Arts & Culture

Harvesting Leading Practices

We aim to advance the body of knowledge around creative placemaking by supporting established practitioners, capturing and sharing lessons from their efforts.

Focus Area Overview

Research in this young field remains preliminary, yet it is crucial for funders and practitioners engaged in creative placemaking. 

We seek to gather knowledge about how and under what conditions creative placemaking contributes to strengthening neighborhoods and to revitalization. We are interested in the economic, social and cultural changes associated with creative placemaking and in gathering data about its impact.

We are curating a limited portfolio of established creative placemaking practitioners working within disinvested communities. We place significant emphasis on learning and assessment. Support includes the creation of tools useful in supporting the dissemination and adoption of creative placemaking practices. 

Our goals are to raise awareness of creative placemaking, provide examples of excellence, advance knowledge of processes and results, identify obstacles and tools that can help other pursuing this work, and better understand the role for philanthropy.


Who may apply?

U.S. 501(c)(3) organizations with audited financial statements that are not classified as private foundations. Audits must be independently prepared following Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or Government Auditing Standards.  Financial statements prepared on a cash, modified cash, compilation or review basis do not qualify. For example:

  • Anchor institutions in any sector that have a stake in and are located in a low-income disinvested community. Such organizations often have a longstanding presence, are large or small employers and operate or are located in a facility through either a long-term lease or direct ownership. These might include: arts and cultural institutions of all disciplines and sizes, colleges and universities (four-year, community and minority serving institutions), libraries, health clinics and human services agencies
  • Nonprofit artist collaboratives.
  • Nonprofit community partners that serve as catalysts, intermediaries and/or funders of community-based revitalization – such as community development corporations, community foundations, financing agents such as credit unions and community development financial institutes, and neighborhood associations.
  • Government entities.

Who may not apply?

  • Individuals
  • Organizations that discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, citizenship status, age, disability, sexual orientation or veteran status.
  • Organizations that require membership in certain religions or advance a particular religious faith. (Faith-based organizations may be eligible if they welcome and serve all members of the community regardless of religious belief.)
  • Programs operated to benefit for-profit organizations

Who will be competitive?

Projects and organizations that:

  • Embed arts and culture in larger community revitalization initiatives
  • Engage in cross-discipline, cross-sector activities
  • Exhibit strong leadership
  • Advance a shared community vision
  • Extend benefits to all stakeholders, especially low-income community members
  • Demonstrate commitment to sustained engagement and participation of all residents
  • Work to ensure current residents can remain in their community even where revitalization changes neighborhood economics
  • Honor community distinctiveness

In addition to those characteristics, we look for projects and organizations in communities that:

  • Lack traditional investors, but have secured some public or philanthropic investments to support other elements of community revitalization
  • Demonstrate success in pursuing creative placemaking strategies
  • Show support for the creative placemaking effort from multiple sectors

We do not fund

Planning projects or stand-alone arts and cultural projects that benefit one organization, are on the periphery of a broader community revitalization project, or have limited regard for place.  Examples include:

  • Arts education and outreach activities
  • One-time, community arts, public art or beautification projects not connected to a comprehensive community revitalization project
  • Capital campaigns for cultural facilities or outdoor venues not connected to a comprehensive community revitalization project
  • Economic and community development projects without consideration to history, character of the place and integration of the arts
  • Neighborhood branding projects
  • Projects where resident input is consultative, or participation is limited to attendance 
  • Arts and social justice and engagement projects not connected to a larger revitalization strategy

Application Process

We accept and review inquiries about support for activities in specific thematic areas on an ongoing basis. Planning proposals will not be considered.

Through 2014, we expect to award up to 15 grants for activities in traditionally disinvested communities that integrate arts and culture in:

  • Public green and civic spaces
  • Transit-oriented development projects

Examples include transit networks, “complete streets,” sustainable landscapes and other similar projects.  

Proposals that fall outside those areas will not be considered.

We have a two-step application process that begins with an inquiry, submitted via an online application system.

Part 1, the preliminary application, contains a data-entry component and several attachments, including a narrative. 

If the activity you describe fits one or more of our strategic priorities and our budget, we then request additional information. This will constitute Part 2 of the application process.

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