PLATINUM2024

Artistic Freedom Initiative

GuideStar Charity Check

Artistic Freedom Initiative

EIN: 83-3289658


Mission

Led by immigration and human rights attorneys, Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI) facilitates pro bono immigration representation and resettlement assistance for international artists at risk. Dedicated to safeguarding the right to artistic freedom, AFI was founded on the notion that artists are uniquely situated to positively and powerfully affect change, provided their voices can be heard. AFI directly assists artists whose freedom of expression has been restricted and supports artists who have demonstrated a commitment to advancing progressive social change. We work with immigrant artists to champion art produced in exile, advance creative cultural exchange, improve conditions for artists in their home countries, and safeguard artists' ability to express themselves.

Ruling year info

2019

Co-Executive Director

Sanjay Sethi

Co-Executive Director

Ashley Tucker

Main address

80 Hanson Place, STE 303 Brooklyn

New York, NY 11217 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

83-3289658

Subject area info

Arts and culture

Human rights

Population served info

Immigrants and migrants

Artists and performers

Activists

NTEE code info

Other Art, Culture, Humanities Organizations/Services N.E.C. (A99)

International Human Rights (Q70)

IRS subsection

501(c)(3) Public Charity

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

Tax forms

Show Forms 990

Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Artistic freedom is an important element of freedom of expression, which is often overlooked by advocacy groups and human rights organizations. Yet, in certain parts of the world, freedom of artistic expression cannot be guaranteed. Censorship watchdog Freemuse reported an alarming 38% increase in violations of artistic expression between 2018 and 2019. As artists are increasingly censored, imprisoned, restricted from moving freely across borders, tortured, or even killed, it is more critical than ever that we safeguard the right to artistic freedom and zealously champion the courageous artists who exercise it. This is why AFI is dedicated to protecting international artists fleeing persecution and censorship in their countries of origin, through legal representation, resettlement assistance and public programming.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Legal Services for At-Risk Artists

AFI provides extensive legal support to at-risk artists, including the facilitation of pro bono immigration representation for threatened international artists who wish to travel or emigrate to the United States to pursue their creative endeavors. Our pro bono attorneys assist with artist visas, performance visas, cultural exchange visas, asylum petitions and refugee visas for artists facing persecution or censorship in their home countries.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Artists and performers

AFI is committed to supporting at-risk artists in a holistic way. We understand that artists who are forcibly displaced face legal and non-legal challenges. AFI supports them in both areas in the lead up to and following their arrival in the United States. In addition to AFI’s New York City Artist Safe Haven Residency Program, a safety hosting residency for at-risk artists, AFI aids artists under threat in finding temporary housing and studio space, as well as fellowships, grants, emergency funding, residency, employment, internships, education, and networking opportunities.

Population(s) Served
Immigrants and migrants
Artists and performers

AFI seeks to secure the entry of artist activists into the US to enable them to perform or display their work in a free and safe environment. Further, AFI curates and produces exhibitions, concerts, performances, and other events to promote the work of activist artists, seeking to advance positive social change and catalyze peaceful dialogue through art.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers
Activists

AFI’s Afghan Artists Protection Project (AAPP) is a holistic resettlement initiative developed in response to the growing humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan following the United States’ withdrawal in August 2021. The project aims to safely resettle Afghan artists and their families, who are increasingly threatened under Taliban rule, and allow them to preserve their livelihoods as artists in the United States and Europe. Through AAPP, at-risk Afghan artists and their families are being provided with pro bono immigration representation, relocation assistance, temporary housing, resettlement funds, employment and fellowship opportunities, and ongoing support post-relocation.

Population(s) Served
People of Middle Eastern descent
Immigrants and migrants
Victims of conflict and war

Driven by our commitment to champion human rights, AFI developed the Artistic Freedom Monitor in 2021, a first-of-its-kind report series focused on investigative research and policy advocacy in the area of artistic freedom. Called “an evidence-based tool for policymakers worldwide” by the European Commission, the Artistic Freedom Monitor provides rigorously researched, country-specific analysis that exposes government suppression of artistic freedom, demonstrates the reverberating impact on broader political freedoms, and provides actionable policy recommendations to promote free artistic expression and democracy. Our research methodology combines critical legal and policy analyses that includes qualitative interviews with artists, lawyers, academics, and activists about their lived experiences with suppression and censorship.

Population(s) Served
Artists and performers
Activists
Artists and performers
Activists
Ethnic and racial groups
LGBTQ people
Victims and oppressed people

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of Artist Cases by Year

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Immigrants and migrants, Activists, Artists and performers

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Number of groups/individuals benefiting from tools/resources/education materials provided

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

AFI seeks to safeguard the right to freedom of artistic expression by providing pro bono legal services and resettlement assistance to artists who have experienced censorship, persecution, or other restrictions to free expression in their countries of origin. Further, AFI seeks to promote artistic freedom and peaceful dialogue through art by curating and producing events to showcase the work of at-risk, exiled, and activist artists on the frontline of the fight for artistic freedom, human rights, and social justice.

AFI facilitates pro bono immigration representation to at-risk artists, places artists in our New York City Artist Safe Haven Residency Program, matches artists with housing, education and employment opportunities, and curates and produces events showcasing the work of at-risk, exiled, and activist artists.

The work of AFI is made possible through a growing network of artists, attorneys, philanthropists, arts and culture institutions, arts presenters, non-profits, and members of the private sector.

To facilitate its Legal Services for At-Risk Artists program, AFI partners with leading immigration law firms whose attorneys are experts in the areas of immigration law relevant to forcibly displaced or otherwise at-risk artists.

To facilitate its Resettlement Assistance program, AFI secures work authorizations for artists in our network. Further, we operate a residency program for at-risk artists in partnership with an artists’ housing community and several other arts and free expression advocacy organizations. To match artists with professional development, funding, and networking opportunities, we rely on partnerships with arts and culture institutions, academic institutions, residency programs, arts advocacy and human rights non-profits.

To facilitate its Artists for Social Change program, AFI partners with arts and culture institutions, galleries, museums, music venues, performance spaces, curators, arts presenters and bookers, travel and hospitality companies.

Since its inception, AFI has worked with over 300 artists and facilitated over $1.5 million in legal and resettlement assistance. We have assisted artists from over 40 countries, who are working across 26 creative disciplines.

AFI has successfully filed merit-based O and EB-1 visas, performance-based P visas, applications for permanent residence and naturalization, and petitions for asylum. Additionally, our legal partners have obtained work authorizations for every artist supported by our Resettlement Assistance program. In a recent impact assessment, AFI found that pro bono legal representation enabled a cross-section of 15 AFI artists to achieve a combined total of over 320 individual accomplishments post relocation, including exhibitions, publications, concerts, performances, readings, and other events.

AFI launched the New York City Artist Safe Haven Residency Program, which places at-risk visual artists, writers, and musicians in live/work studios and provides professional and creative development as well as community engagement. Through our residency program, AFI has provided 65+ months of fully funded residencies to eight artists from seven countries.

AFI has curated and produced events that have amplified and promoted the work of our artists to approximately 50,000 people. These exhibitions, concerts, performances, and events have also been instrumental in preserving intangible cultural heritage, such as the centuries old Iraqi Maqam and the repertoire of the Mauritanian griot.

AFI is continually expanding our international advocacy and support networks, with over 75 partners at present, including Winston &Strawn LLP, David Rockefeller Fund, Goethe-Institut, and National Queer Theater. AFI has been invited to share expertise on artistic freedom at international human rights and arts conferences worldwide, including the World Music Expo in Tampere, Finland, the International Safe Havens Conference in Cape Town, South Africa and Mamlö, Sweden, and the International Cities of Refuge Network Conference in Lillehammer, Norway.

Our advocacy efforts are currently expanding, as we further diversify the geographical scope of our work and include a focus on areas like Eastern Europe and Russia. Aimed at building capacity and galvanizing more support for at-risk artists, we are developing a training program that allows us to share the knowledge and skills we have honed though our work with a wider community of attorneys, artists, arts institutions, and nonprofits.

Overall, we have created a safe environment for the at-risk artists within our network, supported them as they integrated into a new community, and helped them to continue their practice and present their work.

Financials

Artistic Freedom Initiative
Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
NET GAIN/LOSS:    in 
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

232.53

Average of 215.65 over 4 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

4.4

Average of 5.5 over 4 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

19%

Average of 17% over 4 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Artistic Freedom Initiative

Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Artistic Freedom Initiative

Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data

Artistic Freedom Initiative

Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of Artistic Freedom Initiative’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

Created in partnership with

Business model indicators

Profitability info 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation $29,799 -$12,250 $470,443 -$136,188
As % of expenses 16.3% -4.4% 107.4% -15.1%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation $29,799 -$12,250 $470,443 -$136,188
As % of expenses 16.3% -4.4% 107.4% -15.1%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $213,086 $264,547 $908,402 $727,223
Total revenue, % change over prior year 0.0% 24.2% 243.4% -19.9%
Program services revenue 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 12.9%
All other grants and contributions 100.0% 100.0% 97.2% 87.1%
Other revenue 0.0% 0.0% 2.8% 0.0%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $183,287 $276,797 $437,959 $904,632
Total expenses, % change over prior year 0.0% 51.0% 58.2% 106.6%
Personnel 63.0% 46.6% 64.1% 50.8%
Professional fees 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Occupancy 8.1% 4.0% 2.4% 1.2%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
All other expenses 28.9% 49.4% 33.6% 48.0%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $183,287 $276,797 $437,959 $904,632
One month of savings $15,274 $23,066 $36,497 $75,386
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $198,561 $299,863 $474,456 $980,018

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 2.1 2.0 13.4 4.4
Months of cash and investments 2.1 2.0 13.4 4.4
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 2.0 0.8 13.4 4.7
Balance sheet composition info 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $32,496 $45,242 $488,785 $331,820
Investments $0 $0 $0 $0
Receivables $0 $0 $0 $0
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $0 $0 $0 $0
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 8.3% 61.2% 0.2% 0.4%
Unrestricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0
Temporarily restricted net assets N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $0 $0 $0 $0
Total net assets $29,799 $17,549 $487,992 $351,804

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No

Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

Documents
Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization

Co-Executive Director

Sanjay Sethi

Sanjay Sethi serves as AFI’s Co-Executive Director, overseeing coordination of its advocacy programs and legal services. For the last 15 years, Mr. Sethi has dedicated his career to public service and international human rights. Mr. Sethi has an extensive background in non-profit management, earning a Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate from Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy. Mr. Sethi is the co-founder of Sethi & Mazaheri, LLC, a law firm dedicated to immigration and asylum law. He is also a former prosecutor and served as a law clerk in criminal court for the Superior Court of New Jersey. Mr. Sethi’s commitment to human rights is rooted in his experience at the United Nations Children’s Fund in Moscow, Russia, and at the Columbia University Public Interest Law Initiative in Budapest, Hungary. He received his BA in economics from Northwestern University, his MA in International Affairs from Columbia University and his JD from University of Miami School

Co-Executive Director

Ashley Tucker

Ashley Tucker serves as AFI’s Co-Executive Director, leading the planning and implementation of its programs, operations, and legal services for at-risk artists. Having lived, worked and volunteered abroad for many years, Ms. Tucker has dedicated her career to international human rights and social justice. Ms. Tucker has worked for the United Nations Human Rights Committee in Geneva, the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights, the Centre for Civil and Political Rights, and PEN America’s Artists at Risk Connection. She has worked on strategic litigation before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, conducted research and human rights trainings in Haiti, and worked as a volunteer in El Salvador and Nicaragua. Ms. Tucker received her BA from the University of Arizona in Studio Art, and her JD from City University of New York (CUNY) School of Law. Ms. Tucker holds certificates in Art & Cultural Heritage Law from Georgetown University Law Center and in Nonprofit

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990

Artistic Freedom Initiative

Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Compensation
Other
Related
Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.

Artistic Freedom Initiative

Board of directors
as of 02/02/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Dinesh Khosla

SDK Foundation for Human Dignity

Ambassador (Ret.) Keith M. Harper

Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton

Daniela Zane Kaisth

Gratias Partners

James Miller III

New York Film Academy

Sanjay Sethi

Sethi & Mazaheri LLC

Divya Khosla

Ashley Tucker

Salima Popatia

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 5/15/2023

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Asian/Asian American
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

The organization's co-leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Hispanic/Latino/Latina/Latinx
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

No data

Gender identity

No data

Transgender Identity

No data

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data