Art & Culture Grants

Art & Culture Grants

Visit the Events/News page to view the 2021 Virtual Art & Culture Grant Celebration!

Organization Profile

Organizations that are eligible for or have received a grant from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) should keep their organization profile information current in Zengine, PCF’s grant management system.  The information includes address, primary and secondary contact information, EIN #, etc.

To access and update your organization profile at any time, use the following links:   

Zengine Portals

If you are unsure of your login information please contact Camille Halsey, Program Manager, at DO NOT create a new account.

Please note that The Philadelphia Cultural Fund is not currently accepting applications from new organizations. The links above are only for organizations already in our system.

2022 Art & Culture Grant Cycle

Philadelphia Cultural Fund Allocation for 2022

In June 2021, the City of Philadelphia adopted the FY22 budget that provides The Philadelphia Cultural Fund with an allocation of $2.5 million. Although this is a reduction from our pre-pandemic allocation of $3.14 million in FY20, we are relieved that the city is increasing its support to PCF and the city’s arts sector from the $1 million PCF received for FY21.

The drastic reduction for FY21 had a significant impact on PCF’s operations and the grants we were able to provide to Philadelphia’s arts and culture community: 205 organizations received approximately $900,000, while in spring 2020 we awarded 349 organizations roughly $2.8 million. Next spring, with the $2.5 million city allocation, we anticipate awarding approximately $2,270,000. While not fully restoring our funding, the amount is an increase from last year. However, PCF’s final allocation may not be known for some time as the city is considering departmental reductions.

We recognize that the programmatic, operational and financial challenges brought on by the pandemic will continue to have a profound impact on Philadelphia’s arts community for years to come; PCF is committed to advocating for at least full restoration of PCF’s allocation so the City of Philadelphia, and the arts sector, can emerge from COVID-19.

The Process for Determining the 2022 Art & Culture Grants

The PCF Board of Directors, its Program Committee and staff met numerous times since the city passed their FY22 budget to determine how best to approach the 2022 funding cycle and support the arts and culture community to whom we are dedicated. Guiding us was our fundamental mission to provide funds to enhance the cultural life and vitality of the City of Philadelphia and its residents. Recognizing that not all segments of our city’s population have equitable access to financial resources, that many organizations are literally in peril and all are now in the 2nd year of constantly adapting to serve their audiences and communities, we aimed to put our limited FY22 dollars where they could have the most impact. And, as we did for FY21, we would do so in a streamlined manner that would put minimal pressure on organizations so they can focus on their missions and their work during these extraordinary times.

The PCF board thoughtfully considered how to move ahead with the 2022 grants and has established the following.  

Key Decisions & Guiding Priorities

  • With funding not fully restored, PCF will again, as in 2021, provide grants to a portion of the organizations that received a grant in 2020.
  • Grants will be given to organizations whose missions are focused on Arts and Culture (those that received a 2020 general operating grant). 2020 Program Grant recipients will not receive a 2022 Art & Culture Grant.
  • PCF will focus the 2022 grants on small/mid-sized organizations where the impact of PCF funds could be greatest: those who most likely have less access to revenue sources such as foundation grants and are most threatened.
  • PCF will establish a streamlined process that will minimize the amount of time and effort for organizations to qualify for funding. Organizations continue to be profoundly impacted by COVID-19. Staffs are reduced, programming and budgets are in flux, and funds are greatly needed. The organizations that received funding in 2020 and offered a 2022 grant will not be required to submit an application; site visits and panel meetings will not be conducted. The 2020 grant recipients will be the pool from which 2022 grants will be considered for funding, regardless of where they are in the multi-year cycle or if they are New & Emerging organizations that ordinarily apply annually. 
  • Grants will be determined by the average operating budget as represented in the PCF Funder Report submitted by all grantees to qualify for their 2020 grant. The time period captured in those Funder Reports reflect operations pre-pandemic, which settled in just as we awarded our grants in March, 2020. We will in essence extend the 2020 grant for a one-year period.
  • With the increased city allocation, it was decided to increase the percentage of 2020 grantees being offered a grant. A grant will be offered to the 250 organizations whose average operating budget from their 2020 application falls below $800,000 and the 75th percentile of grantees. The average grant amount is expected to increase slightly from 2020.
  • By moving forward in this way, the 2022 grant amount will be based on the organization’s 2020 grant that utilized a funding formula and peer panel scores that are a key element of PCF’s participatory grantmaking.   
  • Organizations that are offered a grant will have an opportunity to Opt-In or Opt-Out of receiving the grant. We recognize that an organization could consider itself advantaged by having other sources of funding available to them, or have sufficient funds on hand for the year. If an organization decides to forgo the 2022 PCF grant, the funds not accepted will be donated back into the grant pool and the community. In this small way, the community itself has a voice in how these limited city funds are invested in the community.  Opting out of a 2022 grant will not impact future funding.
  • In an attempt to resume our normal operations as our capacity allows, and to more fully support the Philadelphia arts sector, this year we will accept new applications which we were unable to do last cycle. This will allow organizations that were not in the 2020 funding cycle for whatever reason to apply for a one-year general operating grant and not be blocked from city support for two consecutive years. Because of the difficulties of the pandemic we will use an abbreviated process. The average operating budget ceiling of $800,000 and PCF eligibility criteria will remain in place. PCF staff will announce in October more details regarding eligibilty & guidelines to apply. Check back here for more information.

Please note that this approach is only for the 2022 grant cycle.  We must all continue to advocate to the City for a larger allocation for PCF if Philadelphia is going to flourish when COVID-19 has passed.

Although the Philadelphia Cultural Fund is operating under unusual circumstances, if you are interested in learning more about how the grant process functioned prior to 2021, please review the 2020 Art and Culture Grant Program description below.

2021 Art & Culture Grant Cycle

The 2021 Art & Culture Grant cycle has closed and the grants have been awarded. Visit the Grant History Page to view the full list of the 2021 grant recipients.

Philadelphia Cultural Fund Allocation for 2021

In June 2020, the City approved a FY21 budget that provided the Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) with a drastically reduced allocation of $1 million, a 68% cut from the $3.14 million PCF had received in past years. 

This reduction, unfortunately, had a significant impact on PCF’s operations and the grants we were able to provide to Philadelphia’s arts and culture community for 2021. In March 2020 we awarded roughly $2.8 million to 349 organizations; for FY21 PCF awarded slightly over $900,000 to 205 organizations.

2021 Art & Culture Grants – Process & Key Decisions

Although the Philadelphia Cultural Fund is operating under unusual circumstances, if you are interested in learning more about how the grant process functioned prior to 2021, please review the 2020 Art and Culture Grant Program description below.

2020 Art & Culture Grant Cycle

The 2020 Art & Culture Grant cycle has closed and applications are no longer being accepted.

Eligibility: Until new guidelines are released, below is a description of the 2020 Art & Culture Grant cycle including eligibility for reference.

2020 Grant Portals

About the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and the 2020 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. PCF is managed by a professional philanthropy staff, with governance provided by a board comprised of arts leaders, community members and representatives named by the Mayor and City Council President. Grant applications are reviewed through a transparent and robust process that includes site visits and peer panels.

This operational structure enhances the integrity of the grant-making process and ensures continuity across mayoral administrations in terms of PCF-grantee relationships and funding practices. Grants are made from a City budget allocation to PCF and provide operating support for Philadelphia-based arts and culture organizations dedicated to creating, preserving and/or exhibiting visual, literary and performing arts, architecture, science, history and the humanities.

Art & Culture Grant amounts are determined through the use of a funding formula; applicant organizations do not request a specific grant amount. 

Among the overall goals of the Philadelphia Cultural Fund are:

  • to provide general operating support to Philadelphia-based arts and cultural institutions and organizations
  • to advocate for the value of the arts in daily life and their importance to the growth and future of the community
  • to promote arts and culture as engines of social, educational and economic development in Philadelphia
  • to recognize the contributions of Philadelphia-based organizations, both emerging and established, that have a demonstrated track record of 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
  • to provide accountability and transparency in how PCF funds are managed, adhering to federal and state requirements as well as evolving best practices in grantmaking

Eligibility Requirements

An applicant organization must:

  1. Have an articulated mission that is dedicated to arts and culture. Art and culture is defined as creating, preserving and/or exhibiting visual, literary and performing arts, architecture, science, history and the humanities. Non-art and culture organizations that operate an art and culture program may be eligible to apply for a 1-year Program Grant; these organizations are urged to call the Cultural Fund staff for clarification before applying.
  2. Have its official place of business in the City of Philadelphia as demonstrated by the address on latest 990 filing, SMU|Data Arts Funder Report, website, letterhead, and printed public materials. The address of a staff member, board member, volunteer, or that of a fiscal sponsor/parent organization, unless the official address of the organization, will not be accepted.
  3. Be incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) non-profit in good standing OR has contracted with a fiscal sponsor/parent organization that has been pre-approved by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. Unincorporated organizations, such as LLCs, regardless of size, may apply using a fiscal sponsor/parent organization if they can demonstrate that their organization has a mission dedicated to arts and culture and meets all other criteria.
  4. 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.
  5. Have 60% of its current operating budget devoted to arts and culture. If an organization’s budget does not meet this 60% threshold then it may be eligible to apply as a non-art and culture organization for a 1- year Program Grant for a specific art and culture program that meets the other eligibility requirements. Non-art and culture organizations are asked to call the Philadelphia Cultural Fund office for clarification before applying.
  6. Have programs accessible to the public (provided for a charge or free). Example of ineligible programming: a private 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 body. If a 501 (c) (3) organization, has a board of directors; if contracted with a pre-approved fiscal sponsor/parent organization, has an advisory group, such as an advisory council, board or committee that oversees the operations of the organization.
  9. Have non-discriminatory employment and personnel practices.
  10. Have three or more people that share organizational responsibilities (paid or unpaid).
  11. Have at least one person responsible for ensuring programmatic and fiscal accountability.
  12. Have the capacity to carry out its intended programming goals through the support of staff, board, advisors and/or volunteers (paid or unpaid).
  13. Have a plan or planning process that demonstrates how the organization will achieve its stated mission and vision.
  14. Be in compliance with all applicable laws, rules and regulations including, without limitation, those of the IRS and the Commonwealth of PA.
  15. Have appropriately filed financial statements that are completed within one year of filing the 990 tax return, if required (including 990-EZ). The PA Department of State’s Bureau of Corporations and Charitable Organizations requires organizations with gross annual contributions of $750,000 or more to file audited financial statements. For more detailed information about filing requirements go to:
  16. Complete and submit a SMU|DataArts Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF) Funder Report. All applicant organizations are required to provide a current PCF Funder Report representing the organization’s operational and program data with their application. See About the Required SMU|DataArts Philadelphia Cultural Fund Funder Report in the Application Tools.

The following are not eligible for Philadelphia Cultural Fund grants:

  • Individual artists
  • Sole proprietorships or other groups that are neither a 501 (c)(3) corporation or operating under contract with a fiscal sponsor/parent organization that has not been pre-approved by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund.
  • Religious institutions
  • Agencies and departments of city, state and federal governments
  • Elementary or secondary schools, public, charter or private
  • Colleges and universities, with some exceptions (please speak to Cultural Fund staff before applying). Example exception: an art gallery or performance venue housed within a university that has robust public arts programming, designated staff, an advisory board, discrete budgeting, etc. When eligible, only the budget for the public arts and culture programming (not the budget of the umbrella/parent institution) will be considered for grant amount purposes.
  • Organizations that are a line item allocation in the City’s 2020 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, 2018 and September 30, 2019.

Types of Grant Applications

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

Applicant organizations are:

  • either an Established organization (have operated art and culture programs for 5 or more years) or a New & Emerging organization (have operated an art and culture program for less than 5 years).
  • either a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization or are currently contracted with a fiscal sponsor/parent organization that is pre-approved by the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. See How Do We Apply with a Fiscal Sponsor/Parent Organization?  in Frequently Asked Questions.
  • applying for either a General Operating Grant or Program Grant

Established organizations can apply for:

  • General Operating Grant (3-yr)
    • Applicants that apply for a 2020 General Operating Grant are automatically considered for multi-year funding that, if awarded, provides a general operating grant for three years (2020, 2021, 2022), on the condition that the organization continues to meet the Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s eligibility requirements, completes the annual Interim Report as required, and the Philadelphia Cultural Fund receives an allocation from the City.  The grant amount will be newly calculated each year based on the score the organization received during the peer review process, the average operating budget of the organization, and the amount of the City allocation.  Applications and site visits are not required of organizations in their interim years; an Interim Report is required.

Organizations may be awarded funding for one year rather than three years.  In that case, the organization must reapply to be considered for future funding.

  • Program Grant (1-yr)
    • Organizations that do not have the arts at the core of their mission but operate a specific arts program. For example, a hospital that has a long-standing exhibition program. Applicants will submit program budgets rather than organizational operating budgets. 
    • Applicants must attach a PCF Funder Report to the application that reflect its financials and activities. Program applicants with a Funder Report representing non-arts programming and financials should speak to Cultural Fund staff before applying.
    • If awarded a Program Grant, the organization is required to obtain approval from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund before changes can be made to the program or the program budget. The grant may be withdrawn or the amount adjusted.

Established organizations may apply for a 2020 grant if they were not awarded a multi-year General Operating Grant in either 2018 (for 2018, 2019, and 2020) or in 2019 (for 2019, 2020, and 2021). If uncertain of your organization’s status, please call the Philadelphia Cultural Fund staff at 267-419-7641.

New and Emerging organizations can apply for:

  • General Operating Grant (1-yr)
    • Organizations that have been operating art and culture programming for less than 5 years.
    •  Applicants must include the operating budgets and the CDP Funder Report with their application.
  • Program Grant (1-yr)
    • Organizations that do not have the arts at the core of their mission but operate a specific arts program. For example, a hospital that has founded an exhibition program. Applicants will submit program budgets rather than organizational operating budgets.
    • Applicants must attach a CDP Funder Report to the application that reflect its financials and activities.  Program applicants with a Funder Report representing non-arts programming and financials should speak to Cultural Fund staff before applying. 
    • If awarded a Program Grant, the organization is required to obtain approval from the Philadelphia Cultural Fund before changes can be made to the program or the program budget. The grant may be withdrawn or the amount adjusted.

Application Review Process

Applications must be 100% complete, and all the correct supporting materials attached, to be eligible for review.

Once your application has been submitted electronically through the Zengine application portal, it will be screened by PCF staff to ensure the submission is complete and qualifies for funding before being assigned to peer reviewers. Important:  If your application is missing required information or the organization is found ineligible the application will be disqualified; it will not be reviewed by the peer panel; the organization will not receive a site visit, nor will it be considered for a grant.  Be certain that all the required materials (such as the current SMU|DataArts Philadelphia Cultural Fund Funder Report (Funder Report), bios, budgets, personnel lists, planning documents, etc.) are attached and correctly formatted before submitting.

Review by Peer Panel
Qualified applications will be assigned to and evaluated by a panel of peer reviewers that consists of artists and professionals from the region’s arts and culture community.  Panels usually are composed of 8 to 15 reviewers.  General Operating Grant applications are reviewed with other organizations within the same range of operating budget; Program Grant applications are reviewed together regardless of operating budget or if Established or New and Emerging organizations; all panels are multi-disciplinary.

Mandatory Site Visit
Your application will be assigned to a peer reviewer who will conduct a mandatory site visit with your organization before the peer panel meets to evaluate and score applications.   The site visit is an interview/discussion between the site visitor and a senior manager (or a board member if the organization has no paid staff); the purpose is not to tour a site or see any programming in action.  You may invite the site visitor to attend a performance or program, but it is not required, does not take the place of the interview, and is not part of the application review process. Although one panelist is specifically assigned to conduct your site visit, all panelists assigned to your peer review panel will evaluate and score your application.

Meeting with your site visitor 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.  The site visitor will ask questions about your application, including the required materials (such as the PCF Funder Report and financials), and may ask to see additional documentation, particularly if the documentation could clarify information in your application, ancillary materials, or the site visit.

Be prepared for the site visit and make sure the Primary PCF Contact (as identified in your application) responds promptly when your site visitor reaches out 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 grant.

Panel Meeting
When the peer panel convenes, your site visitor will briefly describe for the other panelists the experience they had with your organization during the site visit, and how your application aligns with the Criteria Rubric. Each panelist will then share their impressions of your application and ask clarifying questions to the site visitor.

Panelists who have a potential or actual conflict of interest with an 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 or artist; being a board or committee member, or volunteer.

At the end of the panel discussion, each panelist will give the organization a score from 1 to 100 based on PCF’s Criteria Rubric.  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 averaged total is the organization’s final panel score.

Criteria Rubric categories and weight:

  • Program Merit & Strength (15%)
  • Community Impact (25%)
  • Operations & Managerial Capacity (15%)
  • Ability to Plan & Evaluate (15%)
  • Leadership & Governance (15%)
  • Integrity & Fiscal Responsibility (15%)

Please refer to the Criteria Rubric (provided in the Application Tools) to more fully understand each category and its meaning, and how your application will be assessed.

Grant Determination
After all panels meet, the final panel scores go through a “normalization” process. Because each panel will have its own range of scores low to high, all 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.  Normalized scores are utilized to calculate grant amounts.  The Philadelphia Cultural Fund’s Board of Directors will make final grant determinations, and may establish a cut-off; applicants below the cut-off may not be awarded a grant or may be awarded a conditional grant.  In the event that a grant is not awarded, the Board will determine if the applicant will have an opportunity to appeal the decision and, if so, the process for any such appeal.  Philadelphia Cultural Fund staff will inform all applicants of their grant status and any next steps.

Notification of Grant Status
Applicants are notified by email regarding the outcome of their application. No dollar amount is identified at this time, just whether or not the application has been approved for funding.

Check Distribution
Once the final list of grantees is determined, the normalized scores are put into a funding formula along with the multi-year grantees from the past two years, to calculate the dollar amount of each grant based on the current city allocation. An award ceremony is held in the spring where grant checks are distributed and grantees have an opportunity to connect with the Mayor and members of City Council or their representatives.

Philadelphia Cultural Fund staff attend, record, and take notes for all panel discussions so that meaningful feedback can be provided to applicant organizations. All organizations, whether they receive a grant or not, whether they score high or low, whether they’re first time applicants or long-time grantees, are encouraged to seek this feedback so the organization and its future applications can be strengthened.

How to Apply

Accessing the Online Application

  • All applications are completed and submitted online; no hard copies will be accepted.  Applications can be worked on over time and saved after each session. 
  • Beginning with the 2020 cycle, PCF is using a new online system in Wizehive called Zengine.
  • All applicants (first time and returning) will need to register their username and password prior to starting their 2020 application.  Once registered, the user can just log in using those credentials for the duration of the time they are working on the 2020 application.
  • Only one unique username is allowed per applicant organization.  To protect your information from being corrupted, only one person at a time should be logged in and working on the application.

Application Tools
It is recommended that you utilize the tools below 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 Tips (PDF)
  2. Criteria Rubric (PDF)
  3. About the Required SMU|DataArts Philadelphia Cultural Fund Funder Report
  4. Frequently Asked Questions

Applicant Resources

2020 Art & Culture Grant Applicant Information Session (Facebook Live Broadcast 9/3/2019) | 2020 Art & Culture Grant Applicant Information Session PowerPoint

8 Budget Questions Funders Will Ask (The Nonprofit Times)

A Guide to Nonprofit Budgeting: Get Your Basics Right + Free Template (Donorbox Nonprofit Blog)

Budgeting for Nonprofits (National Council of Nonprofits, some links may no longer be active)

Financial Report Red Flags (Your Part-Time Controller)

In-Kind Knowledge Article (SMU|DataArts)

Twelve Golden Rules for Nonprofit Finance (Propel Nonprofits)

Art & Culture Grantees

Art & Culture Grant Program Funding History

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Art & Culture Grants

Frequently Asked Questions

Find out more about Philadelphia Cultural Fund and find answers to the most frequently asked questions.

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Barbara Silzle Executive Director
Camille Halsey Program Manager

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