creative county initiative


Due to the COVID-19 crisis, CCI’s 2020 Partnership grant cycle is postponed until further notice. The CCI Steering Committee and ECCF staff are committed to supporting the arts and culture community of Essex County during this crisis.

our commitment

Through 2022, ECCF will invest over $400,000 in new collaborative placemaking and public art projects encouraging partnerships between the arts, municipal, business, and philanthropic sectors.

our goals for creative county grants
  • Deepen engagement and investment in the creative sector
  • Enhance the visibility, reputation and new funding avenues for the arts
  • Inspire collaborative placemaking and public art projects by providing tools, templates, and best practices
  • Increase capacity for cross-sector work and leadership development

meet the creative county initiative phase 1 grantees

In 2019 ECCF invested more than $300,000 in the 12 collaborative art and culture projects below. Learn more.

Creative County Initiative Phase 1 grantees laid out

ECCF’s Creative County work is powered by the contributions of our generous community.

arts and culture


Creative County Monthly Meet Ups

Creative County Initiative Monthly Meet Ups Hosted by Karen Ristuben, Program Director for the Creative County Initiative and John Andrews, founder of Creative Collective MA These monthly Meet Ups are a casual opportunity to meet your creative peers for both open...

You…your community…your stories!

Merrimack Valley: Place and Meaning 2020 is an opportunity to reflect upon and map those spaces, places, and activities that you value – and where you find community, culture, and connection.

ECCF Announces Arts Grant Recipients and Additional Funding

Danvers, MA — Essex County Community Foundation announced today that it is once again processing grant applications to the Essex County Artist Fund and the Essex County Creative Nonprofit Resiliency Grant Program. The funds, established in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, are part of ECCF’s Creative County Initiative (CCI) to support Essex County’s creative ecosystem

North Shore Conversations w/ Stratton Lloyd & Karen Ristuben

Thank you to North Shore Alliance for hosting ECCF’s COO and VP for Community Leadership, Stratton Lloyd, and Creative County Initiative Program Director, Karen Ristuben, on its weekly show, North Shore Conversations, to talk about the effects of COVID-19 on arts organizations and what the Creative County Initiative has done in response.

Essex County Creative Nonprofit Resiliency Grant Program

Danvers, MA — In the first week of the Coronavirus crisis, Massachusetts’ nonprofit cultural organizations reported a loss of $55.7 million from event cancellations, layoffs, and venue closures. As this health crisis continues, the future of these organizations – which helps bring our communities to life – is becoming direr. Today, to support the nonprofits that inspire and lift us up, Essex County Community Foundation (ECCF) is announcing the creation of the Essex County Creative Nonprofit Resiliency Grant Program (the program).

get in touch

Karen Ristuben headshot

Karen Ristuben

Program Director
Creative County Initiative

Attendees at the Illumincion event

community voices

“The work of ECCF’s Creative County Initiative to illuminate the Ayer Mill Clock Tower, provide funding for the Lawrence Public Library mural project, and support Iluminaçion Lawrence overall is a powerful catalyst to celebrate the city’s spirit of resilience and incredible sense of community.”


how can we help?

We would love to hear from you.

ECCF Logo in White Overlay


  1. 175 Andover Street, Suite 101
    Danvers, Massachusetts 01923