UMEZ Invests in Bright Future for Futuro Media Group

Grantee is recipient of 2015 Peabody Award

Date:    Friday, May 1, 2015

New York, NY – Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ) has announced a grant of $150,000 to Futuro Media Group (Futuro) through UMEZ’s Cultural Industry Investment Fund. The grant will support new staff, consultants and technology support as the organization undergoes a rapid expansion of its programming.

The Futuro Media Group recently received a 2014 Peabody Award for reporting by Futuro’s NPR radio program, Latino USA, on the growing humanitarian crisis facing Honduras. This past fall, Futuro produced America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa, a new half-hour television series for PBS that examined how America’s growing multicultural population is influencing every aspect of contemporary life.

Mr. Knuckles noted, “Maria Hinojosa deserves each and every award. The Peaboy Award re-affirms our intention to help develop another high-quality media organization in Upper Manhattan. Dedicated to guiding non-traditional and underserved populations from the role of passive media consumers to active media advocates and participants, Ms. Hinojosa has deliberately rooted Futuro in the midst of one of the most densely populated and diverse communities in the country.”

With staffing and consulting supported by UMEZ’s grant, Futuro will initiate a variety of community engagement activities to further its programmatic mission and will mentor independent media makers who share its purpose of documenting the perspective and experiences of communities of color. Concurrently with UMEZ’s administrative support, the Ford Foundation is funding Futuro’s expansion of its programmatic footprint and service within Upper Manhattan. In the long term, Futuro envisions such major initiatives as developing a Harlem outpost for National Public Radio and bringing the Latin Alternative Music Conference to the Harlem community.

ABOUT THE FUTURO MEDIA GROUP (www.futuromediagroup.org)
The Futuro Media Group is an independent nonprofit organization producing multimedia journalism that explores and gives a critical voice to the diversity of the American experience. Based in Harlem and founded in 2010 by award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa, Futuro Media is committed to telling stories often overlooked by mainstream media. Futuro Media produces Latino USA, NPR’s only national Latino news and cultural weekly radio program, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary at its new hour-long format. Futuro Media also produces America By The Numbers with Maria Hinojosa, a new half-hour television series for PBS that examines how America’s growing multicultural population is influencing every aspect of contemporary life.

Since its founding in 1996, The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) has been a singular catalyst in the revitalization of Upper Manhattan. UMEZ’s investments, upwards of $220 million to date, have provided funding to numerous organizations, businesses and institutions that drive the local economy, create jobs, and add to the vibrancy of New York City. Significantly, these funds have also been leveraged to generate over $1 billion in private capital investments into Upper Manhattan. UMEZ continues to be a leader in reestablishing the area as one of New York’s most dynamic cultural districts through the creation of the Cultural Industry Investment Fund, established in 2004.

The Cultural Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) was established in 2004 in order to support cultural institutions – from the iconic to the new and burgeoning – that serve as a powerful platform for the revitalization of the communities in which they reside. CIIF’s strategy is designed to encourage long-term, permanent change within its grantees by building administrative capacity, supporting organizational development, and/or making needed capital improvements. Since its inception, CIIF has provided $40 million in grants to over 50 arts and cultural organizations in Upper Manhattan.