What do we mean by cash poor?

 In CreateWell’s three years, we re-examine each year how well we are defining who we want to reach. Each year, we receive feedback and food for thought from applicants, reviewers and team consultants. We’ve gone from wanting to reach artists of color who “demonstrate financial need” to those who meet a loose definition of “low-income,” in accordance with the standards set by national yearly data and poverty-focused organizations.  However, in our navigating broadness to specific definitions, we found these dissatisfying. And we apologize, it has taken us some time to land on a term that feels more aligned with the spirit of CreateWell’s Award program.

The reality is that the racial wealth divide in the U.S. is real and staggering. Individual artists face limited funding opportunities in comparison to arts & cultural groups and organizations. Communities of color are underfunded by arts foundations.  And the reality is that an artist of color who earns a decent income could still be cash-poor because of generational barriers to wealth, student loans, car loans, etc. As we understand and use it, “cash-poor” is an umbrella term that encompasses individuals who currently have negative monetary wealth, whose causes fall under a broad range of complex considerations such as income history, debt, and generational access / barriers that have been passed down. It is also a way to specify the resource that is lacking - cash. Not worthiness nor spirit nor character nor intellect nor wisdom nor compassion nor integrity, creativity, talent.