The Kresge and Surdna foundations have announced grants totaling $1.35 million over two years to seven community development financial institutions working to integrate arts, culture, and creativity into their community revitalization efforts.
As part of the foundations' joint Catalyzing Culture and Community Through CDFIs initiative, the lenders will receive grants ranging from $100,000 to $200,000 to experiment with "creative placemaking" projects that contribute to the health and well-being of local neighborhoods. In Nashville, for instance, the local CDFI will provide home and workplace loans to low- and moderate-income artists who are being squeezed financially by gentrification and the rising cost of living; in Philadelphia, the funds will help underwrite a loan program for culinary artists looking to create businesses in commercial corridors of the city that are being revitalized; and in Baltimore, the local CDFI will use its funds to help finance affordable housing for artists and arts and culture anchors in low-income neighborhoods.
"Not only are artists and culture bearers makers of aesthetic objects and creators of experiences, they create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies," said Surdna Foundation president Phillip Henderson. "Their contributions to community development extend far beyond the economy by helping to make places healthier, more equitable, and sustainable."
For a complete list of the funded projects, visit the Kresge Foundation website.