East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation uses arts and culture in community development

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For 47 years, the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation (EBALDC) has been advocating for healthy neighborhoods where all residents have a place to call home and have the resources they need to thrive.

Based in Oakland, California, EBALDC is a nonprofit community development organization that builds vibrant, safe neighborhoods in Oakland and the East Bay area. EBALDC is widely known for developing and managing various mixed-income resorts while providing social and financial services to help long-time low-income residents stay in their neighborhoods.

The Kresge Foundation’s Arts & Culture program recently received the Healthy Neighborhoods Pillar Award, presented at the 47e Annual Gala Celebration at the Historic Preservation Park.

See photos from the gala

“Kresge’s support has transformed the way EBALDC thinks about arts, culture and creativity – from a ‘nice to have’ item to an essential part of community development,” said Annie Ledbury, EBALDC’s Senior Director for creative community development.

Andy Madeira, CEO of EBALDC, added, “Creative community development has been integral to supporting resident leadership, creative engagement and place conservation as a tool for action towards community outcomes. fair. Applying arts and culture to strengthen our collaborative neighborhood partnerships, real estate projects, and resident service programs has been especially important during the pandemic and as we recover.

The Healthy Havenscourt Collaborative is a traveling installation created by EBALDC. Oakland residents were invited to share their dreams, strengths, obstacles and hopes for employment and housing.

Building and supporting equitable development

While part of Kresge’s funding has come in the form of a general operating grant to help strengthen EBALDC’s Creative Placemaking activities, one specific project is a partnership through Kresge’s BASED initiative, which stands for Building and Supporting Equitable Development.

EBALDC was one of 11 grantees selected to participate in BASED, launched in 2019 to advance community development through arts and culture. In July 2020, Kresge expanded the program to invite six additional organizations to join the BASED cohort.

While there are a significant number of community development organizations that have successfully integrated the creation of creative places into their broader neighborhood strategies, many of these organizations have faced barriers in staffing, policies or funding.

Kresge’s hope when launching BASED was to strengthen these organizations and expand efforts that integrate Creative Placemaking with place-based work happening in cities across the United States. The main objective of the initiative was to develop a platform for the continuous learning of leading practitioners and Kresge staff around emerging field priorities, such as strengthening best practices in racial equity and gender equality. inclusion in the community development sector and the positioning of culture and creativity as drivers of more equitable communities.

Michelle Johnson, Senior Program Officer of Kresge’s Arts and Culture Program, has worked closely with EBALDC over the years to embed the creation of equitable creative places into its strategy, which positions culture and creativity as drivers of stronger communities. fair.

“Our team is honored to be a partner and funder of EBALDC for several years and to support this incredible work in building healthy, vibrant and safe neighborhoods,” said Johnson. “EBALDC provides strong models for integrating arts and culture programs as tools to engage residents’ voices and priorities to shape equitable community development.

“Tale of Two Cities”

Like many cities across the country, Oakland faces a tale of two cities where longtime residents are driven from their homes due to gentrification and systems of inequity. Many residents who have lived in neighborhoods for years are no longer able to afford skyrocketing prices.

“We have witnessed extraordinary work by EBALDC to advance artistic and cultural practices to create more equitable approaches to essential components of community development,” said Johnson. “Organizations like EBALDC that are able to merge arts and culture with racially equitable approaches to economic development, housing, and community services are more successful in creating opportunities tied to residents’ priorities.”

Andy Madeira, CEO of EBALDC; Vicki Shu, EBALDC Director of Resource Development and Communications; and Kaniqua Welch, communications manager for the Kresge Foundation.

Kaniqua Welch, communications manager at the Kresge Foundation, attended the gala on behalf of Johnson and the Arts & Culture program to accept the award.

“For more than 40 years, you have been helping residents lead independent lives… you have consistently demonstrated that culture and creativity are the levers that can help strengthen ties with the place; to create a bridge across racial and cultural divides; and inspire individuals to take action and mobilize for change,” Welch said at the awards ceremony. “One thing is certain, at Kresge, we are proud to learn from our partners. And we learned a lot from EBALDC.

To learn more about EBALDC, visit https://ebaldc.org/ or follow EBALDC on Twitter at @ebaldc. You can also subscribe to the EBALDC newsletter by clicking here.

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