Press Release: 40 BIPOC-led Arts & Culture Organizations from Across Chicago Come Together as Chicago’s Cultural Treasures Grantees November 23, 2022

Chicago, IL (November 11, 2022) – The 40 BIPOC-led and -focused arts and culture organizations, who have been named Chicago’s Cultural Treasures, came together Thursday, November 10 at Zhou B Art Center alongside the funding partners, the participatory grant committee, and members and lovers of Chicago’s arts and culture landscape, to officially celebrate this recognition and the organizations’ contributions to the history, vibrancy, and identity of Chicago.

Emceed by Angel Idowu, Arts Correspondent at WTTW-TV, the evening began with a recognition program acknowledging each organization. Following the program, a reception was held with music from DJ Lady D and a moving toast from poet, activist, author, and CEO of Urban Gateways, Leslé Honoré.

“Chicago’s Cultural Treasures is about elevating and supporting the people, places, and things that may have previously been unseen to now be seen in a way that is respectful, a way that is dignified, and a way that honors their contributions,” said IFF’s Executive Director for the Chicago metro region, Vickie Lakes-Battle. “It’s an honor to celebrate these 40 organizations and their incredible contributions to the legacy of art and culture in making Chicago a vibrant city.”

Focused on strengthening, growing, and preserving organizations whose mission is to enable the creation, preservation, and dissemination of art stemming from BIPOC traditions, leadership, and culture, Chicago’s Cultural Treasures launched in 2021 as a regional component of the Ford Foundation’s America’s Cultural Treasures. From a theatre company to a dance troupe, a history museum to a cultural center, a visual arts community to a drill team, and more, these grantees represent a diverse group of artforms, neighborhoods, and racial and ethnic backgrounds and traditions.

Many of Chicago’s cultural organizations of color serve as important neighborhood anchors, helping to ensure that experiences and stories are shared and heard. Chicago’s Cultural Treasures, which was co-created with the arts community, aims to ensure these organizations’ sustainability through critical general operating support as well as capacity building assistance.

In January, the next part of the initiative will commence where the grantees will embark on technical assistance offerings covering fundraising, board development, marketing communications, financial management, and facilities planning and support.

To learn more about Chicago’s Cultural Treasures including the full list of grantees visit #ChiTreasures.


About Chicago’s Cultural Treasures
Chicago’s Cultural Treasures is a four-year initiative that aims to bolster the long-term financial resilience and sustainability of BIPOC arts organizations through a combination of critical general operating support as well as capacity building and technical assistance.

To date, a total of $24.75 million has been committed to Chicago’s Cultural Treasures, which includes the initial $5 million in seed funding provided by the Ford Foundation as part of America’s Cultural Treasures; $11.75 million from the Chicago-based funding team – Joyce Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, Polk Bros. Foundation, Terra Foundation for American Art, The Builders Initiative, and Walder Foundation; and $8 million from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott.

Administered by IFF, a mission-driven lender, developer, and real-estate consultant, the initiative launched in Winter 2021 with a participatory grantmaking process, comprised of a diverse group of community members, civic leaders, and artists whose common denominator is an appreciation for how art fits into the fabric of community in the Chicagoland region.

Laura Silverman, IFF Director of Communications,

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