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Kenneth Rainin Foundation Awards $3 Million to Game-Changing Arts Real Estate Organization

Oakland, California – Today, the Kenneth Rainin Foundation announced $3 million in additional funding for the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), a game-changing organization that protects San Francisco Bay Area arts and cultural organizations from displacement. This three-year grant will help CAST realize an ambitious goal to acquire 100,000 square feet of space for arts groups by the end of 2018. With this funding, CAST will expand and prioritize its work in Oakland to create permanently affordable spaces for arts organizations.  The funding will also help CAST continue its work in San Francisco. 

“CAST is a proven model to address affordability—one of the biggest issues facing the Bay Area. In the most expensive US real estate market, CAST has created a solution adaptable to cities to ensure that the arts remain part of our community fabric. This innovative idea addresses financial equity issues by profoundly changing the dynamics,” said Jennifer Rainin, PhD, Rainin Foundation CEO. “We are continuing to invest in CAST, and invite other funders to join us, to help scale this bold solution that preserves our valued artists and cultural organizations.”

CAST is a first-of-its-kind real estate holding company that serves the cultural sector. Launched in 2013 with a seed grant from the Rainin Foundation, this nonprofit’s earliest undertaking was securing permanent, affordable spaces for two San Francisco arts organizations with deep roots—The Luggage Store Gallery and CounterPulse. CAST’s collaborative approach has been essential to their continued growth and success. By working closely with real estate developers, city government, local arts commissions and other stakeholders, CAST helps arts nonprofits survive in a challenging real estate marketplace. Solutions include acquiring properties for lease/buy back by arts organizations, master leasing to sustain affordable rents, and building the capacity of nonprofits to help them gain a permanent asset without jeopardizing their core operations. 

“In the midst of escalating real estate prices, CAST has forged key partnerships and raised the necessary capital to help stabilize spaces for Bay Area arts and cultural organizations,” said Moy Eng, CAST Executive Director. “Through training, funding, and ultimately permanent real estate solutions, we are ensuring that artists and arts organizations who are facing space challenges remain a vital part of our communities.”

With the initial $5 million grant from the Rainin Foundation in 2013, CAST took immediate and bold steps to provide real estate security for vital community arts organizations at risk. In 2016, the Rainin Foundation and William and Flora Hewlett Foundation awarded CAST an additional $1.3 million. CAST used this funding to start a capital fund to initiate an arts real estate acquisition program in Oakland and launch Keeping Space—Oakland, a pilot program that provides technical and financial assistance to arts groups.

“Our artists and cultural organizations are increasingly vulnerable to displacement due to Oakland’s rising real estate costs.  As Oakland grows and changes, one of my key priorities is to keep Oakland’s creative voices as a significant and vital presence in our city,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “The partnership with CAST will help us provide long-term, affordable and safe spaces for Oakland’s arts organizations.” 

About the Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Kenneth Rainin Foundation is a family foundation that collaborates with creative thinkers in the Arts, Education and Health. At the Rainin Foundation, we believe in taking smart risks to achieve breakthroughs. We support visionary artists in the Bay Area, create opportunities for Oakland’s youngest learners, and fund researchers on the forefront of scientific discoveries. Since 2009, the Foundation has awarded over $30 million in funding to support artists and small to mid-size arts organizations in the Bay Area that are pushing the boundaries of creative expression. More information on the Rainin Arts Real Estate Strategy can be found here >


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