CHICAGO — June 4, 2018 — The Chicago Community Trust announced the 30 nonprofits selected for the 2018 SMART Growth. SMART Growth helps small arts and cultural organizations to engage their boards and staffs in strengthening management practices that effectively support their missions, enabling them to contribute to their communities and to the cultural makeup of the region.
The Trust believes that affordable and accessible arts opportunities are essential assets in every community, and this priority was affirmed by over 4,500 residents who participated in the creation of the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan. The SMART Growth initiative has resulted in more stable and resilient diverse Chicago arts organizations, furthering the goals of the 2012 Chicago Cultural Plan.
"Arts and culture play an important role in making neighborhoods throughout our Chicago region more vibrant places to live, work and visit. The strength of our region's cultural vitality is rooted in the diverse landscape of community-based arts and cultural organizations like the ones that participate in SMART Growth," said Sandra Aponte, senior program officer for arts and culture at The Chicago Community Trust. "The SMART Growth methodology empowers artistic founders, board members and staff leaders to recognize strength and reallocate their limited resources towards lagging management areas, so that the organization's foundation is solid and they can be resilient in the face of challenges like the loss of a founder, changing demographics or economic shifts."
Small community-based arts and cultural organizations ( those with an operating budget less than $1 million ) in Cook County were invited to apply for the SMART Growth capacity-building grant program. The 2018 SMART Growth class is:
American Indian Center
Blair Thomas & Co.
Bronzeville Children's Museum
Chicago Dance Crash
Chicago Dancemakers Forum
Chicago Independent Radio Project
Chicago Tap Theatre
Collaboraction Theatre Company
Community TV Network
Ensemble Dal Niente
Deeply Rooted Dance Theater
Experimental Sound System
Forward Momentum Chicago
Free Street Theater
Institute for Therapy through the Arts
Intonation Music Workshop
Kalapriya Dance Center for Indian Performing Arts
Korean Cultural Center of Chicago
Mandala Arts Performing Asian Arts
Musical Arts Institute
The Playground Theater
Project Danztheatre Company
The Gift Theatre
Trickster Art Gallery
Voice of the City
826 Chi Inc.
Through a grant to the Arts & Business Council of Chicago, SMART Growth provides an individualized assessment of each nonprofit, evaluating critical business functions such as their financial management, income generation and board governance. This signature program of the Trust also provides organizations with valuable training in the SMART Growth methodology, which includes establishing outcomes that are Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic and Timed. Organizations then receive three years of general operating grants, which range from $15,000 - $50,000 per year.
Established in 2006, past SMART Growth graduates include the Jazz Institute ( 2006 ), the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art ( 2010 ), Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance ( 2010 ) and South Side Community Art Center ( 2018 ). A total of 99 cultural organizations are alumni of the Smart Growth program.
About The Chicago Community Trust
The Chicago Community Trust, our region's community foundation, partners with donors to leverage their philanthropy in ways that transform lives and communities. The Trust connects the generosity of donors with community needs by making grants to nonprofit organizations working to improve metropolitan Chicago. Since our founding in 1915, the Trust has awarded approximately $2 billion in grant funding to more than 11,000 local nonprofit organizations — including more than $236 million in 2016.