Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation, Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan Announce $500k in Grants

The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation and the Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan today announced $500,000 in grants to support arts and culture organizations that represent a variety of creative disciplines throughout the Community Foundation’s seven-county service area and contribute to the vitality of our region’s economy.

This is the inaugural round of grantmaking since the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announced a $100 million commitment in December 2021 to transform the financial strength and long-term viability of Southeast Michigan’s arts and culture community through the establishment of an endowment at the Community Foundation. The investment created permanent operational funding streams for 11 of the region’s largest arts and culture institutions, supports annual grants to small and midsize arts and culture nonprofits, and builds the Community Foundation’s capacity to lead community engagement efforts around inclusion in the arts.

“The Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation’s investment in arts and culture as an economic driver in our region is admirable,” Community Foundation for Southeast Michigan President Richard (Ric) DeVore says. “Arts and culture programs often are the first to be cut during economic challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic but are among the most vital assets when it comes to creating a desirable place to live, work and play in the long term.”

Throughout 2022, the Community Foundation held three community conversations to inform the grantmaking process and gather input from leaders in the sector about expanding access for audiences and artists of all disciplines and the importance of inclusion and equity. “When we made our $100 million commitment to Southeast Michigan’s arts and culture sector, we did so out of the Foundation’s economic development focus area. These organizations, both large and small, are key economic drivers in their neighborhoods, communities, and the broader region,” said Jim Boyle, vice president of programs and communications, Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation. “This endowment is our unique and long-term contribution to the arts and culture sector. We look forward to witnessing the amazing work to come from these new grantees.”

Grants were made to a wide array of nonprofits, including Voce Velata to amplify the voices of BIPOC and women composers and artists, Black and Brown Theatre to support live performances and workshops, and Sidewalk Detroit for its neighborhood arts festival to advance spatial equity.

An abbreviated list of 2022 Wilson arts and culture grant recipients includes some of the following:

• Capturing Belief — $20,000 for The D Portrait Studio and its engagement with Detroit students in learning the business of photography, including hosting neighborhood popup studios and an outdoor exhibition

• Sidewalk Detroit — $20,000 to support ongoing programming in advancing spatial equity through neighborhood-based engagement and public art planning

• Room Project, fiscally sponsored by Allied Media Projects, Inc. — $20,000 to support women, nonbinary, and trans writers and artists

• TeMaTe Institute for Black Dance and Culture, fiscally sponsored by North End Woodward Community Coalition — $20,000 to support a multigenerational oral history documentation and performative storytelling inquiry that explores the multiple narratives of migration and movement within the city of Detroit

• Eisenhower Dance Ensemble — $17,500 to support programming and operational strategies that will increase access and promote inclusivity for audiences and dancers

• The Wesley Foundation — $5,000 to support Sacred Ink, a gallery show of professional photographs featuring students with tattoos plus accompanying narratives

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