Grant from Kresge and Surdna Foundations to support a pilot initiative on placemaking through arts and culture in Baltimore
Baltimore, MD—January 9, 2015 —A $200,000 grant to The Reinvestment Fund (TRF) from the Kresge and Surdna Foundations will help develop and pilot a strategy for targeting arts investments in low-income communities to catalyze and build on complementary efforts to revitalize distressed neighborhoods. TRF was one of seven community lenders from across the country to receive a grant from the foundations.
TRF is a community development financial institution (CDFI), a lender dedicated to providing flexible financing to underserved markets. A national leader in rebuilding America’s distressed towns and cities through the innovative use of capital and information, TRF manages $800 million in capital and has made $1.4 billion in community investments since its inception in 1985. TRF finances homes, schools, businesses, sustainable energy projects, and community facilities—including arts facilities—using loans, equity and other financing tools. Its arts-related investments range from Crane Arts in Philadelphia, PA, and Queen Theater in Wilmington, DE, to the Centre Theater and City Arts developments in Baltimore, MD. TRF’s work is supported by a strong research and policy analysis capacity that is a highly regarded source of unbiased information for public officials and private investors.
“TRF’s research and accumulated expertise have shown that artists are early market entrants who help stabilize distressed neighborhoods and mitigate the risk of investment,” says TRF’s Chief of Strategic Initiatives Amanda High. “TRF has already invested in a number of arts projects in Baltimore; and others, including Johns Hopkins University and Maryland Institute College of Art, have as well. This grant will allow us to coordinate these efforts strategically and have a greater impact in distressed neighborhoods.”
TRF will use this grant to target arts investments across the city but with a focus in the Homewood Community Partners Initiative (HCPI) footprint in Central Baltimore, which includes the Station North Arts and Entertainment District. HCPI is a partnership between Johns Hopkins University (JHU), University of Baltimore, Maryland Institute College of Art and the communities surrounding JHU’s Homewood campus. More recently, the HCPI Development Fund Board selected TRF to create and manage the Fund that will provide gap financing for high impact, transformative residential, commercial and cultural real estate development projects.
The joint Kresge-Surdna initiative, Catalyzing Culture and Community through CDFIs—or C4—is intended to help support and expand CDFIs’ involvement in integrating arts and culture into local revitalization work, an approach to community development known as “creative placemaking”.
This one-time competitive grant opportunity received more than 40 responses from community lenders to an open request for proposals (RFP) launched in September 2014. The RFP sought two project types—arts- and artist-centered interventions and neighborhood revitalization projects—both focused on deploying alternative capital in disinvested communities to augment efforts that systematically integrate arts, culture, and creative.
“CDFIs can play an important role in helping artists, arts and culture organizations, and non-arts organizations create jobs, attract investments, generate tax revenues, and stimulate local economies,” said Phillip Henderson, president of the Surdna Foundation. “However, the contributions of projects like TRF’s Placemaking through Arts and Culture extend far beyond the economy—they help to make our communities healthier, more equitable and sustainable.”
The foundation funding allows the lenders to experiment with projects they might not have considered otherwise. “It provides risk capital,” said Rip Rapson, the Kresge Foundation’s president and CEO. “We’re very pleased that these CDFIs are open to exploring the ways that investment in arts culture and creative enterprises and might meet their mission.”
About The Kresge Foundation
The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national foundation that works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and investing in arts and culture, education, environment, health, human services, and community development efforts in Detroit. In 2013, the Board of Trustees approved 316 awards totaling $122 million; $128 million was paid out to grantees over the course of the year. In addition, its Social Investment Practice made commitments totaling $17.7 million in 2013.
About The Surdna Foundation
The Surdna Foundation seeks to foster sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures. For over five generations, the Foundation has been governed largely by descendants of John Andrus and has developed a tradition of innovative service for those in need of help or opportunity.
About The Reinvestment Fund
TRF is a national leader in rebuilding America’s distressed towns and cities, through the innovative use of capital and information. TRF has made $1.4 billion in community investments since 1985. A Community Development Financial Institution, TRF finances a variety of projects and activities including food access, health care, education and housing, to build healthy communities in under-invested places. TRF also provides public policy expertise by helping clients create actionable solutions and by sharing data and analysis via www.PolicyMap.com. To learn more about TRF, visit www.trfund.com. Follow TRF on Twitter @trfund or Facebook at facebook.com/TRFund.
Kavita Vijayan, 215-574-5893, firstname.lastname@example.org