilege, or other impactful social determinants. 

For this reason, the support provided through this project is open to arts organizations as well as other civic non-profits — including in the arenas of health, community development, faith, community organizing, or social service — that will use arts and culture as a strategy to build bridges across divides in their communities, or in partnership with adjacent, or even distant communities.

The program is specifically interested to support projects that have a systems analysis or social justice framework and that demonstrate a long-term commitment, in contrast to one-off or project-based efforts.


The six-month planning process will support organizations in advancing program design, evaluation, visibility, and funding. Additionally, the process will assist organizations with their plans to build institutional wealth in the form of working capital, reserves, and/or other relevant instruments.

This dual focus — on program development and institutional wealth — recognizes the historical lack of equity in American communities and American philanthropy, and the importance of building institutional wealth for the long-term sustainability of non-profit organizations.

Some examples of work from the field that inspire this program include:


In support of the program, the Institute has engaged the expertise of leaders in the design and implementation of arts programming that improves cohesion and equity in American communities. These leaders will work with Institute President Brett Egan and other Institute Senior Consultants to advise participating organizations on the development or strengthening of relevant programs. This effort recognizes that the ambition to increase understanding, cooperation, empathy and equity through creative practice requires nuance and craft; leaders identified to support this aspect of the planning process have each, in their fields, developed and implemented successful programs focused on social cohesion and/or equitable systems change.

READ MORE Advisor Biographies

READ MORE on Eligibility, Deliverables, Timeline, and Frequently Asked Questions

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