How big are the grants?

In order to be as responsive and equitable as possible, we are not establishing maximum and minimum grant award amounts. We will not be tying grant size to organizational budget, as is often done. The total amount of funding available is $13.75 million, and we anticipate the median grant award to range from $400,000 –  $600,000.


Am I eligible to apply for a grant?

Eligibility for this program is being limited to organizations that submitted an LOI in early 2021 and also meet the following criteria:

  • Have a primary focus on preserving the cultural legacy of and/or presenting artistic Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) content
  • Have stakeholders (i.e., audience, organization leadership, and Board) with a high-level of BIPOC representation
  • Hold a 501(c)3 tax status in good standing for at least 10 years
  • Located, and serving communities of color, in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, McHenry, and/or Will County

Invitations to apply will be sent on April 12, 2021.


When will the grant awards be announced?

July 2021


What is the grant period?

August 1, 2021 – July 31, 2024


When and how will grant payments be issued?

In order to be as responsive and equitable as possible, we are not establishing a set schedule for grant payments. We will work with each grantee to establish a payment schedule that meets their needs and begin issuing payments immediately according to the agreed upon schedule


If my organization doesn’t get selected for the grant program, what other opportunities are there for us?

We will be working with all the organizations participating in the initiative to co-create capacity building and technical assistance programming that supports their long-term stability and resiliency and elevates their profile within the region. As this is a work in progress, the best way to stay informed of future opportunities is to sign up for our mailing list (below).


How is the grantmaking process “participatory”? And how can I participate?

Participatory grantmaking is an approach to funding that cedes decision-making power about grants to the very communities affected by those funding decisions — whether those communities are geographic, or brought together by shared experiences. We kicked off the initiative by inviting nominations for our Grant Committee, which will be comprised of a diverse group of community members, civic leaders, and artists whose common denominator is an appreciation for how art fits into the fabric of community. The initial nomination period for the grant committee is closed, but there may be future opportunities to engage. Sign-up for our mailing list (below) to stay informed!


Are there any requirements as to the size of my organization?

Nope! Our focus is to achieve greater equity in funding art that reflects the full diversity of American culture, so we actively welcome BIPOC-led and -focused arts organizations of every size, representing every tradition, and from every block of the city.


Do I have to be a grantee of one or more of the foundation partners to participate?



What is America’s National Treasures?

America’s Cultural Treasures was launched in September 2020 by the Ford Foundation, as well as 15 other major foundations, to support Black, Latinx, Asian, and Indigenous arts organizations throughout the country. Their two-pronged effort includes both a national component with direct grants, as well as regional components in seven different areas of the country – one of which is represented by Chicago Cultural Treasures. Learn more about our history on the About Us page.


If Chicago is just one of seven regions of the national ACT effort, what are the other six?

Tailored regional grantmaking initiatives seeded by the Ford Foundation’s national effort are based in Massachusetts, Los Angeles, Pittsburgh, Houston, Chicago, Minnesota, and Philadelphia.


Who can participate?

Generally, this initiative welcomes all arts and culture organizations in the Chicago area that are enabling the creation, preservation, and dissemination of art stemming from BIPOC traditions, leadership, and culture. This four-year initiative hopes to bolster long-term financial resilience and sustainability, and it is not limited to those organizations in financial distress. Please sign up for our mailing list to be notified of opportunities.


Have a question you don’t see listed? We hope to add to this list regularly. Contact us at info@ChicagosCulturalTreasures.org so we can respond to your questions.

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