Daryl Garrett, Fundraising Associate, Hope Community, Inc.; Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO, UMEZ; Walter Roberts, Executive Director, Hope Community, Inc.; and Kelly M. Burdick, Associate Program Officer, Program & Nonprofit Investments, UMEZ.




New York, N.Y.Kenneth J. Knuckles, President & CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corp. (UMEZ) announced that Hope Community Inc., a not-for-profit community development corporation with a 40-year history of serving East Harlem communities, has received a $45,000 grant. The grant will be used in concert with a $25,000 grant from the New York Economic Development Corporation and an in-kind contribution of $61,500 from El Museo del Barrio for a total project budget of $131,500.


            The one-year grant, allocated through the UMEZ Cultural Industry Investment Fund, will be used to support the development of the El Barrio Today Arts Cluster cultural tourism initiative. This initiative is designed to benefit arts groups and local businesses by bringing new visitors to East Harlem.


“Our goal at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone is to aid in revitalizing our communities,” said Mr. Knuckles. “We are excited Supporting the El Barrio Today Arts Cluster provides us with an exciting opportunity to carry out that mandate.”


The arts cluster comprises Art for Change, East Harlem Business Capital Corporation, Esperanza del Barrio, Harlem Arts Alliance, La Casa de la Herencia Cultural Puertorriquena, and MediaNoche, as well as over 20 businesses located in East Harlem. Diverse in its composition, the Arts Cluster’s composition represents the variety of arts and culture in East Harlem. From art galleries to performance spaces and street vendors, the Arts Cluster will actively engage the community as a whole while providing a structure that lends each organization the support needed to maintain vested interest in the overall success of the program.


 UMEZ funding will be used specifically to support a consultant who will guide the project from inception to implementation.


Carmen Vasquez, Hope Community’ Deputy Executive Director, said, “East Harlem is a community rich in arts and culture that has become influential around the world.  We are excited to promote the community's arts and culture as a way to make East Harlem a tourist destination for many years to come.  This program is unique in that it's not often that the arts and culture and the business sector unite for common interest.  The El Barrio Today Arts Cluster is the proper vehicle and now is certainly the time.”





UMEZ’s mission is to sustain the economic revitalization of all the communities of Upper Manhattan through job creation, corporate alliances, strategic investments and small business assistance.  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.





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.


CIIF seeks to fund service organizations that can significantly position and promote local arts and culture as an integral component of cultural history, contemporary art production, and the local cultural industry and economy; build the artistic and administrative capacity of local arts and cultural players; provide technical assistance; develop programmatic links and collaborations with other groups in Upper Manhattan, city-wide, and/or nationally; and, service the arts across disciplines.





            Hope Community is a community development corporation founded in 1968 by a group of residents dedicated to rescuing abandoned buildings and improving the East Harlem neighborhood. With its annual budget of $7.5 million, Hope Community seeks to create better communities and enrich the lives of the people who live and work within them. Hope rebuilds the physical infrastructure of East Harlem by creating attractive, high-quality affordable rental and owner-occupied housing. Hope strengthens the neighborhood’s social fabric by assisting in the growth and success of local businesses, by assisting residents to enhance their lives and incomes, and by sponsoring community programs.



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March 2014
Win8 logo
UMEZ upgrades to Microsoft Windows 8.1
Biennial Report 2011-2012
Biennial cover pg 2011-2012
Biennial Report 2011-2012
Nov 6, 2012
June 26, 2012
Career Opportunities in Healthcare Program
Jul. 25, 2012: BRISC loan recipient, Jado Wine Bar & Sushi opens in Harlem
Jul. 25, 2012: Jado Sushi

October 17, 2011
October 17, 2011
Dec. 15, 2010
Dec. 15, 2010
Dance Theatre of Harlem receives UMEZ grant
Dec. 14, 2010
Dec. 15, 2010
Verdery Roosevelt appointed Senior Vice President
November 22, 2010
November 22, 2010
Award-winning master stylist Maisha Teacher opens Bibi Salon
November 10, 2010
November 10, 2010
Harlem Vintage receives BRISC loan
November 9, 2010
November 9, 2010
Hope Community receives grant
September 27, 2010
September 27, 2010
UMEZ teams with Grameen America
July 22, 2010
Ken Grand Opening
Grand Opening of East River Plaza
April 16, 2010
April 16, 2010
Morris-Jumel Mansion receives grant
March 15, 2010
March 15, 2010
Acelero Learning, Inc. receives BRISC loan
March 5, 2010
b yet
Best Yet Market opens in Harlem
Jan. 20, 2010
Jan. 20, 2010
Gemini II Specialty Boutique receives retail incentive loan
Dec. 13, 2009
Island Salad Opening
Island Salad receives BRISC loan
Sept. 30, 2009
Sept. 30, 2009
Caribbean Cultural Center receives UMEZ grant
Aug. 18, 2009
Patane Press receives retail incentive loan
Jun. 16, 2009
Harlem Masters
Harlem Masters receives forgivable loan
Mar. 17,2009
Mar. 17,2009
Watkins Health Foods receives forgivable loan
Feb. 2, 2009
Pollen Nation
Pollen Nation receives BRISC loan
Jan. 28, 2009
Jazzmobile check
UMEZ underwrites Jazzmobile's future
Jan. 13, 2009
Island Salad Check
Island Salad receives BRISC loan
Nov. 3, 2008
Nov. 3, 2008
UMEZ provides funding for new health care careers initiative
East Harlem Cafe celebrates grand opening.
Aug. 26, 2008
Dagaz check
BRISC loan is a custom fit for Dagaz
Jun.26, 2008
Taller Boricua receives UMEZ grant
Jun. 24, 2008
Manhattan Neighborhood Network awarded UMEZ grant
Jun. 11, 2008
Jun. 11
Empowerment Zone awards $150,000 grant to Opus 118
May 30, 2008
Hope Co mmunity pic
UMEZ grant for Hope Community, Inc
Apr. 7, 2008
Apr. 15
Studio Museum receives multi-year grant
Mar. 14, 2008
Plum Pomidor Restaurant awarded BRISC loan
Mar. 13, 2008
Mar. 25
BRISC loan helps Citicare move to new location & purchase equipment
Feb.13, 2008
Alianza Dominicana breaks ground for new headquarters
Feb.12, 2008
Fishers of Men II Reels in BRISC Loan

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