Accepting applications between Monday, September 15 and Friday, October 17, 2014.






The Kresge Foundation’s Arts and Culture Program and The Surdna Foundation’s Thriving Cultures Program are partnering to offer up to five grants of up to $200,000 to community development financial institutions (CDFIs) working in disinvested communities with a promising idea/strategy for expanding coverage to projects that fully integrate arts, culture and creativity as part of a comprehensive community revitalization strategy. Grants may be expended within a 12-24 month period.

Proposals will be accepted between September 15th and October 17, 2014. Kresge and Surdna Foundations will announce awardees November 28, 2014.  An application portal can be accessed at the bottom of this page.

As experienced community lenders and partners, CDFIs have direct expertise of lending practices as well as knowledge of equitable redevelopment projects designed to improve the fundamental conditions of low income people. They may, however, have varying degrees of experience in lending to projects that include or are driven by artists, arts, culture and creative enterprises.

Kresge and Surdna seek to strengthen these activities by advancing CDFIs' knowledge about the ways arts and culture enhance redevelopment projects.  This one-time pilot will inform Kresge and Surdna Foundations' understanding of the marketplace and inform our future investment practices.  Specifically we hope to:

  • Deploy alternative capital that advance arts, artist-centered, cultural and creative interventions within disinvested communities.
  • Support redevelopment projects that augment efforts that systematically integrate arts, culture and creative activities.
  • Build the interest and capacity of CDFIs to further support these types of interventions.


Applications close Friday, October 17 at 11:59 p.m. (EST). We cannot accept applications after this time. The Kresge and Surdna Foundations will select and announce grant awardees November 28, 2014.

Eligibility Requirements

  1. Charitable Purpose
    Applicant is a US tax-exempt organization with a current 501(c)(3) determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service. An organization without this tax status may be eligible if it is a U.S. Treasury CDFI Fund certified CDFI. Native CDFIs that are CDFI Fund certified must not be tribally controlled.
  2. Community Development Mission & Impact
    Applicant has a primary mission of community development and strives to have a positive impact on low-income, low-wealth, and other disadvantaged people and communities.
  3. Finance-based Strategy
    Applicant is a private non-governmental financial intermediary that uses financing as an integral part of its community development strategy.
  4. Discipline and Performance
    Applicant is currently in compliance with all financial covenants, reporting requirements, and performance obligations stipulated by public, private, and philanthropic providers of capital and grant support.
  5. Kresge and Surdna Goals
    Applicant affirms Kresge and Surdna Foundations' goal to ensure that low-income, low-wealth and other disadvantaged people and communities have access to affordable, responsible financial products and services.

Selection Criteria

Successful candidates will have a compelling plan to start or advance an innovative approach for expanding coverage to projects that fully integrate arts, culture and creativity as part of comprehensive community revitalization.  Applicants may be in various stages of development of their strategies, and should demonstrate the need for a grant to help develop or expand a promising idea which can be implemented within twelve to twenty-four months of receiving a grant.

Eligible applicants will be evaluated according to the criteria below.

  1. Rationale for Expansion
    A description and analysis of the unmet market need that applicant plans to address with its proposed strategy, or a plan to obtain the market data needed to address this issue.
  2. Coverage Strategy
    A compelling strategy to expand finance opportunities for projects that fully integrate arts, culture and creativity in comprehensive community revitalization. The expansion strategy must have financing as an ultimate goal, and must be on track to fully design and implement activities related to this goal within the time period of the award.
  3. Use of Funds
    A compelling use of funds that demonstrates how the applicant will use the grant to advance the applicant's strategy in ways that otherwise would not be possible.
  4. Impact
    A solid track record of tracking impact over the applicant's history and an articulation of how applicant plans to develop projections for outcomes/impacts of applicant's proposed strategy.
  5. Readiness
    A clear articulation of any resources (e.g., staff, financial, partners, capital) the applicant anticipates needing to implement its strategy, and how the organization plans to obtain the resources.
  6. Financial Strength and Performance
    Acceptable financial performance and risk management, and a sound business model that positions the organization for sustained growth, innovation, and success.  

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Fostering sustainable communities in the United States — communities guided by principles of social justice and distinguished by healthy environments, strong local economies, and thriving cultures.