Shared Interest is a grant available to the local creative community, made possible through a partnership between our friends at Little Baby’s Ice Cream and, us, Elysian Fields.
In 2016, we ( Elysian Fields! ) extended a short-term, low-interest loan to our friends at Little Baby’s Ice Cream, in order to help them expand operations to Baltimore (now open!). This loan represents not only an all-too-rare demonstration of hyperlocal cooperative capitalism, and a way to offer access to quick capital through existing business relationships, but it does not end there: we agreed that when the loan was paid back, it would be accompanied by a flat amount of interest, which we, Elysian Fields, would match to establish a fund for a small “creative project grant”, which we are calling Shared Interest.
Our goal is both to create access to funding and create further connections and trust between small businesses, but also to use a loan as a mechanism to invest back into the community.
Both the original loan, and the resulting community grant, are designed to be easy. So many grants and funding opportunities require onerous applications, fees, reporting (heck, we even help people write business plans for funding opportunities). Instead, a quick and easy loan gave birth to a easy-to-apply for grant.
Shared Interest is a $1000 grant awarded to one project contributing to the vitality of Philadelphia through creativity and community engagement.
We encourage creatives, artists, organizers, and thinkers of all kinds and at all career stages to apply. The application is simple and brief by design, just 4 questions and 4 images.
The recipient may use the grant however they see fit. We recognize that people define success in different ways, and that creative projects at their best often involve risk; we welcome the recipient to define their own success.
Shared Interest is inspired by Philly Stake, a dinner-based micro-granting event co-founded by Elysian Fields’ CEO Kate Strathmann in 2010; Philly Stake facilitated grants to nearly 30 projects over the course of 14 dinners between 2010-2016. We were additionally inspired by New York City-based consulting firm Macktez’s Summer Stipend.
The Outcome (an update)
The Shared Interest grant was awarded last year to artist Donna Backues, who through the refugee-founded service organization SEAMAAC launched a batik class which brought together a diverse group of participants to create fabric paintings, culminating in an exhibition at the end of December. SEAMAAC provides a robust program of education and community resources for teens and adults in the immigrant and refugee communities in South Philadelphia; through the grant Donna was able to launch this new art class for adults, which brought together folks from Indonesia, Burma, Egypt, and the Rohingya refugee community. From Donna:
The thing I love most is hearing [folks from all the different cultures chatting with each other. The Indonesians realized the woman who is Rohingya can also speak Malayu (which is the language I speak). She was a refugee in Indonesia and Malaysia and became fluent in Malayu. I have wanted to see the immigrant community come together like this for a long time. I made new relationships from the immigrant and refugee community in South Philadelphia and new relationships were formed between my students. Art is a great way to break down barriers. They like the class and keep asking me when I will offer it again. 😊 The next class they are asking to make scarves to possibly sell. Very doable!
HOW TO APPLY
The Shared Interest Grant funds Philadelphia-based creative & relevant community engaged projects. This grant is project specific; we do not accept applications to fund an artist’s individual studio work, nor an organization’s overall work/operations.
Eligible projects are:
- Engaged in Community
- Contribute to the Vitality of the City
Additionally, we will evaluate applications based on originality, relevance, and conviction.
Please make sure you proofread your proposal and carefully follow all instructions.
1. Describe the project a Shared Interest Grant would help you accomplish (100 words):
2. How will you use the grant toward the realization of your project? $1,000 is your imaginary budget (50 words):
3. A little about yourself and what led you to your current creative goals. This may include a previous project of yours, ways it both succeeded and failed (this can be entirely unrelated to your proposal) (100 words):
4. Why is this project important? How will it benefit the community? (100 words):
Submit 4 digital images (up to 2 MB each, jpeg or gif format ONLY) relating to your project or past projects in order to better illustrate your words above. (Examples: sketches for project proposal, photomontage, maps, diagrams, or other related imagery)
Grant funds have been given!
Elysian Fields and Little Baby’s Ice Cream retain the sole and exclusive right to select grant recipient at their discretion based on the aforementioned criteria and their general whim. Grant recipients will be responsible for all tax obligations and reporting associated with receipt of the grant.