Fairfield County’s Community Foundation Empowers Local Art Programs with the Launch of a New $1 Million Grant RFP

Apr 26, 2024

TThe new grant opportunity will support art organizations and programs to inspire action around social justice and rebuild the arts community in Greater Bridgeport.

(Norwalk, CT) (April 19, 2024) – Fairfield County’s Community Foundation today announced the launch of a new $1 million grants program to support arts organizations in Bridgeport and amplify the community voice of local artists.

The Arts in the Service of Equity program will work to bolster the arts and culture sector by offering three-year grants focused on arts innovation to collaborative programs in Greater Bridgeport. This funding opportunity honors the legacy and leverages the resources of the Greater Bridgeport Area Foundation, which merged in 2008 with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

“Art has always played a critical role in helping people interpret and internalize the complex societal issues occurring around them,” said Julian Pierce, director of economic opportunity at the Community Foundation. “Through this funding program, it is imperative to support our local artists not only for the economic growth they influence, but also for their inherent connection to our overarching goal of systems’ change for racial equity.”

The project partners are the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County – which brings together artists, sculptors, photographers, art institutions and others to help elevate the arts and enhance quality of life in Fairfield County – and The Bridgeport Regional Business Council (BRBC), the largest business association in the region.

“We are excited to be collaborating on this effort of bringing funding to artists in the greater Bridgeport region,” said Natalie Pryce of Pryceless Consulting and a BRBC leadership consultant.  “Art is an under-recognized economic driver and opportunities like this align with the mission of the BRBC to increase the economic opportunities for the people and businesses in the region.”

The funding aims to provide general operating support to arts organizations in Greater Bridgeport that are working to influence economic, physical, and social change in low- to moderate-income communities.

“It has been difficult to watch artists and nonprofit leaders of arts organizations make hard decisions around opening their doors or closing them, furloughing staff, and cutting education programs in the wake of the pandemic,” said Erika K. Wesley, executive director of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County. “This unique funding opportunity will provide help to organizations to address some of these challenges while also fostering forward thinking innovative artistic collaborations that will strengthen our county’s culture.”

Funding art programs and supporting nonprofits that work with artists directly will allow creators to receive guidance, resources, and any other assistance to help showcase their work.

“We hope these grants spark more creative collaboration between nonprofits and local artists to amplify our community’s voice,” said Mendi Blue Paca, FCCF’s president and CEO. “Together, we envision a thriving Greater Bridgeport community, and our diverse arts sector plays a valuable role in amplifying that vision.”

Organizations that are interested in applying are encouraged to join an informational webinar on April 22 to learn more about the grant and when to apply.

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation 
Fairfield County’s Community Foundation is partnering with our community to create a county where every person has an equitable opportunity to thrive. We work closely with community organizations, nonprofits, businesses, and philanthropists to address challenges and identify opportunities to create a stronger, more vibrant community. Informed by three decades of partnering with and serving our community, we have awarded more than $390 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond.