For this last post, I’d like to introduce you all to the Diverse City Fund. We are a volunteer-run funding body that makes small grants to grassroots, social justice organizations/groups/projects that are run by and serve people of color in the District. A project of the Community Foundation for the National Capitol Area, we don’t have any official tax status with the IRS (we’re not even incorporated, I don’t think), and that’s just how we like it! So far, in close to three years and over 2.5 grant cycles, we have raised and re-invested $235,000 to groups working to make DC a more just and vibrant place to live for all its residents. Our Board of Instigators (of which I am member) meets monthly to administer the fund – coordinate fundraising activities, plan events, and manage grant rounds. The Grantmaking Team, who actually review the grant applications and make determinations about funding allocations, are comprised of folks who are deeply embedded in the city’s social justice movements. They are also all people of color.
The grantees from our Spring/Summer 2013 cycle at the Grantee Celebration
Most recently, we have been facing capacity issues with our all-volunteer board. This spring, we decided to postpone our grant round to the summer – and that will only be open to past recipients of funding. We are also holding a dialogue with this group of past grantees in advance of the application period, where we’ll really look at the work that’s going on and how we can best support it as a funding body. Transitions are sticky, but we really emphasize a lot of open discussion. Nothing moves quickly, but when it does, it means we’ve really built a consensus around our choices. I’ll make sure to let y’all know the next time we have a grantee celebration. And of course, if you WANT to donate to us now, you just have to click here!
Have you heard of CrowdRise? It is essentially a for-profit crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter and Indiegogo, but specifically for nonprofits and with slightly lower transaction fees. It was started in 2010 by actor Edward Norton and three partners, and it recently acquired $23 million in financing. Norton is using his connections with actors like Will Ferrell and Seth Rogen to use the site to raise funds for charities to expand its popularity. Considering the connection to Ferrell and Rogen, this tagline makes complete sense.
“If you don’t give back, no one will like you.”
The Chronicle of Philanthropy recently posted an article on CrowdRise. Check it out.
I just realized that The Bard’s Town is probably my inspirational model for my cupcakery. It is mainly a restaurant, but because it is devoted to offering live music, theatre, and who knows what else to its patrons, it has become a lively place to eat and a sanctuary for small theatre and music groups in Louisville. Their model for charging artists has just been updated in the link above and it looks like sometimes they give 100% ticket sales back to the artist! That is ah-MAZING! I will look closer at their model before deciding on how the cupcakery will operate, but I have great hope that this place is for profit and thriving!
This is like craigslist for artists. You can buy, sell, exchange, collaborate, etc. through its interface. I know it has been set up for over a year and there are still only 5 cities included. I think there may have been a skipped step in the build out process to find out what cities would latch on well and how to expand from there because I would think the site needs more growth to be sustainable. We’ll see!
I know I am behind the times as a newcomer to the city so I just learned about this project last week. I am a big fan of the High Line in NYC, so I have high hopes for the 11th Street Bridge Park. This effort, headed up by THEARC, to turn a currently unused area into a place for the whole community is backed by their efforts to take community input before construction starts. The design contest for the bridge just went out and they were just looking for a Marketing and Development person so the plan must be moving forward pretty rapidly with some big capital behind it. I can’t wait to see its development in action in the next few years!
Art Corgi (Corgi, yes.. the breed of dog) has created a fun and easy to use online platform for requesting custom works from students and emerging artists. You can buy existing works of theirs or collaborate on something new and unique.