James B. Borders IV is a consultant specializing in organizational development and capacity building for cultural and social service nonprofit corporations. Working as a full-time consultant since 2001, Borders has provided strategic planning, business planning and fund development services to an array of progressive nonprofits – from musems and cultural centers to community housing development organizations and substance-abuse treatment programs.
Borders’s recent cultural clients include such organizations as Efforts of Grace, Inc./Ashé Cultural Arts Center; Junebug Productions, Inc.; the Arna Bontemps African American Museum; the Theatre of the Performing Arts of Shreveport; the New Orleans African American Museum of Art, Culture and History; the Louis “Satchmo” Armstrong Summer Jazz Camp; the AFO (All For One) Foundation; and ArtVoices Magazine.
Borders is also the author of Marking Time, Making Place: An Essential Chronology of Blacks in New Orleans Since 1718.
Borders served as executive director of the Louisiana Division of the Arts from 1995-2001. That state agency provided technical assistance and $5 million in annual grantmaking to several hundred Louisiana artists and nonprofit institutions. Prior to heading the Louisiana Division of the Arts, Borders served as managing director of the National Black Arts Festival (NBAF), Atlanta, GA, from 1993-1995. The NBAF presents and produces multidisciplinary festivals showcasing the finest in performing, visual, media, literary and folk arts of the African Diaspora.
A native of New Orleans, Borders has also been managing director of Junebug Productions (successor to the legendary Free Southern Theater, a cultural arm of the Civil Rights Movement) and performance curator at the Contemporary Arts Center. Both organizations are based in New Orleans. At the Contemporary Arts Center, Borders also directed the Regional Artists Projects (RAP) grants program for the four-state region of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The program was jointly funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and the Andy Warhol Foundation.
Borders began his arts administration career at the University of Rhode Island, where he served as coordinator of major events from 1971-73 and presented a wide range of celebrity lecturers and large-scale concerts featuring jazz, rock and popular music.
Borders earned a bachelor’s degree in Theatre Arts (1971) and a master’s in Creative Writing (1978) at Brown University, where he was awarded the Shubert Foundation Fellowship in Dramatic Writing. In 1970, he co-founded Rites & Reason Theatre, the innovative community/student/professional multidisciplinary performing arts company based at Brown in Providence, RI.
Borders has acted professionally on stage with the Free Southern Theater and in a long-running production of the hit jazz-musical One Mo’ Time. He has been a member of the Screen Actors Guild since 1976 and has had roles in over two dozen feature and made-for-TV films and commercials.
A former award-winning journalist, Borders has been editor of The Black Collegian Magazine, where he was on staf from 1979-1986, and founding editor of the New Orleans Tribune, a newsmonthly he co-founded in 1985.
Borders currently serves on the board of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Foundation. He previously completed terms on the honorary artistic committee of Étant Donné, the French-American Fund for the Performing Arts; the national policy board of Americans for the Arts; The Association of American Cultures; the Southern Arts Federation; the Louisiana Film Commission; the Louisiana Folklife Commission; the Louisiana Superintendent of Education’s Task Force on Arts Education; and the Contemporary Arts Center of New Orleans. In 1980-81, he was president of the Louisiana Jazz Federation.
Borders has written grants for a variety of small and mid-sized nonprofit organizations that have been awarded millions of dollars by a diverse roster of public, private and corporate funders. In addition, he has served as a grants review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Lila Wallace/Reader’s Digest Fund, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, the Nonprofit Finance Fund, the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, the Arkansas Arts Council, Entergy Corporation and other public and private grantmakers.