UPPER MANHATTAN EMPOWERMENT ZONE

Cultural Investments

Cultural Investments

 

Please note: The Cultural Industry Investment Fund is in the process of evaluating its grant strategy. At this time, we are no longer accepting LOIs. We look forward to announcing our new strategy later this summer. To receive news from the Cultural Industry Investment Fund, please send an email to culture@umez.org with your name, email address, and organization name, if applicable.

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Upper Manhattan's Cultural Legacy
CIIF Overview
Upper Manhattan's Cultural Legacy

Upper Manhattan has long been home to a remarkable concentration of arts organizations. These nonprofit groups, representing multiple art forms, traditions, and aesthetics, comprise a broad and deeply rooted industry with a rich history of nurturing vital new expressions in music, literature, and art.

From the beginning, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation (UMEZ) believed that this cultural community, with its wide range of programs and activities, held a natural appeal for a wider public. These organizations shared many challenges, however, including inadequate staffing, limited access to funding, run-down facilities, and insufficient means to build visitorship; thus, they offered a powerful platform for UMEZ to conduct economic revitalization in the Zone.

The Cultural Industry Investment Fund (CIIF), working with a finite pool of grant funds, has designed its investment strategy to encourage long-term, permanent change for the Zone’s cultural organizations. The result has been to leverage the strengths of Upper Manhattan’s nonprofit organizations and artistic leadership to generate significant job creation, tourism, and economic activity, while strengthening their capacity to nurture new cultural legacies. The UMEZ study, Leveraging the Power of Cultural Investments, shows the impact that UMEZ has on the emergence of Upper Manhattan as a cultural hub of NYC in recent years.

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Cultural Industry Investment Fund (CIIF) Overview

Cultural Industry Investment Fund grants are made specifically to build administrative capacity, support organizational development, and promote sustainability. UMEZ does not fund benefit events, galas, or other similar charitable activities. Funding is not available for recurring expenses such as production costs, public programming, benefit events, or general operating support; nor is funding provided for arts education programs or for organizations who work primarily in arts education and/or training. Other funding restrictions can be found below.

Because UMEZ was created to serve a specific geographic area, investments are limited to organizations that are located within the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, are relocating to the Zone, or can demonstrate that program attendance/participation is composed of at least 70% Zone residents.

Each CIIF investment is tailored to the applicant organization and its specific goals. In general, at least one-half of the project cost must be funded by other sources of income. UMEZ grants have extensive reporting requirements; thus, applicant organizations must have a minimum budget of $100,000, among other eligibility criteria. Grant considerations include how many new jobs will be created, impact on significant growth of tourism, and how the results will be sustained once UMEZ support has ended.

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