The project Investment Grants for Creative Entrepreneurs with SCI will support the national Fund for Creative Entrepreneurs with Spinal Cord Injuries (The Fund) which will award five grants of $15,000 each to individual SCI artist-entrepreneurs whose projects will further their financial sustainability and have a positive social impact on a specific cause or community.
The 2016 UCLA National Arts and Disability Center’s National Dialogue on Careers in the Arts for People with Disabilities described that a particular challenge among artists with physical disabilities is the “limited available funding” for programs and services that could develop their entrepreneurial capabilities. CCI scanned the field to learn of programs that might exist that are similar to what is being proposed; identify experts in complementary fields that can elevate our knowledge, inform our design, yield potential panelists and Advisors; and identify potential outlets and platforms for outreach. As a result of our scan, we learned that there is a dearth of entrepreneurship-support programs for those with disabilities, and none that we found for artists. CCI concluded that providing artists with SCI with investment capital for their social-impact oriented entrepreneurship projects will: (1) validate this community as artists, innovators, and contributors to solving problems; (2) spotlight the importance of SCI creative entrepreneurs as providing unique value to society; (3) recognize the importance of the awardees through a merit-based, vs. need-based, competition program; and (4) provide financing for their enterprise that contributes to their financial sustainability. CCI is one of the country’s few re-grantors for individual artists of all types—studio practitioners, creative social entrepreneurs, cultural producers, and community-based artists, and we know firsthand the multiplier effects that funding and recognition can have on the grantee, their social-impact cause, and the communities they represent.
The Fund will invest in five artist entrepreneurs with SCI by providing funding for their entrepreneurial projects and will connect them to their fellow grantees. Investment support will help grantees improve their capacity for realizing their artistic expression, social impact, and financial sustainability. CCI will also publicly promote the program and its grantees and connecting them to one another in order to recognize and validate the creative and social entrepreneurial ambitions of people with physical disabilities. In addition, CCI looks forward to analyzing the application data to better understand this population, where they are located, the types of projects they are developing, and the particular challenges and opportunities in their pursuits. CCI intends to share this new knowledge with the Neilsen Foundation and the field of arts funders.
(CHN: COandI chn:wdg)