With a larger budget, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund is gearing up for its annual grantmaking process, which opens on August 1.
The taxpayer-funded nonprofit makes annual grants to nearly 280 arts and cultural organizations across the city, and thanks to some dedicated grassroots lobbying — and the approval of City Council — it is preparing to award an additional $1 million this year.
“The money comes from your and my dollars, directly from the City,” said June O’Neill, who manages the Philadelphia Cultural Fund. “It’s so important that these grants reach every neighborhood, because they need to benefit all city residents.”
The bolstered budget, which was slashed by half in 2010, will allow the Fund to make larger operating grants to a range of arts groups. Most are neighborhood-based, according to O’Neill.
“I think a lot of the organizations we support, especially the smaller ones, were hurt by the cuts,” she said. “Some of their programs had to be reduced or eliminated. By having the budget restored, I know their ability to deliver programs is going to increase.”
To guide the online application process, the Fund will host workshops in August and September, leading up to the September 30 deadline.
About its grantmaking, O’Neill said: “It’s extremely accessible. Everybody has equal opportunity.”
The restored money will also allow the Fund to reinstate Youth Arts Enrichment Grants — up to $50,000 each — that support arts-based programs for youth. That application process will begin in the spring.
“We haven’t been able to do it in the last four years, so we are really thrilled to be able to bring back those grants,” O’Neill added.-30-
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