To sustain the economic revitalization of all communities in Upper Manhattan through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments and small business assistance.


Harlem Premiere of “Homegoings” Packs the Apollo

1,000 enthusiastic audience members filled the Apollo Theater on Friday, June 21, 2013 for the Harlem premiere of “Homegoings,” Christine Turner’s debut feature documentary about Harlem-based funeral director Isaiah Owens and African-American funeral traditions.  Included in the crowd were multiple generations of the Owens family and people from as far away as South Carolina who were featured in the film.

The evening included a live performance by the film’s composer, violinist Daniel Roumain, who was accompanied by members of The Harlem Chamber Players, Ashley Horne, Monica Davis and Lawrence Zoernig.  Following the screening, Moikgantsi Kgama, founder of ImageNation Cinema Foundation, moderated a question-and-answer session with Ms. Turner; Mr. Owens; Stanley Nelson, legendary filmmaker and co-founder of Firelight Media; and Cynthia Lopez, Executive Vice President of the POV series on PBS.

The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone was proud to partner with Firelight Media, POV and the Apollo Theater to present the event.  Ms. Turner, who directed and produced the film, is a participant in the Producers Lab at Firelight Media, which received support for the development of the Producers Lab through UMEZ's Cultural Industry Investment Fund.  The Owens Funeral Home is one of the many small businesses in Upper Manhattan that has received loan financing from UMEZ.  This unique intersection of UMEZ investments presented an ideal opportunity to showcase UMEZ’s work in action.

The event included a survey to gather information on audience interest in documentary and independent films.  Over 230 people responded, and three lucky attendees received gift certificates for their participation:  Louis Alvarez, Nathan Sany, and M.W., all of New York, NY.

 “Homegoings” made its national broadcast premiere on Monday, June 24, 2013 to launch the 2013 season of PBS’ POV series.  The film is a co-production of POV’s Diverse Voices Project, with funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. It is a co-presentation with ITVS and the National Black Programming Consortium (NBPC).

The evening at the Apollo was presented in partnership with other media organizations in Upper Manhattan, including The Futuro Media Group, ImageNation Cinema Foundation, Manhattan Neighborhood Network, and the National Black Programming Consortium, in addition to WNET and WNYC. The event was free to the public.


Spring 2013 CIIF Newsletter:

In this issue we discuss visually appealing websites, branding, and creating a tagline that provides a snapshot of an organization’s mission and identity.  Please note: we will be sending future issues of the newsletter on a quarterly basis.
To access previous Cultural industry Investment Fund newsletters, please


UMEZ President and CEO, Kenneth Knuckles, discusses Workforce Development at Columbia University in May 2012

Full Report Available


Kenneth J. Knuckles (3rd from left), President & CEO of UMEZ, testifies before the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures of the House Committee on Ways and Means October 11, 2009


Press Releases




Back to top

March 2014
Win8 logo
UMEZ upgrades to Microsoft Windows 8.1
Biennial Report 2011-2012
Biennial cover pg 2011-2012
Biennial Report 2011-2012
Nov 6, 2012
June 26, 2012
Career Opportunities in Healthcare Program
Jul. 25, 2012: BRISC loan recipient, Jado Wine Bar & Sushi opens in Harlem
Jul. 25, 2012: Jado Sushi

October 17, 2011
October 17, 2011
Dec. 15, 2010
Dec. 15, 2010
Dance Theatre of Harlem receives UMEZ grant
Dec. 14, 2010
Dec. 15, 2010
Verdery Roosevelt appointed Senior Vice President
November 22, 2010
November 22, 2010
Award-winning master stylist Maisha Teacher opens Bibi Salon
November 10, 2010
November 10, 2010
Harlem Vintage receives BRISC loan
November 9, 2010
November 9, 2010
Hope Community receives grant
September 27, 2010
September 27, 2010
UMEZ teams with Grameen America
July 22, 2010
Ken Grand Opening
Grand Opening of East River Plaza
April 16, 2010
April 16, 2010
Morris-Jumel Mansion receives grant
March 15, 2010
March 15, 2010
Acelero Learning, Inc. receives BRISC loan
March 5, 2010
b yet
Best Yet Market opens in Harlem
Jan. 20, 2010
Jan. 20, 2010
Gemini II Specialty Boutique receives retail incentive loan
Dec. 13, 2009
Island Salad Opening
Island Salad receives BRISC loan
Sept. 30, 2009
Sept. 30, 2009
Caribbean Cultural Center receives UMEZ grant
Aug. 18, 2009
Patane Press receives retail incentive loan
Jun. 16, 2009
Harlem Masters
Harlem Masters receives forgivable loan
Mar. 17,2009
Mar. 17,2009
Watkins Health Foods receives forgivable loan
Feb. 2, 2009
Pollen Nation
Pollen Nation receives BRISC loan
Jan. 28, 2009
Jazzmobile check
UMEZ underwrites Jazzmobile's future
Jan. 13, 2009
Island Salad Check
Island Salad receives BRISC loan
Nov. 3, 2008
Nov. 3, 2008
UMEZ provides funding for new health care careers initiative
East Harlem Cafe celebrates grand opening.
Aug. 26, 2008
Dagaz check
BRISC loan is a custom fit for Dagaz
Jun.26, 2008
Taller Boricua receives UMEZ grant
Jun. 24, 2008
Manhattan Neighborhood Network awarded UMEZ grant
Jun. 11, 2008
Jun. 11
Empowerment Zone awards $150,000 grant to Opus 118
May 30, 2008
Hope Co mmunity pic
UMEZ grant for Hope Community, Inc
Apr. 7, 2008
Apr. 15
Studio Museum receives multi-year grant
Mar. 14, 2008
Plum Pomidor Restaurant awarded BRISC loan
Mar. 13, 2008
Mar. 25
BRISC loan helps Citicare move to new location & purchase equipment
Feb.13, 2008
Alianza Dominicana breaks ground for new headquarters
Feb.12, 2008
Fishers of Men II Reels in BRISC Loan

Copyright © 2014, All Rights Reserved, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation, 55 West 125th Street, 11th floor, New York, NY 10027. Telephone: (212) 410-0030. To send comments and suggestions regarding the website, please click here.