Finding Funding

Project for Public Spaces, Southwest Airlines Heart of the Community

First, you should know…Creative placemaking is always about partnerships. Funding for creative placemaking can come from a variety of places, and your project will probably always involve a mix of funding sources. Consider all the options available in your community, and how they may work together.

Government

Municipal governments have funded creative placemaking from city budgets (public works, housing, arts council, public health, etc.) and special financing districts (TIF).

State government has many funding opportunities for placemaking. Many different agencies seek to support the kind of change that placemaking could bring about, so this is a place where you may need to think outside the box. Here are some in Indiana:

  • The Indiana Arts Commission makes grants to artists, arts projects and arts organizations that are often centered on creative placemaking. Apply for the IAC's Open Scene Creative Placemaking Consultancy.
  • Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA)’s CreatINg Places program employs a donation and reward-based method of crowdfunding called “crowdgranting”. In crowdgranting, citizens actively support projects and activities through web-based donations which, if the fundraising goal is reached within a set time, are matched by IHCDA. Learn more about CreatINg Places here.
  • The Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) and the Indiana Department of Tourism regularly support place-based initiatives through the Place Based Investment Fund (PBIF). PBIF supports initiatives that promote quality of life, improve tourism experiences and develop multi-purpose gathering places. Funds are between $20,000 and $50,000 and requires a local match.
  • The Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA) funds innovative approaches to community based planning, pre-development, and research initiatives through their Downtown Enhancement Grants.

Federal government, like state government, may have several agencies that support creative placemaking initiatives. Always match your creative placemaking goals with the goals of the agency.

  • US Department of Agriculture: Community Facilities Technical Assistance and Training Grant. Up to $150,00 for planning and researching community facilities needs in rural areas. 
  • The National Endowment for the Arts Our Town program supports arts engagement, cultural planning and design projects as well as projects that build knowledge about creative placemaking.

Nonprofits and Foundations

ArtPlace America is a ten-year collaboration among a number of foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities. It awards creative placemaking funds between $50,000 and $500,000 in an 18-month period.

The Levitt AMP [Your City] Grant Awards were created in 2014 by the Levitt Foundation, a pioneer in the creative placemaking movement. Levitt AMP brings the joy of free, live music to people of all ages and backgrounds living in small to mid-sized towns and cities, transforming underused public spaces into thriving community destinations.

The Kresge Foundation supports established Creative Placemaking practitioners that work in disinvested communities and seek to improve the bedrock conditions of low income people. Kresge also supports citywide cross-sector and cross-disciplinary projects that embed arts, culture and community-engaged design into municipal governments and departments and in other non-arts disciplines and sectors. These grants are best for creative placemaking processes that are off the ground or reach across the city.  

Smart Growth America This community-focused organization has funded creative placemaking in Indiana recently. Check back periodically to see their active funding opportunities.

Look for local support:

  • Invite your local community development corporation (CDC) to be a partner. If you don’t know a CDC in your area, contact Prosperity Indiana to find one.
  • Your community foundation may be interested in making a grant, funding evaluation, or making an impact investment. Find your community foundation here.
  • Nonprofit lenders are financial institutions that set up special financing for nonprofits or projects with social impact. See more about these kinds of institutions in “Special Financing” below.

Private funding

Who benefits from the impacts your creative placemaking brings about? Would they be willing to pay for it? It’s very likely that an individual or business may contribute to the creative placemaking process. It’s all about matching their needs with yours. Storytelling is key.

If your creative placemaking process is intended to result in economic impact, perhaps local businesses would be interested in supporting it. Don’t forget about in kind contributions. If your creative placemaking process is intended to improve the quality of life in your community, perhaps a large employer may see it as an investment in employee retention.

  • Southwest Airlines, in partnership with the Project for Public Spaces (PPS) supports central, vibrant, active public spaces through the Heart of the Community grants.
  • The Home Depot Foundation offers grants, up to $5,000, to public service agencies that are using the power of volunteers to improve the physical health of their community. 

Special Financing

Special financing may be available in your area. Look for a community development financial institution that does place-based or community development financing.

Other Supporters

National Association of Realtors Placemaking Microgrants: NAR’s Placemaking Initiative encourages REALTOR® associations and their members, to engage in Placemaking in their communities. The Placemaking Micro-Grant is available to REALTOR® associations to help them plan, organize, implement and maintain Lighter, Quicker, Cheaper Placemaking activities in their communities.

ioby Crowdfunding for Neighborhood Projects: ioby helps neighbors grow and implement great ideas one block at a time. Their crowd-resourcing platform connects leaders with funding and support to make our neighborhoods safer, greener, more livable and more fun. ioby believes that it should be easy to make meaningful change “in our backyards” – the positive opposite of NIMBY. ioby’s platform gives everyone the ability to organize all kinds of capital—cash, social networks, in-kind donations, volunteer time, advocacy—from within the neighborhood to make the neighborhood a better place to live.