Pennsylvania Council on the Arts Expands Creative Business Loan Fund with Rising Tide Partnership

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PENNSYLVANIA — The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), announced the expansion of its Creative Business Loan Fund (CBLF) to include a new loan partner, Rising Tide Community Loan Fund. The addition of Rising Tide represents an expansion of the CBLF to $2.6 million in affordable, flexible capital for creative small businesses across the Commonwealth. Rising Tide will focus on servicing the loan fund in the Lehigh Valley and Northeastern PA. Funding for this expansion comes out of the 2022-23 Commonwealth budget.

“The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts is excited to expand the availability and reach of the Creative Business Loan Program, said Karl Blischke, Executive Director of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts. “Creative small businesses are the heart of strong communities — creating vibrant corridors and unique products and services for residents and visitors to enjoy, as well as supporting community livability and competitiveness.”

Rising Tide Community Loan Fund is a community development financial institution (CDFI) and a subsidiary of the Community Action Committee of the Lehigh Valley.

“From Allentown’s ArtsWalk to Bethlehem’s Southside Arts District to the Arts Community of Easton, the arts are the colorful thread that ties our communities together,” said Chris Hoduk, Rising Tide’s Associate Executive Director for Business Development. “Rising Tide is thrilled to be partnering with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts to bring additional resources to the valley’s creative businesses.”

Rising Tide joins fellow CDFIs, Bridgeway Capital (western PA) and Community First Fund (eastern PA), which have served as PCA’s project partners and loan administrators since the Fund’s inception.

Launched in 2020, the CBLF prioritizes loans to creative businesses in low-income communities, those owned by Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) or serving a diverse market, and those located in small towns and rural communities. Examples of eligible creative businesses include: craft manufacturers; arts schools; architecture, design and fabrication firms; media companies; and visual and performing arts production agencies.

To date, more than 20 creative small businesses in PA have received a loan through the CBLF. Loan amounts vary from a few thousand dollars to $250,000, with a current average of $110,000. Eligible uses for loans include equipment purchases, production, and real estate acquisition. Types of businesses that have received a CBLF loan include book editing and production, printing, custom woodworking, home goods design, and music production and recording.

Newly released data from the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) at the U.S Department of Commerce help illustrate the creative sector’s economic impact and value. In Pennsylvania, in 2021, the creative sector contributed $28.6 billion to the economy, sustained more than 165,000 jobs and provided $14 billion in compensation.

The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) supports jobs, builds communities, inspires lifelong learning, promotes the Commonwealth and sparks innovation through its portfolio of funding opportunities. The PCA reaches all 67 counties in Pennsylvania through its investments in arts and cultural production, creative placemaking, accessibility, capacity building, arts in education, and the growth and sustainability of creative small businesses and creative entrepreneurs.

For more information on the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, visit the website.

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