MassDevelopment Announces Another Round of TDI Creative Catalyst Grants

MassDevelopment announced the availability of $500,000 in funding for a new round of the Transformative Development Initiative (TDI) Creative Catalyst Grant, a competitive grant program for eligible Gateway Cities that supports locally initiated, public-facing projects that advance arts- and culture-based economic development and neighborhood revitalization. Individuals and organizations proposing projects in and near current and former TDI districts in Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Fall River, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Peabody, Pittsfield, Revere, Worcester (Main South), and Worcester (Theatre District) are eligible to apply. Grant awards will range from approximately $20,000 to $40,000 for individual projects, and from approximately $60,000 to $100,000 for clusters of projects in the same geographic area.

“MassDevelopment’s intensive, hands-on Transformative Development Initiative for Gateway Cities has become a proven model for stimulating economic development in underinvested communities,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy, who serves as chair of MassDevelopment’s Board of Directors. “With the support of the Barr Foundation, MassDevelopment has been able to help Gateway Cities foster art and creative infrastructure as a mechanism to hone their identity and drive place-based economic growth.”

“If you have an idea for an arts or cultural project that will build vibrancy and community in a Gateway City downtown or neighborhood commercial center, our TDI Creative Catalyst Grant can provide the flexible resources to turn that concept into reality,” said MassDevelopment President and CEO Dan Rivera. “MassDevelopment is grateful for the continued support of the Barr Foundation as we center arts and culture in our efforts to advance economic growth in Gateway Cities.”

Launched in 2019, MassDevelopment’s TDI Creative Catalyst Grant is made possible by the Barr Foundation, which has awarded $4.4 million since 2019 to MassDevelopment to create and administer arts-based programming for Gateway Cities. Through its first two rounds, TDI Creative Catalyst Grant has awarded $960,000 in grants to 17 organizations to support public art, community theatres, public markets and gardens, artist spaces, and other projects.

“We are excited to support the Creative Catalyst Grant program to fund locally-led projects in Gateway Cities that engage residents, test out new ideas, and support local artists and creative entrepreneurs,” said Barr Foundation Senior Program Officer for Arts & Creativity Giles Li. “Massachusetts’ cities are stronger and more connected when communities are able to invest in themselves.”

Applicants for the new round can find the full Request for Proposals and details about upcoming informational webinars at Applications are due by May 18, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

MassDevelopment’s Transformative Development Initiative works with cross-sector partnerships in targeted commercial districts in Gateway Cities in order to engage community members, implement local economic development initiatives, and spur further public and private investment. Since 2015, MassDevelopment has invested $20 million in TDI districts through tools such as technical assistance, real estate investments, grant programs, and fellows who work in the districts. That investment has directly influenced over $100.2 million in public and private investments in the districts, and assisted an additional $219.9 million.

Defined by the Massachusetts General Laws, Gateway Cities are small to midsized cities in Massachusetts (population of between 35,000 and 250,000) that anchor regional economies around the state, with below state average household incomes and educational attainment rates. The Legislature defines 26 Gateway Cities in Massachusetts, including Attleboro, Barnstable, Brockton, Chelsea, Chicopee, Everett, Fall River, Fitchburg, Haverhill, Holyoke, Lawrence, Leominster, Lowell, Lynn, Malden, Methuen, New Bedford, Peabody, Pittsfield, Quincy, Revere, Salem, Springfield, Taunton, Westfield, and Worcester.

MassDevelopment, the state’s development finance agency and land bank, works with businesses, nonprofits, banks, and communities to stimulate economic growth across the Commonwealth. During FY2021, MassDevelopment financed or managed 416 projects generating investment of more than $1.86 billion in the Massachusetts economy. These projects are estimated to create or support 6,578 jobs and build or preserve 1,909 housing units.

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