(Left to right) Maurine Knighton, Senior Vice-President of Program and Non-Profit Investments, UMEZ; James L. Kerr, President, Morris-Jumel Mansion’s Board of Directors; Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO, UMEZ; Ken Moss, Executive Director, Morris-Jumel Mansion; and Julia Lu, Director, Cultural Industry Investment Fund Program and Nonprofit Investments, UMEZ.



UMEZ CULTURAL INDUSTRY INVESTMENT FUND AWARDS GRANT TO HISTORIC MORRIS-JUMEL MANSION


New York, NYKenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ) joined by Maurine Knighton, Senior Vice-President of Program and Non-profit Investments, announced today an award of $85,555 to Morris-Jumel Mansion.

 

Since 1765, Morris-Jumel Mansion has served as a focal point for activity in the Washington Heights community; today, it is the oldest remaining house in Manhattan.  Originally built as a country retreat, General George Washington used it as temporary headquarters during the American Revolution.  Morris-Jumel Mansion’s chief aim is to present American life from the colonial era to the present by preserving, collecting, and interpreting history, culture, and the arts to engage and inspire diverse audiences. 

 

This grant, made through the UMEZ Cultural Industry Investment Fund, builds upon a prior UMEZ technical assistance award that underwrote the creation of a strategic plan.  The new grant will allow the Mansion to undertake one of the plan’s key recommendations, establishment and implementation of a revenue generation framework to build long-term institutional sustainability and capacity.  The UMEZ grant, combined with other funding, will provide support for the renovation of the Octagon Room and fully support the Mansion’s Gift Shop upgrade.  UMEZ support will also result in the creation of the Mansion’s first-ever Director of Public Affairs and Marketing position.  In addition, UMEZ funding will underwrite the Mansion’s engagement in board development activities. 

 

There already exist within walking distance of the Mansion a cluster of cultural institutions including the Hispanic Society, the Malcolm X & Dr. Betty Shabazz Memorial and Educational Center, and the National Track and Field Hall of Fame.  By strengthening the Mansion, it will more effectively attract increased numbers of visitors and tourists who in turn contribute to local economic activity through greater patronage of Upper Manhattan businesses and services. 

 

“It is vitally important that we preserve our historic treasures so that they may be available to future generations,” said Mr. Knuckles.  “Morris-Jumel Mansion is not only a window to our nation’s past, but an educational site for people of all ages.”

 

Ken Moss, Morris-Jumel’s Executive Director, said, “With the support of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone we will strengthen our organization and spread the word about Morris-Jumel Mansion to new audiences both within our community and beyond!”

 


ABOUT THE Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone  DEVELOPMENT CORP.

 

UMEZ seeks to revitalize distressed communities by using geographically targeted public funds and tax incentives as catalysts for private investment. In Upper Manhattan, the communities that lie within the Empowerment Zone's borders include Harlem, East Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood.

 

ABOUT THE CULTURAL INDUSTRY INVESTMENT FUND (CIIF)

 

UMEZ’s CIIF celebrates Upper Manhattan’s rich past while creating new legacies.  The work of the CIIF is two-fold:  community building through a cultural and economic lens; and, a marketing of place that repositions Upper Manhattan as one of New York City’s primary cultural districts.  The goals of the CIIF are sustaining the local economy by promoting development, revitalization and tourism; making strategic cultural investments; and, strengthening the cultural ecosystem.

 

The CIIF provides support to cultural organizations that use the arts as a tool for economic development, job creation and growth of cultural tourism, within the five communities of Upper Manhattan.  Primary means of support include funding and provision of technical assistance.

 

 

 

 

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