GRAND RAPIDS — The Diatribe Inc. is acquiring another Grand Rapids-based nonprofit that shares a similar mission of empowering youth and underrepresented populations through art and creativity.
Merging The Diatribe with Creative Youth Center (CYC) stems in part from the CYC changing locations multiple times between 2019 and the fall of 2021 and lacking the capacity to fully serve its members, CYC Board President Kait Polzin told MiBiz.
“The CYC team had been working really hard prior to the pandemic to restructure our program delivery. Through the pandemic, we were already at limited capacity and found it was difficult to build back our capacity and do it in the best way to serve our community,” Polzin said.
The nonprofit board evaluated the organization’s values and looked at similar organizations in the area that had a similar mission and goals, resulting in a good match with The Diatribe, Polzin explained.
“We feel very confident that The Diatribe is the organization that could carry our vision forward,” Polzin said. “We’re really excited about what they are doing in the community, and the momentum and support they have, and the fact that they are focusing on young authors.”
The Diatribe hosts after-school programs, assemblies and creative writing workshops for students in West Michigan. The nonprofit received a funding infusion last month from the National Endowment for the Arts. The $75,000 grant will go toward its ongoing public art and social justice initiative, the 49507 Project, which pairs local Black and brown artists that create public murals on business facades in the city’s third ward, as MiBiz previously reported.
“To ensure the amazing literary resources for young people are able to reach the young minds around Kent County and beyond, we’re proud to be welcoming CYC into our existing work,” The Diatribe Executive Director Marcel “Fable” Price said in a statement. “This will have a great and positive impact on all that we do and on projects to come.”
Since 2010, CYC has held programs to support young writers and publish their work in the process. The CYC is passing on its curriculum and intellectual assets over to The Diatribe as part of the acquisition process, Polzin said. The nonprofit hasn’t operated out of a physical location in recent years, but materials the CYC has in storage as well as financial assets will be transferred to The Diatribe, Polzin said.
Those assets under the deal were undisclosed.
“It’s not a lot, but we are passing that all along to The Diatribe, and they will also acquire contacts we have in our database and information about our stakeholders, community business partners, donors and those relationships that the CYC has worked for years to build and cultivate,” Polzin said.
Polzin will serve as CYC board president through August. The CYC currently has no staff members, and it’s still unclear whether any CYC board members or volunteers will continue their work under The Diatribe.
“It’s extremely important to me that this community promotes and invests in the arts for the benefit and health of our community,” Polzin said. “This is crucial work and bears out the most rich results. I am really proud and happy to know The Diatribe is willing to carry this work forward.”
The Diatribe plans to put down roots in the 49507 area by breaking ground next year on a mixed-use building to house the nonprofit’s offices. The project will include apartments and a performing arts venue at 2040 S. Division Ave.
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