Grants Support Musicians, Performing Artists, Venues To Spur Economy and Create Music Hubs

An effort is underway to crank up the music in Denver.

Mayor Michael B. Hancock believes music-based initiatives can be an agent for quality of life improvements, economic development, education and diversity. That’s why grants through the Denver Music Advancement Fund of up to $7,500 – totaling $80,000 – are being offered for strategies that leverage local talent and resources and position the city as a world-class hub for the performing arts.

The Denver Music Advancement Fund is supported by a community-led platform that includes investments from Denver Arts & Venues and partners at Illegal Pete’s and LivWell Enlightened Health.

Music has become a major part of Denver culture, thanks, in part, to Red Rocks, which Rolling Stone Magazine calls America’s best amphitheater. Not surprisingly the, music industry has created more than 8,500 jobs and $842.4 million in revenue, according to analysis by the Denver Music Strategy. The study also found that music has become one of Denver’s fastest growing industries in the area for employment, surpassing energy, aerospace and biotech.

But in a city where an exploding population and economic forces like the tech sector and the cannabis business are driving up real estate prices, many musicians are struggling to make ends meet.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of and the business and individual grants website,, said funds are available from foundations, corporations and local agencies to level the playing field for emerging talent and fledgling programs that support musicians and the performing arts. GrantWatch provides the platform for venues, musicians, promoters, studios, and educators to identify these music grants and promote artistic growth while fostering partnerships that build and maintain a music sector.

Michael Seman, director of creative industries research and policy in the College of Arts & Media at the University of Colorado Denver, said a healthy music scene attracts innovation.

No city knows better than Nashville, where the music industry supports more than 56,000 jobs in the area and impacts the local economy by some $10 billion annually. But, the “Music City” is not without neighbors. Other locations throughout North America have joined Denver and are taking a hard look at how music can spur job creation, economic growth and tourism while strengthening brand.

Affordable housing and securing places for musicians to play and rehearse will be at the core of Vancouver’s strategy. The City Council recently unanimously approved immediate measures to improve the city’s music ecology, with plans for a comprehensive plan to be announced next year. The actions, which included $400,000 in grants for music-focused projects, were prompted by a report that valued Vancouver’s music industry at $690 million. In terms of economic impact, the induced Gross Value Added (GVA) from music is expected to be more than $1.5 billion.

Musicians, music festivals, and venues in Vancouver were also found to generate more than “$172 million per year in additional revenue” through restaurants, parking, accommodations, and other hospitality services while supporting some 14,450 jobs.

Musicians, venues, nonprofits, community-based groups and municipalities frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants can identify funding opportunities in support of culture and the performing arts that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at GrantWatch.comSign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.

About the Author: Staff Writer at GrantWatch

Grants Fund Strategies To Mitigate Risk For Urban Areas Vulnerable To Raging Wildfires

At first, he heard the screams on the other end of the line. Then the phone went dead as Donald Kewley watched the flames draw nearer to his neighbor’s home. The next day, Kewley learned that the two young children and their grandmother, all of whom he tried to warn of the encroaching fire the night before, did not get out of their home in Redding alive.

The latest wildfire to rage across Northern California has killed at least eight people including two fire firefighters, destroyed some 1,000 homes and buildings, and scorched more than 260,000 acres in just a few days. Many more homes in the area are threatened.

That should not come as a surprise. Studies suggest that more Americans are choosing to live in areas prone to devastating wildfires. Some 43 million homes are in what scientists call the “wildland-urban interface", where residential homes are built on wildland vegetation, such as trees and shrubs.

Fire experts and climatologists says the current fire, which began in a rural community before roaring through the neighborhoods of Redding — a city of some 92,000 residents about 250 miles north of San Francisco – proves how vulnerable urban areas are to wildfires.

Hotter weather is drying out vegetation, creating intense fires that spread quickly from rural areas to city subdivisions, where wildland-urban interface has put these communities in destruction’s path. In just the past year, fires have devastated neighborhoods in the Northern California wine country city of Santa Rosa and the Southern California beach city of Ventura.

That’s enough of a reminder to prompt city leaders to call for more funding from the state legislature that would enable firefighters to respond more quickly to areas where conditions are ripe for a fast-moving blaze to start.

Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of, said funds are available to assist these interface communities mitigate the unique risks they face from wildfires. posts these funding opportunities aimed at reducing hazardous fuel, and providing information and education, assessment and planning, and monitoring through community and landowner action.

While these grants fund strategies from the National Wildfire Plan to manage risk, on another front, lawmakers are debating who should pay for the billions of dollars in damage. Disaster relief is available through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for individuals and public organizations.

For individuals, the maximum FEMA grant is $32,000. That money can be used to repair or replace a damaged or destroyed home, vehicle or other property as well as cover costs for short-term living expenses. The catch is that FEMA grants can only be applied toward an expense not already covered by another government agency or insurance.

The “Carr Fire,” the most formidable of 17 blazes currently raging in California and among 94 across the United States from Texas to Alaska, was started by a spark from a malfunctioning vehicle at the intersection of iconic Highway 299 and Carr Powerhouse Road in Redding. Officials say the blaze is already one of the 10 most destructive fires in California history. Last year, wildfires in California killed 44 people, burned more than 500,000 acres and cost the state some $9 billion in insurance claims.

Meanwhile, firefighters struggle to contain the active blazes across the nation as concern spreads all over the world for the victims left in the wake of these ravaging infernos. So far, citizens from 50 states and 18 countries have dug deep into their pockets to make donations to crowdfunding campaigns that support California residents affected by the Carr Fire., a free crowdfunding website, where money raised for causes goes directly and immediately to the people who need help. Organizers who launch a crowdfunding campaign on YouHelp must provide detailed information about where the funds will go and how they will be spent.

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Literacy Grant Helps Nonprofit Break Down Prison Walls to Little Readers in Georgia

Every three months, Ann Van Pelt sits down in front of a video camera to read a story to her 10-year-old daughter. Van Pelt is serving a drug-related sentence at the Probation Detention Center, in Zebulon, Ga., and the Little Readers program is one of the few ways she connects to her “princess” while incarcerated.

HeartBound Ministries, which coordinates the literacy program, will continue to bridge the gap that separates incarcerated parents and their children through a $50,000 grant from the Gannett Foundation. The grant, under the foundation's "A Community Thrives" initiative," was one of 12 awarded to nonprofit organizations that aim to improve communities with projects centered around wellness, education, or arts and culture.

Andrea Sheldon, president of HeartBound Ministries, said, she “started crying” and “broke out in chill bumps” when she learned that the Georgia-based nonprofit had received a grant to continue to ensure time in prison is well-served.

But, the good news should not stop there. Libby Hikind, founder and CEO of, said thousands of dollars are available to nonprofits across the nation to help empower local communities. GrantWatch posts these funding opportunities including grants that address adult or childhood literacy.

About 75,000 children in Georgia have a parent in prison. Those children who experience paternal incarceration between ages 1 and 5 are more likely to be retained in grades K – 3. At least 38 correctional facilities in Georgia have participated in the Little Readers program and book club, reaching more than 4,650 children and 2,400 inmates.

Parents like Van Pelt who participate in the Little Readers program can pick out a shirt to wear, which allows them to feel and appear more comfortable before their children on video. Children, on the other hand, receive not only the DVD, but also a copy of the book being read, a personalized bookmark, literary resources, and other valuable tools to help them connect with their loved one.

Van Pelt, who has been away from her daughter for seven months, said the volunteer efforts of the program has strengthened her faith in humanity.

“To think that people set aside time to help me have a bond with my daughter,” she said. “is just amazing.”

Nonprofits, educators, small businesses, and concerned citizens frustrated by the often-overwhelming process involved with searching for grants that promote literacy and boost reading and writing skills can identify funding opportunities that are easy to read and simple to comprehend at GrantWatch.comSign-up to receive the weekly GrantWatch newsletter which features geographic-specific funding opportunities.




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