Helpful, Unfettered Gift (HUG) Creative Micro-Grant Program
Under the COVID-19 stay-at-home orders, we have temporarily transitioned HUGs to $100 HUG micro-grants available for creative individuals and organizations developing projects and initiatives across the city that can be enjoyed by everyone online. These can be artistic projects, online events and performances (for-profit or nonprofit, charitable initiatives, etc. Winners will be announced publicly at the monthly CreativeMornings/Charlotte gathering.
Charlotte needs creative ideas and projects.
Creative ideas and projects need financial to move forward.
And, the creatives behind them need to know they’re seen, appreciated and supported.
In short, they need a HUG. And, that’s where we come in.
“Love Bombs of Cash”
HUGs (Helpful Unfettered Gifts) are $100 strings-free micro-grants – aka “Love Bombs of Cash” – awarded monthly to non-profit and for-profit creative initiatives in Charlotte to help propel the project forward or remove a small obstacle to its overall success. This is real money, making a real difference. All of it is at work today in the Queen City.
Propelling Big Ideas with Little Nudges
Charlotte is an incredibly creative community. A town bursting with passion and ideas in every corner. But, those passions and ideas and the people behind them require capital, attention, and encouragement. Traditional grant programs are the lifeblood of fostering new ideas and sustaining existing creative and nonprofit efforts.
But, they can be difficult to apply for and, sometimes, more than a creative need to JUST. GET. STARTED. Often, a creative just needs a little push to nudge themselves and their idea forward.
We asked ourselves, “What if we used a little cash and a lot of love to start as many creative fires as possible as quickly as we can here?”
That’s how the HUG Micro-Grant program was born.
The Fire Spread Quickly.
Our first month - July 2017 - we gave one grant at the monthly meeting of CreativeMornings/Charlotte. It was given to Shakespeare in a Chair.
Immediately, two sponsors jumped up. In August, we gave out three. And, it went from there.
Thanks to our incredible sponsors -- T. Reid & Company, Apparo - IT for Nonprofits and Savvy & Company -- and generous private donations, we’ve awarded more than $50,000 in HUGs have been awarded to 170+ Queen City creatives since we founded the HUG Micro-Grant Program in 2017.
If you’re interested in helping, you can donate in any amount right here.
If you’d like to be an official HUG sponsor at the partner level ($3,000 a month), please reach out to us here.
HUG Recipients (we call them HUGgees) are doing work across Charlotte in the categories below:
- Visual & Performance Arts
- Community Building
- Creative Community Engagement
- Podcasts and Media
- Craft and Fashion
Where do we go from here?
In 2020, we are experimenting by providing HUGgees further support to help sustain their success -- networking opportunities and free training classes, covering such topics as business operations, financials, strategy, project management, self-care, marketing, and social media.
Perhaps most crucially, we keep HUGgees in the public eye, covering them monthly in our media channel, The Biscuit.
We also work to connect them to a growing family of fellow creatives, press and PR opportunities, professional development resources, and a broader platform of awareness and support.
HUGges and their projects may also be profiled in “HUGumentaries” ranging from segments on The Biscuit Podcast, to packaged videos and in-studio interviews as part of our ongoing media partnerships with WBTV and WFAE.
Building the Future of Charlotte One Creative at a Time
The HUG Micro-Grant Program has a ripple effect, boosting out city’s creative activity, increasing local involvement, and advocacy, creating a sense of ownership and a feeling of belonging for next-generation leaders while empowering older generations to “remain in the game.” (After all, HUG recipients represent a remarkably age-diverse bunch!)
This has the ultimate effect of national and global promotion of Charlotte as a city that embraces creativity and nurtures our creative makers and doers choosing to do their work right here.