Volume 20, Number 40 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | September 22 - 28, 2010
L.M.D.C. releases community and cultural enhancement R.F.P.
BY John Bayles
The long-awaited Request for Proposals for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation’s latest round of grants has officially been released. The Community and Cultural Enhancement Program will offer $17 million worth of grants to nonprofits and government organizations located south of Houston Street, river to river.
As stated on the L.M.D.C. website the program “will support cultural and community programs and projects in Lower Manhattan that would meet the needs of Lower Manhattan residents, workers, and communities resulting from the events of September 11, 2001.” However, the grants are also available to organizations that “address or prevent blight, and/or benefit low and moderate income persons.”
“This is a very important moment for nonprofit and cultural institutions that have been struggling,” said Julie Menin, L.M.D.C. board member and Community Board 1 chair.
Menin, as well as numerous other Lower Manhattan residents, has been pushing for the release of the R.F.P. since the L.M.D.C. announced it would make available the money earlier this summer.
“The Community and Cultural Enhancement Program presents an important opportunity for New York City,” said Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, according to the L.M.D.C. website. “Through this initiative, the L.M.D.C. will provide crucial support for nonprofit organizations and reinforce Lower Manhattan’s identity as an exciting destination for New Yorkers and visitors from around the world.”
The funds are left over from an original round of grants provided by the L.M.D.C. four years ago. Originally, the pool of funds was divided into two separate categories. Now, both categories have been combined.
Menin stressed the importance of making clear that the money is not just for cultural nonprofits. Indeed, she hopes schools apply as well. During the original round of grants, many schools in Lower Manhattan, specifically P.S. 89 and P.S. 234 did not apply for the grants. Menin said she believes the reason was due to a lack of publicity concerning the programs.
However this time around, the L.M.D.C. has agreed to a public session at which they will spell out the specific organizations that are eligible for the grants in an attempt to be as transparent as possible. As of press time, the date of the public session had not yet been set.