Ameren Missouri, together with the Arts and Education Council, is launching a new grant program to provide funding for nonprofit arts organizations. The AmerenCares Equity in the Arts Philanthropic Grant Program will award one-year gifts of at least $5,000 to historically underrepresented and underfunded nonprofit organizations that are racially and ethnically diverse.

“We believe in powering strong communities, and research shows that residents who are engaged in the arts have a stronger and more positive connection to their region,” said Gwen Mizell, vice president, chief sustainability and diversity officer at Ameren. “Our investment in underrepresented arts programs is an important step toward building stronger, more inclusive and equitable communities, as a strong, diverse arts community helps attract people to our region and bolsters new opportunities for the local economy.”

Small nonprofits, particularly arts and culture organizations serving local communities, were more severely impacted by COVID-19 than most other types of nonprofits, according to a recent study by the Urban Institute. Additionally, organizations serving urban areas were more likely to experience decreases in donations during 2020.

“Access to arts and culture programs that celebrate diversity have never been more important, and many of the regional nonprofits running these programs are still recovering from the challenges of the last two years,” said Jessireé Jenkins, manager of grants and programs for the Arts and Education Council. “The AmerenCares Equity in the Arts program is an intentional collaboration that has the potential to deepen our reach within communities and organizations that have not had the opportunity to develop a relationship with the Arts and Education Council."

The AmerenCares Equity in the Arts Grant Program application period runs through July 15, 2022. Primary focus areas for potential grantees will include music, dance, poetry, painting, writing, theater/drama, sculpture, drawing and photography. Only arts and culture organizations with racially and ethnically diverse leaders at the decision-making level that are both located in and serving Ameren Missouri’s service territory are eligible to receive a grant. To view the full eligibility criteria and apply, visit KeepArtHappening.org/amerencares-equity-arts.