The commercial district on Rhode Island Avenue NE attracted hundreds of visitors during its Annual Fall Festival. Though it was a rainy day on October 1st, over 30 vendors and hundreds of visitors lined the streets to engage in a day of shopping, arts and cultural activities, food tasting, and entertainment. There was an assortment of activities, including the making of s’mores by the Capital Candy Bar and a Zumba demonstration put on by the District Dance Arts. Click here to learn more about the vendors that participated in this year’s Fall Festival.
LISC DC was on hand to lend our support to our partner, Rhode Island Avenue NE Main Street (RIA Main Street), which organized the festival. RIA Main Street is one of eight Main Street programs across the District of Columbia.
It works toward the redevelopment of the District of Columbia’s traditional business districts. RIA Main Street has a Storefront Improvement Program which provides grants for projects such as façade painting, new signage, awnings, and decorative exterior lighting.
RIA Main Street is also a Kiva Zip trustee, which means that it can help guide small business owners on the commercial corridor gain access to Kiva Zip, an online loan crowdfunding platform, in which local residents and people around the world can lend financial support to small businesses. LISC DC is partnering with Kiva Zip to expand financial opportunities for underserved entrepreneurs in the DC area. Kiva Zip borrowers along the RIA Main Street commercial corridor may be eligible for LISC loan matching funds while supplies last.
If you are interested in learning more about this Kiva Zip opportunity, contact LISC DC Program Officer Adam Kent (firstname.lastname@example.org; 202-739-9283) or RIA Main Street Executive Director Kyle Todd (email@example.com; 202-808-9050).
We continue to support the RIA Main Street by providing operating support grants to Kyle Todd, so he has the support needed to strengthen the organization’s capacity. Recently, LISC DC provided a $25,000 capacity building grant to support the hiring of a consultant/bookkeeper who will be responsible for maintaining the office’s financial management systems and for training a future full-time staff person.
This support is critical since currently Kyle Todd is solely responsible for coordinating and executing all of the moving pieces required to produce, market, and deliver the services provided by RIA Main Street as it works towards positively redeveloping the business district.
Our national LISC Business program also has provided a grant to RIA Main Street so it can hire a consultant to manage the planning process for the establishment of a Business Improvement District along a portion of Rhode Island Avenue NE; purchase and install planters in strategic sections of the corridor; creatively activate vacant storefronts along the Woodridge section of the corridor, and build the capacity of the organization’s financial management system.
Our long-term support of the Rhode Island Avenue NE Main Street will help bring new businesses to the corridor and support existing businesses in attracting new customers. LISC DC’s ultimate goal is to support the development of a healthy, walkable business district that will attract entrepreneurship, private investment, and economic growth in the District of Columbia.