Alice L. Walton Foundation Contributes up to $1.175M in Challenge Grant to South Arts’ Southern Cultural Treasures Initiative

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Led by South Arts, the initiative provides $6 million in support of 17 BIPOC arts and cultural orgs throughout Southeast over the next three years.

Atlanta —October 4, 2022— South Arts is pleased to receive a generous challenge grant of up to $1.175M from the Alice L. Walton Foundation made toward Southern Cultural Treasures: a $6,000,000, multi-year initiative supporting Black, Indigenous, and People of Color-led and -serving arts and cultural organizations throughout the Southeast.

The challenge grant recognizes and supports the significant work occurring through the Southern Cultural Treasures. Aligned with South Arts’ ethos and mission, the initiative aims to acknowledge and honor the diversity of artistic expression and excellence in the Southeast by providing critical funding to organizations that represent BIPOC arts and community-driven stewardship throughout the nine-state region that includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee.

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“South Arts’ Southern Cultural Treasures initiative plays a critical role in ensuring the future of organizations that contribute to the history, culture, and vitality of this region,” said philanthropist Alice Walton. “Our foundation focuses on providing access to offerings that improve well-being and create diverse and inclusive communities, and we are honored to take part in this opportunity to support these organizations.”

South Arts’ Southern Cultural Treasures has received match funding toward the Alice L. Walton Foundation’s challenge grant from Gobioff Foundation, Community Foundation Tampa Bay, and Community Foundation of Louisville. To achieve the full matching grant’s potential, South Arts needs to raise approximately $520,000 in additional funding.

Announced in July 2022, the 17 Southern Cultural Treasures organizations include:

This fall, the Southern Cultural Treasures will begin working with a consulting team to identify capacity building needs and areas of learning. Each organization will define their own metrics of success based on a philosophical model of self-determination, and in early 2023, the cohort members will convene together in person during a retreat-style gathering.

“It is the goal of Southern Cultural Treasures to amplify the knowledge and expertise within the cohort, for the benefit of each organization, their leaders, and for the communities they serve,” said Joy Young, PhD South Arts’ Vice President of Programs. “Since announcing the cohort, the leaders of these 17 organizations continue to inspire and inform the breadth of this initiative, and we’re looking forward to seeing where their discoveries take them.”

Southern Cultural Treasures is designed to be a measure of sustainable support. By providing BIPOC-led and -serving organizations with tools and framework to establish their own agency and institutional narratives, the initiative encourages growth throughout the South—not only in the context of the arts, but also in the impact on surrounding communities as well.

The program is expected to run through March 2025 and provide each organization with up to $300,000 of general operating grants distributed over three years, an additional project grant of up to $7,500, customized consultant services, networking, cohort building, and knowledge sharing.

“South Arts is honored to have the continued support in growing and establishing initiatives such as Southern Cultural Treasures, which amplifies the cultural leaders of this region,” said Neil Barclay, South Arts’ Board Chair. “We are greatly appreciative of the Alice L. Walton Foundation for its tremendous grant, one that will directly impact not only the Southern Cultural Treasures over the next three years, but also the communities they serve.”

In addition to the Alice L. Walton Foundation challenge grant and corresponding matches, the initiative has had initial support by the Ford Foundation, with additional support from the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Infusion Fund, a partnership between the City of Charlotte, Foundation For The Carolinas and generous donors to support the arts and cultural sector, and the Zeist Foundation. 

Please contact South Arts if you would like more information about opportunities to match this investment in select communities. 


About South Arts

South Arts advances Southern vitality through the arts. The nonprofit regional arts organization was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to support the success of artists and arts providers in the South, address the needs of Southern communities through impactful arts-based programs, and celebrate the excellence, innovation, value and power of the arts of the South. For more information, visit

About Alice L. Walton Foundation

Founded in 2017, the Alice L. Walton Foundation works to enhance the quality of life for individuals through providing access to offerings that improve well-being and create diverse and inclusive communities. The foundation focuses on philanthropist Alice Walton’s commitment to increasing access to the arts, improving education outcomes, enhancing health, and advancing economic opportunity for all. Through this work, the foundation strives to deliver meaningful and lasting change to individuals and communities most in need. Learn more at

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