Evaluating Internal DEAI Initiatives for a Strategic Pivot at The Phillips Collection
IG Executive Director Dan Egol conducted a program evaluation of The Phillips Collection’s Diversity, Equity, Accessibility, Inclusion (DEAI) initiative to shape future strategy in light of COVID-19 and the renewed national reckoning around racial justice.
The Phillips Collection (TPC), the nation’s first museum of modern art, has embarked on a three year DEAI initiative through a Sherman Fairchild Foundation grant. The grant specifically supported the installation of a Chief Diversity Officer at the museum, enabled the conversion of TPC’s internship program from unpaid to paid, and launched a year-long fellowship program to help diversify the pipeline of museum professionals.
Amidst the dual pandemics of COVID-19 and systemic racism, TPC found itself evaluating its DEAI initiatives in a vastly different context than when it initially applied for the grant. As such, TPC’s inaugural Chief Diversity Office Makeba Clay commissioned IDEAS Generation to assess the institutions existing grant-related DEAI programs with an eye towards broader programmatic and strategic recommendations to ensure that the museum can adeptly navigate the opportunities of moment and marshal real transformation at the museum and beyond.
In collaboration with The Chief Diversity Officer, Makeba Clay, IG:
Analyzed all grant related program data, including the original grant application, annual progress reports, and supplementary information (pipeline information for the internship and fellowship programs, program brochures and external marketing materials, feedback surveys from past participants, amongst other sources)
Conducted interviews with staff overseeing key partnerships for TPC to discern potential opportunities and recommendations to expand the TPC network and community connections despite the limitations of COVID-induced distance.
Produced a report with strategic recommendations for adapting existing DEAI programming and other museum offerings to address the current and future realities of a virtual museum amidst a renewed national movement for racial justice.
Approach & Solutions
As a result of this assessment, TPC is now updating its DEAI and broader organizational strategy, embedding many of the recommendations included in IG’s report. TPC’s Chief Diversity Officer Makeba Clay noted, “Although it’s a bit early to discuss the impact of the evaluation on our programs, the consultative methodology allowed us to glean key insights (early on) about our internship/fellowship programs and we were able to make changes in real time for our summer cohort. I appreciated IG’s ability to efficiently synthesize volumes of data and present a concise report that clearly illuminated the challenges as well as the opportunities within the context of our program.”