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$327K Ontario grant a big boost for hip-hop arts group

Toronto arts organization Manifesto has received a $326,600 grant to build the online version of its Freshest Goods Market. Courtesy of Manifesto

Manifesto, a Toronto nonprofit arts and culture youth organization, has received a $326,600 grant from the Ontario Trillium Foundation (OTF) to build the online version of its Freshest Goods Market.

Manifesto, the organization which grew out of a series of 2007 meetings at city hall on what was missing from Toronto’s hip-hop scene is one of Toronto’s most active and visible arts organizations.

Working with both emerging and established artists, Manifesto regularly hosts dance contests, concerts, festivals, workshops, and arts projects across the city.

In 2008, Manifesto launched the Freshest Goods Market. Though not a physical space, the market is a platform for Toronto street-ware designers, especially those without a large portfolio, to showcase their goods. The Freshest Goods Market, which solicits new submissions every year, sells wares (including hoodies, T-shirts, and jewelry) at the annual Manifesto festival, as well as at other events and concerts across the city (both Manifesto events and others).

The new $326,600 grant, to be distributed to Manifesto over a three-year period, will allow the organization to build their market a virtual home. The money will also help the organization to grow their product base, allowing Manifesto to support emerging talent in fashion, music and art.

Manifesto’s grant is part of a larger OTF project called the Youth Social Entrepreneurship Future Fund Program. Last month, the OTF announced the seven Ontario recipients of the new fund, a one-time grant for Ontario organizations developing projects to help “young social entrepreneurs get their ideas off the ground.”

“Social enterprises represent a big growth opportunity in the not-for-profit sector right now,” says OTF chair Dev Sainani. “Our research told us that where the Foundation’s investments could be most useful was in helping to build the networks and supports that would make it easier for youth to get their business ideas for social change into play.”

This article first appeared on Yonge Street.