Public Spaces Frequently Asked Questions

Overarching Creative Communities Questions

Q: Can my organization apply for funding under multiple Creative Communities strategies?

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

Q: Do I have to meet or speak with a Foundation staff person or host a site visit before I can apply to a Creative Communities strategy?

A: No, you do not. However, organizations applying through a fiscal sponsor should contact a member of the Creative Communities staff to gain access to the fiscal sponsor grant application. To see the specific requirements of our application process, please visit the How to Apply to Creative Communities webpage. If you have any other questions after reviewing that information, please feel free to reach out to a member of the Creative Communities staff.

Q: I am a returning applicant and noticed the application process has changed a bit. Do I still need to submit a pre-proposal or inquiry?

A: No, you do not. The Creative Communities program has streamlined the application process so that initial inquiries or pre-proposals are no longer required.

Q: How are you defining racial equity?

A: “Racial equity is a process of eliminating racial disparities and improving outcomes for everyone. It is the intentional and continuing process of changing policies, systems, and structures by prioritizing measurable change in the lives of people of color.” (Creating Cultures and Practices for Racial Equity, by Nayantara Sen & Terry Keleher, Race Forward)

Q: How are you defining economic inclusion?

A: Economic inclusion means increased economic opportunity and more shared prosperity in ways that can be sustained for individuals who historically have experienced the most barriers to economic prosperity, such as people of color.

Q: What are the benefits of arts, culture, and public spaces that you seek to support?

A: We know that arts, culture, and public spaces provide people and communities with many benefits. The following are of interest across all program areas:

  • Encouraging interpersonal interactions and relationships within and among diverse populations
  • Reinforcing identity and social ties within local communities and neighborhoods
  • Strengthening the cultural diversity and identity of the city/region


In addition, the funding guidelines for each strategy list additional potential benefits of interest. The communities you represent or work with may prioritize other benefits as well.

Public Spaces Creation and Stewardship Questions

Q: What types of public and community spaces are eligible for funding under the Public Spaces Creation and Stewardship strategy?

A:  We will accept proposals from a range of public and community spaces, including but not limited to:

  • parks
  • libraries
  • recreation centers
  • trails
  • waterways
  • community farms
  • community gardens
  • community centers
  • plazas
  • play areas


We will consider proposals related to public and community spaces which are freely accessible to the public without membership, ticket, or purchase requirements. Applicants with spaces that have hours of operation or designated public access periods must clearly communicate their public accessibility for the site.

We will not support spaces that are primarily profit-seeking or public or private memorials.

Q: Are organizations other than non-profits eligible for funding?

A:  Yes, we will consider funding for other organizations, such as social enterprises and/or cooperative businesses, so long as their activities and proposed work are strongly aligned with the Public Spaces Creation and Stewardship funding guidelines.

Q: The guidelines state that this strategy supports the creation and stewardship of “high-quality” public spaces. How does the Foundation define high-quality with the Public Spaces strategies?

A: We believe that high-quality public and community spaces are those that are maintained to a high level and provide meaningful, relevant experiences for those who use them. High-quality spaces are managed to prioritize operational sustainability, including in relation to climate resiliency. Accessibility and inclusion also play a key role in defining a high-quality public space (e.g., attention to physical design, signage, staffing, culturally relevant programming, and other organizational governance policies that promote feelings of welcome and belonging).

We recognize that organizations are in various stages of working toward these goals. An organization’s commitment is ultimately what is important, not that they have already achieved all these objectives.

Q. What type of general operating support is available?

A: We offer limited general operating support to provide eligible organizations with flexible resources needed to evolve or grow over the grant period while improving practices related to operations, maintenance, and/or programming. This support is “time limited” in that organizations should not expect renewals to general operating grant awards.

Q. How much funding will be available for spaces located outside the City of Philadelphia?

A: Due to current commitments within this funding strategy, most funding – especially in the first two years of this new strategy – will be awarded within the City of Philadelphia. During this time, staff will learn about new potential places for funding to inform future funding decisions.

Q: What does the learning and evaluation process look like? How will you monitor and measure success of grants?

A: We understand that it is impossible to predict the future, especially when working with partners and navigating an ongoing pandemic. As grants progress, we seek to understand how operating environments are changing, and how and why grantees are adapting.

If grant terms or expectations need adjustment, the Creative Communities team will work with grantees to determine how to continue progress toward the overall grant aims, even if processes or methods must shift. Such adjustments aren’t a sign of failure, but an expected part of undertaking meaningful public space work.

We also aim to help grantees address challenges by:

  • advising on grant evolution
  • connecting grantees with others experiencing similar issues
  • referring grantees to additional resources


We determine grant success on a case-by-case basis, based on grantees’ ability to achieve original intended aims and/or ability to shift appropriately given changes in operating environments.

Finally, we greatly value opportunities to learn from our grantees because ongoing learning is essential to our work as Foundation staff. Projects that do not go as planned often result in critical learning. We appreciate and greatly value grantees’ honesty regarding these issues; this honesty is what enables us to adjust the Foundation’s expectations, effectively advise our grantees, and learn from each grant cycle.

Equitable Economic Impacts Questions

Q: Are organizations other than non-profits eligible for funding?

A:  Yes, we will consider funding for other organizations, such as social enterprises and/or cooperative businesses, so long as their activities and proposed work are strongly aligned with the Equitable Economic Impacts funding guidelines.

Q. How much funding will be available for work located outside the City of Philadelphia?

A: Due to current commitments within this funding strategy, most funding – especially in the first two years of this new strategy – will be awarded within the City of Philadelphia. During this time, staff will learn about new potential places for funding to inform future funding decisions.

Q: What does the learning and evaluation process look like? How will you monitor and measure success of grants?

A: We understand that it is impossible to predict the future, especially when working with partners and navigating an ongoing pandemic. As grants progress, we seek to understand how operating environments are changing, and how and why grantees are adapting.

If grant terms or expectations need adjustment, the Creative Communities team will work with grantees to determine how to continue progress toward the overall grant aims, even if processes or methods must shift. Such adjustments aren’t a sign of failure, but an expected part of undertaking meaningful public space work.

We also aim to help grantees address challenges by:

  • advising on grant evolution
  • connecting grantees with others experiencing similar issues
  • referring grantees to additional resources


We determine grant success on a case-by-case basis, based on grantees’ ability to achieve original intended aims and/or ability to shift appropriately given changes in operating environments.

Finally, we greatly value opportunities to learn from our grantees because ongoing learning is essential to our work as Foundation staff. Projects that do not go as planned often result in critical learning. We appreciate and greatly value grantees’ honesty regarding these issues; this honesty is what enables us to adjust the Foundation’s expectations, effectively advise our grantees, and learn from each grant cycle.