Connecting Homeless Artists to the Global Marketplace

Liz Powers from FedEx Small Business Grant Contest winner ArtLifting explains
May 8, 2017 12:30 PM ET
Blog

THE SOCIAL ENTREPRENUER 

Liz Powers, ArtLifting

Talent is often invisible. But as a social worker leading art groups in Boston homeless shelters, Liz Powers had a remarkable idea. What if she could help give these hidden artists a source of income and sense of purpose?

Her idea has been so successful that her company now delivers work by homeless artists to patrons around the world — with round-the-clock logistical support from FedEx. “My brother Spencer and I started ArtLifting as an online sales platform to help artists living with homelessness or disabilities focus on the positive — their talents — and connect them to a marketplace for their work.”

Liz sees FedEx as integral to the success of her purpose-driven business. “Our incredible growth, and the benefit to our artists and patrons, would not be possible without our close relationship with FedEx. They’ve expanded our international reach, transporting pieces across the world overnight to patrons — it’s just unreal to me.

"Being selected as a FedEx Small Business Grant Contest winner was humbling. We are using the grant for marketing and outreach activities that will create more opportunities for our inspiring artists.

"Five of our artists now have housing, and not just because of the money they earned. The bigger impact from being a working artist was the confidence boost, the uplifting energy that changes lives. My greatest source of pride is giving artists the ability to feel empowered — maybe for the first time in their lives.”

To learn more about citizenship efforts at FedEx, visit csr.fedex.com to view the 2017 Global Citizenship Report. Highlights from the collaboration between FedEx and ArtLifting include:

  • ArtLifting delivers the work of over 100 artists facing homelessness or disability from 19 U.S. states to patrons around the globe
  • ArtLifting is a for-profit benefit corporation. For each sale:
    • Every artist earns 55%
    • 44% furthers ArtLifting’s mission
    • 1% supports ArtLifting’s art supply fund for their artists
  • The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest annually awards a total of $100,000 to 10 U.S. firms - ArtLifting was a 2016 winner