UMEZ Awards $100,000 Grant for Affordable Rental Program for Latino Cultural Center

Date:    Friday, September 5, 2014

As the fiscal agent of the Julia de Burgos Arts Alliance (JdBAA), The Hispanic Federation (HF) is slated to transform the Julia de Burgos Latino Cultural Center (the Center) into a sustainable, vibrant cultural tourism hub in East Harlem. Essential to that renewal is the creation of a rental program that will offer affordable spaces to artists, nonprofit arts and service organizations, for-profit institutions, and residents in the community.

The rental initiative is supported by a $100,000 grant from the Cultural Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) division of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ). On Friday, September 5, 2014 CIIF closed a one-year grant with the Hispanic Federation that will aid the organization with the operation, programming, and maintenance of four underutilized spaces in the Center. The rental program will provide a platform for nonprofit groups, artists, and organizations to develop and present a variety of works to be enjoyed by the East Harlem community and the greater public.

UMEZ funds will provide support for staff positions critical to the creation, management and sustainability of the spaces, as well as funding to increase the organization’s marketing and development capacity. Once the rental program is fully operational, the Hispanic Federation and the Julia de Burgos Arts Alliance will create signature programs and annual events for the spaces, which are anticipated to increase awareness and visitors to the Center.

The 24-year-old Hispanic Federation is the premier Latino membership organization in New York City, advocating for and supporting numerous cultural organizations including El Museo del Barrio, Northern Manhattan Arts Alliance, and the Puerto Rican Travelling Theater. The rental program will serve as a viable business model the sustainability of the Center, envisioned as a catalyst for economic and community development in East Harlem.

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.