The Oakland-based Kenneth Rainin Foundation has announced a $3 million grant to the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), which works to prevent the displacement of arts and cultural organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area.
The three-year grant will help CAST realize its goal of acquiring a hundred thousand square feet of space for arts groups by the end of 2018 and expand its work in Oakland to create permanently affordable spaces for arts organizations. Launched in 2013 with a seed grant from the foundation, CAST is a first-of-its-kind real estate holding company that works collaboratively with developers, city government, local arts commissions, and other stakeholders. Solutions include acquiring properties for lease/buy back, master leasing to sustain affordable rents, and capacity building for nonprofits to help them gain a permanent asset without jeopardizing their core operations. In 2016, the Rainin and William and Flora Hewlett foundations awarded CAST $1.3 million to launch Keeping Space – Oakland, a two-year financial and technical assistance program designed to assist arts organizations facing displacement due to rising rents and/or unsafe conditions.
"In the midst of escalating real estate prices, CAST has forged key partnerships and raised the necessary capital to help stabilize spaces for Bay Area arts and cultural organizations," said CAST executive director Moy Eng. "Through training, funding, and, ultimately, permanent real estate solutions, we are ensuring that artists and arts organizations who are facing space challenges remain a vital part of our communities."
"CAST is a proven model to address affordability — one of the biggest issues facing the Bay Area," said Rainin Foundation CEO Jennifer Rainin. "In the most expensive U.S. real estate market, CAST has created a solution adaptable to cities to ensure that the arts remain part of our community fabric. This innovative idea addresses financial equity issues by profoundly changing the dynamics. We are continuing to invest in CAST, and invite other funders to join us, to help scale this bold solution that preserves our valued artists and cultural organizations."
(Photo credit: Kenneth Rainin Foundation)