Free Soil Arts Collective is a nonprofit arts organization that aims to amplify voices of color through art, developing and producing plays and interview series with artists of color. It was founded by Christa Brown, who, after studying theater in college, couldn’t find many opportunities when she was back in the Merrimack Valley region. Tired of commuting to Boston, she decided to create a better quality of life for herself that also was better aligned with her passion. 

After meeting some EforAll graduates and seeing the program’s impact on their lives, she decided it was time for her to apply for the Business Accelerator. She recalls: “I knew I needed help and structure. I knew I didn’t know everything, and I wanted accountability.” 

Besides learning about all aspects of running a business, Christa said that bonding with the cohort and going through this journey with others was really empowering. The mentorship played a key role in keeping her accountable. “Knowing I was going to meet with my mentors every week made me work hard to keep things on track,” she recalls.  

Since graduating, Free Soil Arts have doubled its revenue and received a 5-year grant from The Barr Foundation and another 2-year grant from The Theodore Edson Parker Foundation. Between actors and contractors, more than 70 people have already worked with the organization. “I recommend EforAll to anyone with a business idea. You leave the program with this network of entrepreneurs, mentors, and established businesses.”  

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Photo by Jeffrey Filiault, New England Foundation for the Arts