Ava DuVernay’s nonprofit organization ARRAY Alliance has launched a $250,000 initiative that will give $10,000 grants to organizations and creatives who are working to provide a platform for underrepresented stories through media.
On Tuesday, DuVernay’s foundation announced the birth of ARRAY grants, the organization’s new grant program that will assist regional film festivals, screening series, as well as arts advocates, filmmakers, creators, and journalists by offering financial support to independently owned and grassroots projects that are pushing forward cultural change within the film and television arenas.
Fourteen inaugural honorees have received ARRAY’s unrestricted grants of $10,000; the recipients are all from Black American, Latinx, Asian-American, Native American, multiethnic, and women-centric film communities, according to a press release from the organization. The individuals and groups included in the grant program are as follows: BronzeLens Film Festival, Cine Latino Film Festival, IllumiNative, Sankofa Film Society, Gary International Black Film Festival, UrbanWorld Festival, Cinema Sala, Lumbee Film Festival, Indigenous Film Festival, Black Femme Supremacy Film Festival, Visual Communications, ImageNation, Cinema Detroit and the Houston Museum of African American Culture. The Sarah Jones Film Foundation and Wilson Morales of BlackFilm.com will also receive a $10,000 grant. Participants of the program are chosen through a nomination-only process and then voted on by an independent committee of leaders who work within the philanthropy, entertainment, and academic fields. Each member of the committee chooses grantees based on the candidate’s needs and creative projects.
In addition to helping fund the recipients’ projects and efforts, ARRAY grant participants will also attend the foundation’s inaugural skills-building summit, ARRAY Ascend, which will be held at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. ARRAY also gifted the grantees with consultations and partnered with Bridge Philanthropy to provide them with mentors who will help them outline the needs of their effort or project, as well as educate them on how to maintain its growth.
“Establishing ARRAY Grants furthers ARRAY’s mission to support arts advocates around the country that are cultural necessities in their communities. With more content from creators of color and women being made, it’s crucial to support the organizations that nurture and nourish these voices,” said Regina Miller, Director. “In just the last few weeks, we’ve all gained a new appreciation for the value of human connection and the simple comfort of being together, sharing stories, in a place that feels safe and welcoming. Every community deserves that.”
Paula Guthat, co-founder of Cinema Detroit, said the grant program is saving the independent theater’s life. “The major impact of the grant is that we are able to survive without permanently closing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are committed to keeping the movie-going experience accessible to as many people in our community as possible. However, unlike many other arts organizations, we do not have financial reserves. I never would have known how to go about finding funding sources without the consulting advisement that came with the financial support from ARRAY Grants. We have almost no experience navigating the nonprofit world, but now Cinema Detroit has a chance to survive.”