Business Profile: Urban Enhancement Trust Fund

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How did you get started?

The Urban Enhancement Trust Fund (UETF) is a public endowment created by the Albuquerque City Council in 1983 to fund urban design and cultural projects on a recurring two-year cycle. In 2004, the City Council amended the ordinance to provide that all funds available from the endowment should be directed to cultural projects in dance, music, theatre, literature and history. 2018 is UETF’s 35th Anniversary!

How does your program work?

Organizations can apply for a grant to help fund their cultural project. An appointed selection committee reviews the applications and recommends grantees. Those recommendations move on for approval by the mayor and City Council. Once approved, organizations receive funding, and the community gets to enjoy their projects. The organizations then report back to the UETF committee on the success of their activities.

What is your mission?

Our mission is to fund quality projects that celebrate and enhance Albuquerque’s culture through the arts.

Who governs the UETF?

The UETF ordinance provides for an 11-member citizens’ committee (1 member from each City Council district and 2 at-large members) that is responsible for establishing program guidelines, developing criteria for project selection, reviewing applications and selecting grantees, and providing guidance to selected projects over each 2-year cycle. Over the years, nearly 70 citizens have served on the committee.

What type of projects do you fund?

We are currently funding a number of diverse projects including the Tablao at Casa Flamenca, The John Aaron Lewis Legacy Project, ¡Globalquerque!, 3rd Thursdays at the Museum, the Revolutions International Theatre Festival, the ABQ STEAM Fiesta and more. Projects funded in the past include educational workshops at community centers, schools, senior centers and other public venues; free performances, exhibits and cultural festivals; audio, video or electronic productions; oral histories and cultural research; and historical or literary publications or programs.

What significant changes have you implemented recently?

We are bringing on a new board for our next grant-making cycle. We are always making efforts to improve the low-barrier grant application process for arts organizations through equitable and sustainable granting processes. Cultural equity will be an enhanced priority for the next funding cycle.

What successes in the past year are you most proud of accomplishing?

We are funding 37 cultural and artistic projects over the next 2 years, put on by a number of local nonprofit agencies and groups that celebrate dance, theatre, education, art and more.

What do you offer that other grant-making agencies don’t?

In an effort to keep the UETF application process in one of the “lowest barrier” rankings, we allow local groups to apply under a fiscal agent without having to be their own 501c3. The UETF application remains one of the shortest applications to fill out and submit for government funding in the arts.

What are your goals?

Our primary goal is to continue to fund creative projects that enhance the cultural landscape of Albuquerque for years to come.

What is your greatest challenge?

Recruiting individuals that would like to serve on the UETF Committee. If you would be interested in helping us identify and support projects of artistic and cultural significance in Albuquerque, contact us!

What contributions to the community (charitable or otherwise) are you most proud of?

Since the creation of the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund in 1983, the corpus of the trust fund itself has grown from about $6M to nearly $7.8M, with interest earnings that have funded projects that benefit the Albuquerque community in the amount of $7,791,306. That’s an average of about $220,000 to fund arts and cultural project per year.

What’s your favorite saying or quotation?

The key to life is having good stories, so go find some stories and share them through the arts.

Anything else you would like to add?

Thanks to the foresight of the City Council back in 1983, the Urban Enhancement Trust Fund is celebrating 35 year of funding arts and cultural projects in Albuquerque, a truly visionary commitment by citizens elected to serve in office.
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