Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Living Cities Improves Usability of Resources

Living Cities works with twenty two of the largest foundations and financial institutions as well as cross-sector leaders in cities "to develop and scale new approaches to dramatically improve the economic well-being of low-income people" through investments, research, networks, and convenings. The organization launched new website upgrades, including a search bar that allows users to easily target their search and access content from the website.

As a resource that aims to create open source space to leverage knowledge sharing for social change, the website provides real-time articles, reports, videos and toolkits from others working on similar issues. New features allow users to shape the conversation and the usage of terms. A user can click on a term framed in an orange ‘definition box’ within the article to clearly define or add context to the terms Living Cities uses to write and talk about their work, allowing for an inclusive community approach to ongoing dialogue. Issues range from concrete to more theoretical topics, from lessons for helping formerly incarcerated Americans access quality jobs to reimagining the civic infrastructure that brings different sectors together to address complex social problems. The variety of resources serve to expand collaboration among organizations working at different levels and areas of social change.

To learn more, visit LivingCities.Org

Monday, October 20, 2014

The National Endowment of the Arts Invites Creative Placemaking Proposals

Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts' (NEA) annual program to support creative placemaking projects that “contribute toward the livability of communities and help transform them into lively, beautiful and sustainable places with the arts at their core.” Grants ranging from $25,000 to $200,000 are available for projects in arts engagement, cultural planning, design and - a new category this year - projects that build knowledge about creative placemaking.

To be eligible for arts engagement, cultural planning and design grants, Our Town proposals must come from a partnership with two lead organizations—a nonprofit organization and local government entity. One of the primary partners must be an arts or design organization. Additional partners from the public, private and nonprofit sectors are encouraged. Only one project per local jurisdiction can be submitted, and the application must include an endorsement level from the highest ranking official of local government. To watch a pre-recorded grant guidelines webinar on Arts Engagement, Cultural Planning, and Design Projects, click here. To learn more about past grant recipients, click here.

The new project category - building knowledge about creative placemaking - is being piloted to "expand the capacity of artists and arts organizations to work more effectively with economic and community development practitioners, and vice versa, to improve the livability of the communities and create opportunities for all." To be eligible, applicants in this category must include a partnership between an art-based membership organization and a place-based knowledge consultant/organization. To watch a pre-recorded grant guidelines webinar on Projects that Build Knowledge About Creative Placemaking, click here.

For more information about the two-part application process, click here. Basic information about your organization and project are due by December 15, 2014 through Between January 8 and January 15, 2015, the second part of your application must be submitted through the NEA online grants system. For more information on all aspects of the Our Town program, click here.

Bloomberg Philanthropies Now Accepting Applications for Public Art Challenge

Bloomberg Philanthropies has announced that they will be awarding grants of up to one million dollars over 2 years to at least three cities for temporary public art projects that will achieve the following outcomes for a city:
  • Celebrate creativity
  • Enhance urban identity
  • Encourage public-private partnerships
  • Drive economic development 
Eligible cities much have 30,000 or more residents and the application has to come from the Mayor or the Chief Executive of the host city in collaboration with artists or a local art organization. Initial applications are due on December 15, 2014. Once the finalists are selected, they will be notified in February 2015 and will be asked to submit a full, detailed proposal. You can access more information and the online application here.

The Public Art Challenge is part of Bloomberg’s commitment to supporting the arts, which also includes their involvement in ArtPlace, an initiative we posted about last month that supports art as a powerful economic force in community development. Recognizing the decline in funding for the arts by both the government and private funding sources, Bloomberg Philanthropies has taken on the arts as a cornerstone of their work and provides grants and support to cultural organizations hoping to improve their operations and access to sustainable funding sources.

My Fresh Page Project Offers a Chance to Win up to $5,000 for a Community Project

My Fresh Page Project, a national contest run by the YMCA of USA, is accepting entries from individuals and groups to submit a project geared toward improving your community. The Y is a national nonprofit that offers a variety of social services including fitness classes, affordable afterschool care, financial assistance and more. The contest intends to inspire community members to imagine big and small ways to help a community. Submission entries range from community art centers, to mentor programs, to health education classes, to many more fresh ideas.

Community members from across the nation will be able to vote for their favorite idea once a day, now through October 24, 2014.

Seventeen semi-finalists will be chosen based on participants that receive the most votes during the voting period. From those 17 Submissions, a panel of judges from YMCA of USA will then review the entries with the most votes and select ten winners to receive prize money designed solely for the completion of the project in the winning submission. Three (3) Winning Participants will be awarded $5,000, three (3) Winning Participants will be awarded $1,000 and four (4) Winning Participants will be awarded $500, for the completion of their projects.

The judging criteria are as follows:
  • merit
  • creativity
  • communication of the Contest theme
  • appropriateness of project, and
  • whether the Submission adheres to these Rules

Visit the website to learn more, submit a project, or vote for your favorite idea. The Winning Participants will be announced by October 31, 2014.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Gender Identity Support to Strengthen Communities

Building strong communities requires understanding and supporting individuals and their different identities, including gender identify. Gender, defined by Gender Spectrum as “the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between, masculinity and femininity, is one of the most fundamental aspects of self-expression and impacts everybody."

Throughout its work with communities and public systems, the Center for the Study of Social Policy (CSSP) is committed to addressing inequities and securing the well-being of children and families. CSSP’s get R.E.A.L. initiative, in particular, is dedicated to improving the healthy sexual and identity development for all children and youth in the child welfare system. Recognizing that youth in the child welfare system often face poor outcomes compared to their peers, get R.E.A.L. provides resources and works to create lasting policy and practice change within the nation’s child welfare system to benefit LGBTQ youth.

For institutions and families seeking an additional resource, Gender Spectrum provides education, training and support to help create a gender sensitive and inclusive environment for children of all ages. Gender Spectrum helps communities understand different identities by issuing guidance and training on topics including: parenting and family, teens, education, medical, mental health, legal, social services and faith. Gender Spectrum also offers professional trainings for social service providers, schools and other agencies including:
  • Development of gender identity in young children and adolescents
  • Differentiation between gender identity and personal preferences
  • Identifying and distinguishing markers of the Gender-expansive or transgender child and the lesbian or gay child
  • The role of gender within the family/ individual caregiver system and offer a new lens through which to view gender development
  • Cultural competence for gender diversity are offered as a way of identifying unique issues for the families of today
  • Developmental stages of acceptance for a family and individual caregiver and how to be most supportive in moving towards research based effective upbringing of children and youth
  • The impact of gender diversity on other aspects of development
  • Social and physical transitions and how to determine whether a child is ready for these steps

Want to learn more about Gender Spectrum? Be sure to check out their website.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Treasury Opens 2015 Funding Round for Community Development Financial Institutions

Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) provide affordable financing and related services to low-income communities and populations that lack access to credit, capital and financial services. CDFIs engage in a variety of activities in their local markets, including promoting economic development, creating jobs, developing affordable housing and providing banking, financial literacy and lending services.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Community Development Financial Institutions Fund supports CDFIs through a range of programs, including the CDFI Program, Native American CDFI Assistance Program and Healthy Food Financing Initiative. Recently, the CDFI Fund announced the availability of funding for the following programs in 2015, subject to Congressional appropriations.

  • $151 million for CDFI Program awards; 
  • $15 million for the Native American CDFI Assistance (NACA) Program awards; 
  •  $35 million of supplemental funding from the Healthy Food Financing Initiative for recipients of the CDFI and NACA programs who express an interest in expanding their healthy food-focused financing activities.

Applications for the CDFI and NACA Programs are due on Monday, November 24 at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. For more information on award categories, eligibility and application materials, see the CDFI Program and NACA Program pages.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ArtPlace America Announces 2015 National Grant Program

ArtPlace America- a nationwide initiative that drives community revitalization through the arts – is inviting Letters of Inquiry for its 2015 National Grants program.

A collaboration of thirteen major national and regional foundations, six of the nation's largest banks, and eight federal agencies, ArtPlace funds creative placemaking projects that involve cross-sector partners committed to strengthening the social, physical, and economic fabric of their communities. Recognizing the role of art in creating vibrant communities, ArtPlace supports projects that integrate art into a community’s economic development and revitalization strategies.

Now in its fifth round of grants, ArtPlace has funded projects throughout the country. In 2013, ArtPlace awarded funds to Cleveland-based Urban Upcycle – a comprehensive, arts-based strategy that will show how creative reuse can lift an entire Rust Belt neighborhood through education, and community advancement.

Want to learn more about ArtPlace projects? Check out this map to see how ArtPlace grants have used art to spur revitalization and growth throughout the country.

In the 2015 award cycle, ArtPlace will award grants of up to $500,000 for projects that involve arts organizations, artists, and designers working in partnership with local and national partners to have a transformative impact on their community.

Applications are encouraged from all fifty states. ArtPlace partners have made specific commitments to a number of communities throughout the country. Click here to learn more. Letters of Inquiry are due November 3rd. More information about the application process can be found on the ArtPlace website.