Leveraging the Power of Cultural Investments: A Report on Cultural Capacity Building

Feb 26, 2016
  • Description

Since 1996, the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) has invested $54 million in nonprofit organizations, focusing on a remarkable, yet under-resourced collection of cultural institutions to help spur the economic revitalization of a critically-distressed community. As UMEZ considers its investment strategies for the next decade, it is imperative to understand the impact of its nonprofit investments on the cultural organizations, the region, and in the context of New York City's cultural ecology. To that end, UMEZ engaged the Regional Plan Association to evaluate the effectiveness of UMEZ's investment strategy in the nonprofit cultural sector. Using the timeframe from 2000-2003 to 2009-2012, this report reveals substantial gains for the 32 grantee organizations profiled in the study, as well as their continuing challenges; it illustrates the concurrent growth of Upper Manhattan's cultural and economic landscape; and it compares Upper Manhattan's collective cultural assets to similar clusters in New York City's other boroughs.