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AHA Awarded 250K by UMEZ

By Jose B. Rivera

(Press Release) NEW YORK, N.Y., December 7, 2005 - The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone today awarded a $250,000 grant to the Association of Hispanic Arts, Inc. (AHA). AHA will use today’s grant for organizational capacity building.  Specifically, it will begin an inclusive strategic planning process; further develop its board of directors; expand its staff; and, enhance the programs it offers East Harlem constituents. Programs available will include, but not be limited to, technical assistance workshops, grants, marketing assistance, and advocacy. The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone aims to strategically nurture and grow cultural resources through service organizations such as the Association of Hispanic Arts Inc. that demonstrate a commitment to sustaining and supporting the local community and attracting new artistic talent to live and work in Upper Manhattan.

“Our support for the cultural industries of Upper Manhattan extends from the largest museums down to the individual creative people who make this one of the most expressive communities in the world,“said Kenneth J. Knuckles, the president and CEO of the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone.  “We know that Upper Manhattan’s unique cultural abilities, history and reputation are strategic economic advantages, and we will continue to support the cultural industry in the years ahead.”

“We are grateful for the Empowerment Zone’s help and proud that it has entrusted us to serve East Harlem’s artists and cultural groups,” said Nicholas Arture, AHA’s executive director.  “This is another sign that the robust cultural community of El Barrio is gaining further recognition in the region and beyond.”

Founded in 1975, the Association of Hispanic Arts, Inc. is an East Harlem-based nonprofit organization dedicated to the advancement of Latino arts, artists and arts organizations as an integral part of the cultural life of the nation. It facilitates projects and programs designed to foster the appreciation, growth and well being of the Latino cultural community.

Since its founding 30 years ago, AHA has become a model for Latino service organizations throughout the United States.  Providing technical assistance, funding, and advocacy, it has worked to foster the appreciation, growth, and sustainability of the Latino cultural community.  Among its achievements, it has incubated organizations including the New York chapter of the National Association of Latino Independent Producers (NALIP), the New York Latino International Film Festival, and Teatro Circulo.  The Association also encouraged national booksellers to include Latino titles among their offerings. AHAa’s offices are located at 161 East 106th Street in the heart of East Harlem’s 106th Street Cultural Corridor.

The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone Development Corporation is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to sustain the economic revitalization of all the communities of Upper Manhattan through job creation, strategic investment, workforce development and small business assistance. It offers financial assistance to businesses and nonprofit groups through low-interest loans, grants and bond allocations. In addition, businesses located in the Empowerment Zone are eligible for certain tax benefits. The Development Corporation is financed by the New York Empowerment Zone, which was established in 1994 with a $250 million commitment shared equally by the United States government, the State of New York through the Empire State Development Corporation and the City of New York. The New York Empowerment Zone also finances the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.

The Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone and the New York Empowerment Zone work together to reinvigorate the distressed communities of Upper Manhattan by using tax incentives and public funds to attract meaningful private investment. Both organizations work to stimulate economic growth and create jobs in the communities of Central, East and West Harlem, Washington Heights and Inwood. For more information about the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone, visit http://www.umez.org.

For further information contact: Christine Ferguson at the Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone at(212) 410-0030, ext. 211

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