Makers, do-ers and dreamers are driven by heart. 

Outside of IP, I am a visual artist and musician. I’ve always been drawn to other creatives, and my friends and I spend our time overlapping and weaving our work together – most recently we took on backyard screen printing. 

As a part of this community however, I often see those who are skilled at their craft struggle to translate it into a career. This can be due to lack of understanding towards how to tackle or even identify the other components that impact the sustainability and success of their passion. You know, that friend that makes the most weird and awesome sweaters but shutters at the thought of self-promo on Instagram and operates on a cash-only basis? 

Elements like grant-writing, financial budgeting or gaining access to space may be driven more by necessity than by heart but they are vital in maintaining creative communities. 

Those artists, nonprofits and various local programs in need of support are at the core of our work at Isenberg Projects, and they served as inspiration for introducing the Make it Happen Residency – a program providing time and expertise towards one organization committed to creating a more engaging and equitable city. 

Photo features muralist Felipe Ortiz working from a sketch to bring his mural to life in a stairwell at Arsenal Yards

I’m sure that we can all agree that we want to support the individuals and organizations that uplift culture, creation and positive change, but what types of support do they actually need? We have a tool to find out. 

We recently had the privilege of reviewing about 30 Make it Happen Residency applications from local activists, entrepreneurs, artists, small businesses, and nonprofits. We were amazed at the variety of applications and the inspired ideas our creative community is looking to put forth. 

We asked applicants to evaluate their business needs in an effort to identify how and who we could best support through the residency. We were surprised at the overflow of appreciation for the application process itself as people took the time to sit down, step back, and consider the components for success listed throughout. For some, this was the first time looking at aspects of their creative endeavor that are missing. Identifying these gaps meant that they were able to walk away with a better understanding of which needs they should tackle to better support the heart of their mission. 

As we work with the chosen residents, Future Chefs & Youth Pride we also want to share our insights on what support mechanisms were called out, and  most needed amongst our applicants of non profit, organizations, small businesses and creators.  

Applicants were asked to check which of the following areas they needed support in: 

  • Making Connections
  • Community Engagement Planning
  • Marketing Needs
  • Grant Writing
  • Financial Budgeting
  • Space Access
  • Permitting
  • Visual Design
  • Web Design 
  • Business Strategy
  • Writing a business plan/ presentation
  • Experience design
  • Strategy

The top categories in which the most applicants needed assistance include:


Making Connections


Community Engagement Planning


Marketing Neeeds


Grant Writing & Proposals


Financial Budgeting

The Toolkit

This toolkit is the first of an open source material series aimed at identifying and fulfilling the business needs peripheral to supporting the heart of an organization. Scroll through, fill it out, gather your thoughts, set goals. 

How does your organization or creative practice work align or struggle with these areas of needs?

Join Our Support Network 

Uplifting the local creative community is our jam.

This identification of areas where support is needed is just the start. It’s our mission to offer solutions through a series of free tools for success and by hosting creative community networking opportunities.

If you’re interested in coming along for the journey, prepare your inbox for a wild ride (of infrequent yet highly impactful resources). Join our newsletter and be sure to tick the box under IP Toolkit.

Anna Ferrari Headshot

Design + Marketing Coordinator