The 2018 Art & Culture Grant Program guidelines and application will be available July 31, 2017.
Information provided below relates to the 2017 Eligibility & Guidelines.
Requirements may change for the 2018 Grant Cycles.
Stay tuned to this space for details.


About the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and the Art & Culture Grant Program

The Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) was established in 1991 when Philadelphia’s Mayor and City Council authorized the creation of a non-profit 501 (c) (3) corporation whose mission was to provide funds to enhance the cultural life and vitality of the City of Philadelphia and its residents. The Fund promotes arts and culture as engines of social, educational and economic development in the Philadelphia region. Grants are made from a City budget allocation to the Cultural Fund for operating support of Philadelphia-based arts and culture organizations dedicated to creating, preserving and/or exhibiting visual, literary and performing arts, architecture, science, history and the humanities. Grant amounts are determined through the use of a funding formula. Applicants do not request a specific grant amount.

Among the overall goals of the Cultural Fund are:

  • to provide general operating support funds to serve Philadelphia-based arts and cultural institutions and organizations
  • to advocate the value of the arts in daily life and their importance to the growth and future of the community
  • to recognize the contributions of Philadelphia-based organizations, both new and established, that have a demonstrated track record to service, and the financial management and programming capacity to continue providing service
  • to recognize and nurture artistic quality
  • to encourage and increase opportunities for involvement and participation in arts and cultural activities by culturally diverse constituencies
  • to preserve and protect the cultural heritage of Philadelphia and encourage a sense of pride and commitment in the city


Eligibility Requirements

An organization must:

1. Have its official place of business located in the City of Philadelphia as demonstrated by the address on latest 990 filing, information on the website, letterhead and printed public materials. The address of a staff or board member, or volunteer will not be accepted.

2. Be incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit in good standing OR has contracted with a fiscal sponsor that has been pre-approved by the Cultural Fund. Unincorporated organizations, such as LLCs, regardless of size, may apply using a fiscal sponsor if they can demonstrate that their group has a mission which advances arts and culture, has a community benefit and meets all the other criteria.

3. Present at least 60% of its programming in the City of Philadelphia, thus demonstrating a commitment to provide arts and culture to the residents of the City of Philadelphia.

4. Have sixty percent (60%) of its budget devoted to arts and culture. If an organization’s budget does not meet this 60% threshold the group may still be eligible for a program grant as long as they have an arts and culture program that meets the other eligibility requirements. Those organizations are asked to call the Cultural Fund office before applying.

5. Be able to demonstrate a benefit to the community it serves and either has an articulated mission that is dedicated to arts and culture, OR operates a specific arts and culture program. Non-arts and culture organizations that operate an arts and culture program may be eligible to apply for a 1-year Program Grant; organizations are urged to call the Cultural Fund staff before applying. Arts and culture is defined as creating, preserving and/or exhibiting visual, literary and performing arts, architecture, science, history and the humanities.

6. Have programs available to the public (provided for a charge or free). Examples of unacceptable programming: a library collection of valuable documents not open to the public for study or research.

7. Have conducted public programming for at least one year.

8. Have a Governing/Advisory Group (such as a board of directors, advisory committee, or programming committee).

9. Have non-discriminatory employment and personnel practices.

10. Be in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations including, without limitation, those of the IRS and the Commonwealth of PA.

11. If required, have audited financial statements that are completed within one year of filing 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.

12. Complete and submit a DataArts’ CDP Funder Report for the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. All applicants are required to provide a current CDP Funder Report with their application. See About the Required CDP Funder Report

13. Have three or more people that share organizational responsibilities.

14. Have the presence of a governing group of people who give guidance and advice (a board or advisory board/committee).

15. Have at least one person responsible for ensuring programmatic and fiscal accountability.

16. Have a plan or planning process as to how to achieve the stated mission and vision.

17. Have the capacity to carry out its stated programming goals through the support of staff, board and/or volunteers.


The following are not eligible for Cultural Fund grants:

  • Individual artists
  • Sole proprietorships or other groups that are neither a 501 (c)(3) corporation or operating under a pre-approved fiscal sponsor
  • Religious institutions
  • 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 before applying)
  • Organizations that are a line item allocation in the City’s 2016-2017 General Operating Budget OR have received unrestricted monies, pledges or commitment of monies from any City department in excess of $10,000, cumulatively, between October 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016.

Types of Grant Applications

Organizations will complete an online application that is tailored to their situation, as described below.

Organizations are:

  • Either an Established or New & Emerging organization (Established organizations have operated programs for 5 or more years; New & Emerging organizations have operated programs for less than 5 years)
  • Either a 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization or are currently contracted with a fiscal sponsor that is pre-approved by the Cultural Fund. [See How Do We Apply with a Fiscal Sponsor? in Frequently Asked Questions below.
  • Applying for either General Operating or Program support


Established organizations can apply for:

General Operating Grant

  • Applicants that apply for a 2017 General Operating Grant are automatically considered for multi-year funding that, if awarded, provides an annual general operating grant for three years (2017, 2018, 2019), on the condition that the organization continues to meet the Cultural Fund’s eligibility requirements, completes the annual Interim Reports as required, and the Cultural Fund receives an allocation from the City. The grant amount will be newly calculated each year based on the score the organization receives during the peer review process. Site visits are not required of organizations in their interim years.
  • Organizations that apply for multi-year funding that score poorly in their panel but are approved for funding may be awarded a one year grant and must apply again the following year to be considered for multi-year general operating support.

Program Grant

  • Organizations that work on a project-by-project basis can apply annually for Program Support. These are 1-year grants. 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 a one year grant application.
  • Organizations that produce valuable arts programs for their constituents although they do not have arts at the core of their mission can apply annually. For example, a hospital that has an exhibition program. Applications for a discreet arts and culture program within a larger organization may submit project budgets rather than operating budgets.
  • Organizations that are awarded a 2017 Program Grant must receive approval from the Cultural Fund before changes to the program or the program budget are made. Depending on the changes, the Cultural Fund grant amount may be adjusted or the grant withdrawn.

Established organizations may apply in 2017 if they were not awarded a multi-year General Operating Grant in 2015 (for 2015, 2016 and 2017) or in 2016 (for 2016, 2017 and 2018). If you’re uncertain of your organization’s status, please call the Cultural Fund staff at 215-686-0343. 

New and Emerging groups can apply for:

General Operating Grant – 1 year grant

  • Organizations that have been operating programs for less than 5 years, that have consistent programming year round, committed personnel (paid or volunteer) and a dedicated governing body can apply annually for a General Operating grant. Applications for general operating must include the operating budget and CDP Funder Report for the applicant organization.

Program Grant – 1 year grant

  • Organizations that work on a project-by-project basis can apply annually for a Program Grant. 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 a one year grant application. The CDP Funder Report attached to the application must reflect the applicant organization’s operating budget and activities.
  • Organizations that are awarded a 2017 Program Grant must receive approval from the Cultural Fund before changes to the program or the program budget are made. Depending on the changes, the Cultural Fund grant amount may be adjusted or the grant withdrawn.


How to Apply

Accessing the Online Application

  • All applications are completed online. Applications can be worked on over time and saved after each session.
  • Former Cultural Fund applicants will need to register their username and password prior to starting their 2017 application. Once registered, the user can just log in using those credentials for the duration of the time they are working on the application.
  • Only one unique username is allowed per applying organization. To protect your information from being corrupted, only one person at a time should be logged in and working on the application.
  • Established organizations click here.
  • New & Emerging organizations click here.

Application Tools

It is recommended that you download the following PDFs and use them to guide you as you complete your application. These tools were created to reduce confusion during the application process and assist you in communicating the achievements and challenges of your organization.

1. Application Tools (PDF)
2. Criteria Rubric (PDF)

  • Established Organizations applying for General Operating support (multi-year)
  • Established Organizations applying for Program Support (annual)
  • New & Emerging Organizations applying for General Operating support (annual)
  • New & Emerging Organizations applying for Program support (annual)

3. Attachment Examples:

  • Sample CDP Philadelphia Cultural Fund Funder Report
    • 4 year sample
    • 2 year sample


Application Review Process

Applications must be complete and the correct supporting materials attached to be eligible.

Once your application has been submitted, it will be checked by staff to ensure the submission is complete before assigning to reviewers. Important: If your application is missing required materials it will be disqualified. It will not be reviewed or eligible for a grant. Please be certain that all the required, supplemental materials (such as the current CDP PCF Funder Report, bios, budget, planning documents, etc.) are attached before submitting. 

Review by Peer Panel

Complete applications are assigned to and evaluated by a group (panel) of peer panelists that involves artists and professionals from the region’s arts and culture community. Panels usually consist of 8 to 15 reviewers. Organizations are reviewed with other organizations within the same budget size category; all panels are multi-disciplinary. 

Mandatory Site Visit

Your application will be assigned to a peer panelist who will conduct a site visit with your organization before the scheduled panel review. A site visit must involve an interview with senior management (or a board member if the organization has no paid staff). You may invite the panelist to attend a performance or program, but it is not required and does not take the place of the interview. Although one person is specifically assigned to conduct your site visit, all panelists assigned to your peer review panel will evaluate your application.

Meeting with your peer panelist is mandatory. It is an opportunity to present and discuss your organization and the program(s) reflected in your application in the most accurate and constructive ways possible. Your peer panelist will ask questions about your application, including the supplemental materials (such as the CDP), and may ask to see additional documentation, particularly if there is information in your application, ancillary materials, or the site visit itself that could support your application.

Please make sure that your organization responds promptly when your site visitor reaches out to your primary contact (as identified in your application) to arrange the site visit. If a site visit is not conducted, your application will be disqualified and your organization will not be eligible for a 2017 grant. 


Youth Arts Enrichment Grant Program

About the Youth Arts Enrichment (YAE) Grant Program (2017 application period has concluded)  
YAE grants support specific programming that uses the arts to enrich the lives of young people, aged 5 to 18, in and out of school.


To provide high quality arts instruction, training, and participatory experiences to young people (aged 5 to 18) who are most unlikely to access cultural enrichment through other avenues. This includes programming in Philadelphia’s most underserved, impoverished communities.


An organization is only eligible to apply if it meets both conditions below:

1. It is a 2017 Art & Culture Grantee in the Established Organization category

  • as a 2017 general operating applicant, or
  • as a 2015 or 2016 multi-year general operating grantee that met reporting and eligibility requirements.


2. It did NOT receive a 2015 or 2016 YAE Grant

Philadelphia Cultural Fund Grantees in the New & Emerging category are not eligible.
Philadelphia Cultural Fund Program Grantees are not eligible.


  • An eligible organization may apply for a grant to support a specific youth arts program. Successful proposals may receive full or partial funding.
  • The specific youth arts programming must occur between July 1, 2017 and December 31, 2018. A program does not qualify for a grant if it begins before July 1, 2017, or goes beyond December 31, 2018.
  • Applications consist of: 1) an online application form & narrative, 2) biographies of key staff/artists, 3) program documentation and 4) a Program Budget.
  • Program Budget restrictions/guidelines:
    • The Program Budget is for the specific youth arts program for which the applicant is requesting funding.
    • Applicants are required to use the Program Budget Form provided by the Cultural Fund in the application.
    • The Program Budget cannot exceed 20% of the organization’s average operating budget as indicated in the organization’s CDP Funder’s Report submitted to qualify for its 2017 Art & Culture Grant (either with 2017 application, or with Interim Reports for 2015 & 2016 multi-year recipients). Those that exceed 20% will be disqualified. Any questions, please call the Cultural Fund staff at 215-686-0343.
    • Grant funds can support both Direct and Indirect Program Expenses.
      • Direct Program Expenses are those necessary to operate the specific youth arts program, such as program staff, artistic expenses, production costs, equipment, and materials. Direct Program Expenses must represent at least 90% of the Program Budget.
      • Indirect Program Expenses are those costs associated with administration and facilities to operate the youth arts program, such as rent and cleaning. Indirect Program Expenses cannot exceed 10% of the Program Budget. Those that exceed 10% will be disqualified.
    • Grant funds may not be requested for or used to fund the organization’s general operating expenses. For example, a potter’s wheel used in a pottery program is a direct expense and is eligible, but a photocopier is not.


    Cultural Fund staff will pre-screen applications for eligibility prior to peer panel review. Qualified applications will undergo two rounds of peer panel review; site visits are not part of the YAE application review process. The Cultural Fund’s Board of Directors will make final grant determinations.



    • are completed online
    • can be worked on over time and saved after each session