“Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures” is a multi-year grant program supporting the recovery of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) cultural groups, artists, and organizations with exceptional significance to people in Greater Philadelphia. The program aims to create new opportunities for BIPOC artists, creatives, and culture-bearers and recognize their important and enduring contributions to Philadelphia and its residents.

“Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures” is the regional component of the Ford Foundation’s “America’s Cultural Treasures” initiative, and was made possible through the collaborative effort of five regional funders: The Barra Foundation, Neubauer Family Foundation, The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, William Penn Foundation, and Wyncote Foundation. In total, $10 million in grants will be awarded through the initiative as part of local philanthropy’s commitment to supporting a racially, economically, and socially just COVID-19 recovery.

In recognition of the historic racial inequity in funding opportunities and the unequal distribution of resources among BIPOC communities compounded by COVID-19, the Ford Foundation and area philanthropy are committed to a transparent, generous, and trusting grant process.

“Philadelphia Cultural Treasures” is organized as three funding opportunities:

  • Multi-year general operating grants to organizations that are recognized as “Philadelphia Cultural Treasures” (Accepting Letters of Interest through January 14, 2022)
  • Fellowship grants to BIPOC artists (Opportunity forthcoming in 2022)
  • Project grants to emergent organizations or collectives critically valued in their communities (Opportunity forthcoming in 2022)

From December 1, 2021, through January 14, 2022, Letters of Interest for general operating support awards will be accepted. The next two opportunities for funding will be announced in early 2022.

Eligibility Criteria

Organizations eligible for "Philadelphia Cultural Treasures" general operating support meet the following criteria:

  • Organizations that are a 501(c)3  
  • Are majority BIPOC-led
  • Actively engage and serve BIPOC artists and audiences within the City of Philadelphia
  • Are arts and/or culture organizations located in the City of Philadelphia
  • Have been in operation for at least 5 years
  • Organizations that develop the work and practice of adult artists and culture-bearers (organizations with a primary mission to educate or train young people (K-12) are not eligible)


Organizations must provide clear descriptions of:

  • The ways they regularly contribute rich, meaningful arts and cultural experiences to people of color
  • Their work as it continues and evolves arts and cultural traditions important to people of color—whether such traditions are generations old or relatively new
  • Their continued impact and influence within their community

Application Process

Those applying for general operating support will undergo a two-phase review process which includes submitting an initial Letter of Interest followed by a submission of a full proposal if invited to do so.

Letter of Interest

Interested organizations can submit a Letter of Interest that addresses how your organization meets the eligibility criteria using the application form available here. Questions to be addressed in the Letter of Interest include:

  • What is your mission? What does success, a vibrant fulfillment of your mission, look like for your organization?

  • Where are you located in Philadelphia and/or where do you provide or present art and culture?

  • Are you predominately BIPOC-led in staff and board? Are you predominately BIPOC serving artists and audiences?

  • Who engages with your work and how do they benefit?

  • In your words, how is your organization and its work a “Philadelphia Cultural Treasure?”

All Letters of Interest must be received by 6:00 PM EST, Friday, January 14, 2022. If you have questions about the application process or submitting a Letter of Interest, please email culturaltreasures@sadaoghosh.com.

Full Application

Finalists will be invited to submit a full application by February 14, 2022, for completion by 6:00PM ET, Friday, April 8, 2022.

Submissions from both stages will be reviewed and selected by external panels of local leaders and community partners with a range of knowledge and work reflecting diverse neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia, the field of arts and culture, and civic participation.

Application Timing



Application Open

Application Deadline

Letter of Interest
December 1, 2021
January 14, 2022
Full Application
February 14, 2022
April 8, 2022

Final awards will be announced in June 2022.

To learn more, please review "Philadelphia's Cultural Treasures" Frequently Asked Questions.