FAQ: Creative Communities Program Refinement


FAQ: Creative Communities Program Refinement

1. What prompted the Foundation to refine the Creative Communities program? 

Periodic program reviews are part of our regular planning process to ensure our grantmaking is informed by and responding to the work happening in the areas we fund.

In this case, we wanted to understand how effective the previous Creative Communities strategies were, and if they allowed us to fund a range and depth of work that provides benefits to an even more diverse group of people and communities. 

Specifically, we sought to understand if our funding practices in arts, culture, and public space  accurately reflect:

  • the diversity of cultures and experiences that make up our region 
  • the context in which arts, culture, and public space organizations are working
  • the valuable, positive impact that grantees’ work creates for people in our region


2. What are the biggest changes reflected in the refinement to the Creative Communities program?

Racial equity and economic inclusion have been a growing part of our mission. Now with this refinement, those outcomes will be the primary focus across all of our Creative Communities grantmaking. One way we will accomplish this is by seeking out more projects from a broader array of diverse, community-based organizations. Our hope is this will bring more of our philanthropic support to organizations that are trusted partners, having deep impact in their communities.

Other changes will be reflected in our grantmaking processes and application questions. We will seek to more deeply understand who organizations seek to serve and the benefits the proposed work brings to people in our region. And finally, we are streamlining applications and hoping to simplify the process for organizations applying to the Creative Communities strategies.


3. What types of funding will be available through the Creative Communities program’s funding strategies? And will the Foundation still provide multi-year grants?

The types of funding that will be available include, but are not limited to:

  • General operating support will be made available through the Arts and Culture Hubs strategy
  • Different types of Project support will be made available through the Arts Presentation and Making, Arts Education and Exposure, Public Space Creation and Stewardship, and the Equitable Economic Impact strategies
  • Planning support will be made available through the Arts Presentation and Making, Arts Education and Exposure, Public Space Creation and Stewardship, and the Equitable Economic Impact strategies

Multi-year grants would still be available based on the timeframe of the project. Operating support grants would likely be three-year grants – a timeframe that has proven to work well based on our experience.


4. Can my organization apply for grants under more than one strategy?

Yes, organizations can apply for grants under more than one strategy when appropriate.


5. What are the refined Creative Communities program’s funding strategies?

We have adjusted our funding categories as follows:

  • Arts Presentation and Art Making – support for arts and culture projects or programs that emphasize diverse and culturally relevant work produced in inclusive and equitable ways
  • Arts Education and Exposure – support for in-school partnerships, grades K-6, and community-based arts training, grades 7-12, that provide exposure and develop skills in diverse and culturally relevant art forms
  • Arts and Culture Hubs – support for general operations to produce arts and culture informed by diverse staff, boards, and audiences that builds neighborhood and regional vibrancy and achieves goals of racial and economic inclusion
  • Public Space Creation and Stewardship – support for creating and stewarding high-quality, inclusive, equitable, and sustainable public spaces, including support for best practices in maintenance, programming, and governance
  • Equitable Economic Impacts – investments that enable public spaces to generate long-term economic benefits for local communities


6. Will organizations currently funded through Creative Communities continue to receive support, or do you anticipate they will no longer be able to receive grants under the new strategies?

Organizations currently receiving funding through Creative Communities may still be eligible to receive support if their organizations/programs align with the revised strategies mentioned in question five on this FAQ page. The criteria for grantee selection will reflect our goal of supporting outcomes related to racial equity and economic inclusion. We hope to support an array of diverse organizations including community-based organizations, especially those who have not historically received funding for their arts, culture, and public space work. Specific funding eligibility and guidelines will be available after Labor Day.


7. Will the level of the Foundation’s support for arts and culture and public space overall be changing? And specifically, will the amount of unrestricted funding awarded by the Creative Communities program decrease under this refinement?

Overall, the level of support will remain the same for arts and culture and public space funding, which is approximately $32 million annually.  

Creative Communities does acknowledge the importance of flexible, unrestricted operating grants and will still provide unrestricted funding under its Arts and Culture Hubs strategy. The plan is to allocate the same amount to the Arts and Culture Hubs strategy as was allocated to unrestricted funding before the refinement.


8. When will the new program and strategy changes go into effect? When will you begin accepting applications?

Information on the new funding guidelines and strategy implementation will be announced soon after Labor Day 2021 on our website and blog, as well as via email and social media. We will also schedule public information sessions on the refinement around the same time, with exact dates and times to come.

We will begin accepting applications in late fall 2021 and plan to award the first grants in 2022.


9. Who is the best person to talk to if we have any questions?

You can speak with any member of the Creative Communities team. Click here for our staff directory of Creative Communities team members and their emails.


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