Today, NACEDA announced our selection as a National Endowment for the Arts Our Town award recipient. This is the first direct federal grant NACEDA has ever received. It is also the first time in the history of the Our Town program that national field building grants were awarded. This $100,000 grant makes a statement that goes far beyond the organizations involved.
That NACEDA’s first direct federal grant came from the National Endowment for the Arts - as opposed to HUD, USDA, or HHS - delivers a significant signal revealing a tremendous amount about the challenges neighborhoods face and how our movement will address those challenges. The future success of our field will require practitioners to capitalize on culture and diversity as an asset to be harnessed, nurtured, and cherished.
The term affordable housing has at times become synonymous, even interchangeable, with the term community development. In recent years, small business assistance, asset building, financial empowerment, mixed-use, commercial, and even green development have become core to neighborhood strategy and a regular part of the practitioner vernacular. And, for the most part, this has happened for very good reasons.