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Priorities and Guidelines

Do You Have Questions?

Contact the Philadelphia Cultural Fund with questions regarding eligibility, process, and deadlines.

June O'Neill, Manager
1528 Walnut Street, Suite 1004
Philadelphia, PA 19102

P: 267-242-8150
E: info@philaculturalfund.org

 

Overview / Guidelines

Introduction

The Philadelphia Cultural Fund celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2013.  As PCF made its 20th round of grants, the board of directors was engaged in a strategic planning process which included a review of the first 20 years of grantmaking, a survey of the grantees, and a plan to move forward which embraces the changes and challenges in Philadelphia’s current arts ecology.

The response to our survey was an amazing 87%.  We learned a great deal about what our grantees value and where they feel they need the most assistance.  The changes that PCF has made to its grants policies and processes are in direct response to the information obtained from the survey results.

In addition to using the feedback from the survey, the PCF board asked various members of the grantee community to join the Grants Committee of the board to help design the changes.  This enlarged Grants Committee of 15 people worked in sub-committees and as a group to develop the application changes and additional programs for 2014.

The changes for 2014 include:

  • Multi-year grants (3 years)
  • One year grants for organizations that work on a project basis (rather than operate year-round)
  • Grant categories defined by budget size (rather than by discipline)
  • No budget limit for organizations requiring fiscal sponsors (previously $50,000)
  • Other forms of incorporation, such as LLC and Partnerships, are eligible for a grant with the use of a fiscal sponsor (arts and culture must be primary purpose of applicant)
  • Different applications for
    • Multi-year grants and One year grants;
    • Small, Medium and Large organizations;
    • New and Emerging organizations (up to five years old);
    • Organizations using Fiscal Sponsors.
  • Revised CDP Report
  • Fiscal Sponsors are pre-approved by PCF

How does this affect my organization?

Multi-year grants:  Beginning with the 2013 grants (the grant you received in March 2013) your organization will be on one of three application tracks.

Track A organizations will not apply again until 2016.  The score you received in your 2013 review will be carried for 2014 and 2015.  Your grant will be newly calculated each year.  We cannot tell you the amount of your 2014 and 2015 grants, but we can confirm that you will receive a grant (as long as PCF receives its allocation from the city budget).

Track B organizations will not apply again until 2015.  The score you received in your 2013 review will be carried for 2014.  Your grant will be newly calculated next year.  We cannot tell you the amount of your 2014 grant, but we can confirm that you will receive a grant (as long as PCF receives its allocation from the city budget).

Track C organizations will apply again in 2014.

If you did not receive a grant in 2013, you should apply in 2014.

If you have not received a grant recently but wish to apply, you should apply in 2014.

One year Grants:  Some organizations should apply each year.

  • New and Emerging organizations (up to five years old) will be required to apply annually.
  • Organizations that work on a project-by-project basis should apply annually.  Applications for project based work may submit project budgets rather than operating budgets; for example, an event which occurs once a year and needs only a few weeks preparation may submit a project budget with an one year grant application.
  • Organizations that score in the lowest fifth of a panel will be awarded an One year Grant and will need to apply the following year for a multi-year grant.

What is project based work (working on a project-by-project basis)?  Some organizations don’t have offices, staff or year-round operations.  They do one project at a time, and they only present the projects if they have raised enough money to complete them.  It’s possible that they are working on more than one project at a time (for example, one for this year and one for down the line sometime), but they still only present projects when the money has been raised.  If your organization works like this, you will prepare a stronger application using the specific information for your upcoming project rather than trying to invent or describe “operations” that don’t actually exist.

Categories by Budget Size:  Beginning in 2014, categories will be arranged by budget size.  Budget size is determined by averaging the most recent three years of annual expenses as reported on the CDP.  The categories are:

  • Budgets under $50,000
  • Budgets $50,000 to $149,999
  • Budgets $150,000 to $399,999
  • Budgets $400,000 to $1,499,999
  • Budgets $1,500,000 and over

In order to accommodate multi-year grants, it is necessary for PCF to change from disciplinary panels to multi-disciplinary budget based panels.  Your organization will be reviewed with other organizations of a similar budget size regardless of artistic discipline.  The panelists will be multi-disciplinary.  For years PCF has had multi-disciplinary panels in the New and Emerging category, the Large Institution category and the Multi-Disciplinary category and we find that they are no less effective than the disciplinary panels. 

Fiscal Sponsors:  In the past, only organizations with budgets of less than $50,000 could indefinitely use a fiscal sponsor.  That limit has been removed and organizations of any size may indefinitely use a fiscal sponsor.  However, the rules for fiscal sponsorship have changed.  Organizations who wish to use a fiscal sponsor must select one from a pre-approved PCF list.   Approved fiscal sponsors must meet specific requirements and agree to comply with the terms of fiscal sponsorship.  Organizations who wish to act as fiscal sponsors should contact PCF office in order to become an approved fiscal sponsor.

Applicant Eligibility

Organizations located in the City of Philadelphia may apply for funding if they meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Arts and culture is the primary focus of their mission. Arts and culture is defined as dedicated to creating, preserving and/or exhibiting visual, literary and performing arts, architecture, science and history.   At least sixty percent (60%) of the organization’s activities or budget must be arts and culture related.
  • Office and place of business operations must be located in the City of Philadelphia as demonstrated by the address used on the organization’s official 990 document, information on the website, letterhead and printed public materials. Organizations that use P.O. Boxes as their official address will have to demonstrate that they qualify as a Philadelphia based organization. Please do not use the address of a board member or volunteer.
  • A demonstrated commitment to provide arts and culture to the residents of the City of Philadelphia. At least 60% of programs must be presented in the City of Philadelphia.
  • Incorporated as a not for profit in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and recognition of 501©(3) tax exempt status by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Exceptions:

  • New and emerging organizations (organizations up to 5 years old) may apply using a fiscal sponsor.
  • NEW THIS YEAR:  Unincorporated organizations regardless of size may apply using a fiscal sponsor.
  • NEW THIS YEAR:  LLC’s, partnerships or other for-profit entities may apply using a fiscal sponsor if they can demonstrate that the organization has a mission which advances arts and culture and has a community benefit.
  • Must have a Governing/Advisory Group (such as a board of directors, advisory committee, or programming committee). Ideally the composition of this group represents the diversity of the broader community.   This may not apply to established entities using a fiscal sponsor. 
  • Must have programs available to the public (OK to charge for them) and attended by a broad range of participants. Examples of unacceptable programs: a library collection of valuable documents not open to the public for study or research.
  • Non-discriminatory employment and personnel practices.
  • Must be in compliance with IRS 990 regulations or IRS 1065 and 1023 regulations.
  • Audited financial statements, if required, must be completed within 1 year of the filing of the 990 tax return.  The Bureau of Charitable Organizations requires organizations that raise $300,000 or more in contributed income to obtain a financial audit.
  • NEW THIS YEAR:  For-profit organizations with budgets of $300,000 and over must obtain audited financial statements (for 2014 only, the audit may be completed and submitted after the deadline date September 30).

 

New and/or Emerging Organizations (up to five years old)

What constitutes an organization?

  • Three or more people
  • An articulated artistic or cultural mission and vision and demonstrated community benefit
  • The presence of a governing group of people who give guidance and advice (a board or committee)
  • At least one person responsible for ensuring programmatic and fiscal accountability
  • A plan or planning process as to how to obtain the stated mission and vision

New and/or emerging organizations are eligible for funding if they meet each of the following guidelines:

  • Arts and culture is the primary focus of their mission. Arts and culture is defined as dedicated to creating, preserving and/or exhibiting visual, literary and performing arts, architecture, science and history. Sixty percent (60%) of the organization’s activities or budget must be arts and culture related.
  • The organization has a demonstrated track record of public programming.
  • The organization has the capacity to carry out its stated programming goals through the support of staff, board and/or volunteers.
  • Office and place of business operations must be located in the City of Philadelphia
  • Sixty percent (60%) of programs must be presented in the City of Philadelphia.
  • Must have a Governing/Advisory Group (such as a board of directors, advisory committee, or programming committee). Ideally the composition of this group represents the diversity of the broader community.
  • Non discriminatory employment and personnel practices.
  • The organization may use a fiscal sponsor for in lieu of having its own 501©3 status.  The fiscal sponsor must be selected from a pre-approved list.  If your fiscal sponsor is not on the list, they must contact PCF and apply to be an approved fiscal sponsor.  Or you must select another fiscal sponsor.  

Ineligible Applicants

The following are not eligible for Cultural Fund grants:

  • Individual artists.
  • Sole proprietorships.
  • Organizations whose primary purpose is not arts and culture.
  • Agencies and departments of city, state and federal governments.
  • Public or private elementary or secondary schools, colleges and universities with some exceptions (please speak to PCF staff about these exceptions).
  • Institutions that receive ongoing operating support from the City through the recreation department, Councilman offices, Mayor’s office or any other City department.
  • Organizations that receive support from the City’s Activities Fund
  • Organizations whose offices and/or place of business are located outside the City of Philadelphia.
  • Organizations whose programs are held primarily outside the City of Philadelphia.

Application Criteria

  • In evaluating grant applications, the peer panel will consider the following criteria:
  • Mission and Programs (15%)
  • Community Impact (25%)
  • Board Leadership (15%)
  • Operations and Management (15%)
  • Financial Systems and Health (15%)
  • Ability to Plan and Evaluate (15%)

Although at first glance it appears that mission, programs and community impact make up less than half of the criteria value, the assignment of percentages is designed so that organizations with very strong scores in the first two criteria can receive minimum scores in the remaining four criteria and still receive a grant.  For example, with perfect scores in the first two criteria (15 and 25) an organization will have 40 points.  If the remaining four categories receive only 7 or 8 points each, the final score will be between 68 and 72, which will probably result in a grant.  Sixty percent (60%) of the score was derived from the first two categories.  However, if an organization receives very low scores in the final four criteria, regardless of how well it scores in the first two categories, it cannot successfully score high enough for a grant.  Although mission, programs and community impact are essential criteria, it is also vital that the organization have the necessary skills to manage the institution and/or programs.  There are countless examples of organization with fine programs and excellent artistic products that no longer exist because the management infrastructure was weak.  Because PCF grants come from public money, it is imperative that grants be made only to those organizations with whom we are confident can manage their institution and/or programs.

 

Categories of Application - NEW THIS YEAR

Grant applications are reviewed by peer panel process.  Panelists include artists and arts professionals in the Philadelphia area.  Each panel will be multi-disciplinary.

Beginning in 2014, categories will be arranged by budget size.  Budget size is determined by averaging the most recent three years of annual expenses as reported on the CDP.  The categories are:

  • Budgets under $50,000
  • Budgets $50,000 to $149,999
  • Budgets $150,000 to $399,999
  • Budgets $400,000 to $1,499,999
  • Budgets $1,500,000 and over

How your Application will be Reviewed

DEADLINE: Applications must be completed online no later than 11:59 pm September 30, 2013.

Applications will be checked by the staff to ensure the application is complete. Applications that are missing required materials will not be reviewed. Applications that do not include the organization’s CDP PCF Funder Report will not be reviewed. In the past, incomplete applications have been allowed an opportunity to “make up” any deficiencies.  There will be no such opportunities this year.

Your application will be assigned to a peer panelist, who will contact your organization to schedule a site visit to your organization. A site visit should involve an interview with senior management and/or a board member. It may also include the panelist’s attendance at a performance or program. While one person is assigned to make the site visit, all panelists will review and read your application.

Meeting with your peer panelist is mandatory.  It is an opportunity to present and discuss the organization’s programs and accomplishments over the past year in the most positive and constructive way possible. Panelists who experience difficulties may not leave the visit with an overall favorable response to the organization. Please make sure to respond promptly to the peer panelist when they are trying to set up an appointment. Please try not to forget your appointment, keep your peer panelist waiting (remember their time is valuable also), or use the visit to complain about city funding or previous grant amounts.

When the panel convenes, the visiting panelist will describe for the others the experience he/she had with your organization during the site visit. Each panelist will then share their impressions of your application, and any direct experience they may have had with your organization over the past year. Panelists who have a conflict of interest with the organization will be asked to leave the room prior to the discussion and scoring. Examples of conflicts of interest are: being an employee or paid consultant; being a board or committee member or a volunteer.

At the end of the panel discussion, each panelist will be asked to give the organization a score from 1 to 100. A score of 90 – 100 is superior; 80 – 89 excellent; 70-79 good; 60-69 fair; below 60 poor. All the scores are added together, then divided by the number of panelists, in order to get an average. This is the final panel score.

At this point, all final panel scores go through a “normalization” process.  Because each panel will have its own range of scores low to high, the panels are compared against each other (mathematically) and scores are adjusted up or down so that the mean score of each panel is normalized.

The final normalized score is used by a statistician to calculate the grant amount for those organizations who receive awards.

CULTURAL DATA PROJECT

Philadelphia Cultural Fund partners with the Cultural Data Project (CDP). PCF, along with other funders in Pennsylvania, now requires applicants to complete a Data Profile annually through the Pennsylvania CDP website.

You will use the information you enter into the Data Profile to produce the PCF Funder Report, which must be attached to your online application. Other reports generated from CDP will not be accepted! Please make certain you have the correct report!

The Pennsylvania CDP will provide the cultural community with consistent, reliable, comprehensive data on arts and culture in Pennsylvania, and enable organizations to view trends in their data, benchmark themselves against peer organizations, and enhance their financial management capacity.

For more information about the Pennsylvania Cultural Data Project, please see www.pacdp.org.

Instructions for New Users of the Pennsylvania CDP:

Go to www.pacdp.org and click on “Register” which takes you to “New User Registration.”

Create new Data Profile. Complete a Data Profile for each of the FOUR most recently completed fiscal years; start with the earliest year.

Enter data using your board-approved financial audit/review or year-end financial statements.

If your organization is not audited/reviewed, enter data based on board-approved year-end financial statements.

If your organization is an arts program/department within larger institution, enter data based on internal financial statements of the arts program/department and indicate that you have a parent organization in Section 1.

DO NOT enter project budgets, budgets for future years, or data from incomplete or not-yet-approved audits/reviews/financial statements.

When finished entering data, click on Submit/Error Check; address any errors and call the Help Desk if you have questions.

Instructions for those who have used Pennsylvania CDP in the past:

Enter data for the most recently completed fiscal year using your board-approved financial audit/review or year-end financial statements. You must have FOUR YEARS of consecutive data, unless your organization was formed three years ago or less. If you do not have four years of data, your application will not be reviewed.

If your organization is not audited/reviewed, enter data based on board-approved year-end financial statements.

If your organization is an arts program/department within a larger institution, enter data based on internal financial statements of the arts program/department and indicate that you have a parent organization in Section 1.

DO NOT enter project budgets, budgets for future years, or data from incomplete or not-yet-approved audits/reviews/financial statements.

Instructions on how to generate the PCF Funder Report:

On “My CDP”, go to the Funders Reports section, select the fiscal year for the report and click on “GO”. Click on the link for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund to generate the report and print [or save and upload to the online application].

Review your Funder Report; if you need to make changes, call the Help Desk. Please note that the cover page requires a signature from an officer of your organization.

Include the Funder Report along with your Philadelphia Cultural Fund application materials.

You must have FOUR YEARS of financial data on your Funder Report (unless your organization was formed three years ago or less). If your report does not contain four years of date, your application will not be reviewed.

Please Note: As part of the effort to ensure the accuracy of your data, throughout the year the Pennsylvania CDP Help Desk will review each of your submitted Data Profile(s) and contact you with suggested revisions. It is your responsibility to respond to the Help Desk and to make any necessary changes to the submitted Cultural Data Profile(s). This process will not interfere with your ability to run Funder Reports and apply for grants.

Pennsylvania CDP Resources

Please direct questions concerning the Cultural Data Profile to:

Pennsylvania CDP Help Desk
P: 1-866-21-PACDP
E: help@pacdp.org
The Pennsylvania CDP Help Desk is available Monday-Friday from 9:00am-5:00pm EST

**Applicants not currently enrolled in PACDP are encouraged to attend a training session specifically for new users. Dates and locations are available on the workshops page.

Board Structures

Below you will find several samples of how a board of directors may be structures.  The samples are illustrated in organization charts.

These are only a few options, but we hope that it will give you an idea of how to tell us about your particular board structure.  There is no right way or wrong way to structure a board.  Each organization uses a structure that works best for them.  However, there are some best practices which have, over time, been recognized by the field as significant factors in a board’s ability to efficiently and effectively govern an organization.

For example, you could say:

  • We are a founder driven organization, the founder is a voting member of the board (but not an officer, not the president).
  • Our board has 20 members.  Each member must serve on a committee.
  • There are 4 committees of the board plus an executive committee (which is made up of the officers and the committee chairs).  The committees are 1, 2, 3 and 4.
  • The executive director reports directly to the chair of the board.

Visual Examples of Board Structures

  1. Example #1
  2. Example #2
  3. Example #3
  4. Example #4
  5. Example #5
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