The new grant represents one of the largest private philanthropic investments in the nonprofit cultural sector, and will provide critical unrestricted funding to Washington's arts organizations
Today, ArtsFund announces the Community Accelerator Grant, a historic investment in Washington’s arts and culture sector. Funded by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the new program will provide unrestricted grants for cultural nonprofit organizations in amounts of $2,500 to $25,000 across Washington state. The $10M initiative will award hundreds of grants across all of Washington beginning in Q1 2023. Funding will provide essential capital to Washington’s cultural organizations, including fiscally sponsored and tribal organizations, whose primary mission is to produce or support arts and cultural activities. The funds are intended to boost arts organizations’ ability to invest in their missions and essential roles serving communities across the state.
“The Community Accelerator Grant will invest in a stronger, more inclusive, and thriving arts and cultural sector for Washington State by allowing organizations to self-determine how best to utilize their funding,” explained Michael Greer, ArtsFund President and CEO. “As our sector continues to provide broad economic, social, and emotional benefits coming out of COVID, we celebrate the leadership of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation in investing in our industry’s future. It’s going to take all of us coming together for long-term stability, and this is an enormous step in that direction.”
The program will be informed by a Community Advisory Panel, currently under development, that will represent geographic and demographic diversity. The panel will work to ensure decision making is as close to the impacted communities as possible. Awards will be unrestricted, allowing recipient organizations to use grant dollars in ways that they determine and prioritize for highest impact.
“Our shared dedication to a healthy, vibrant, and inclusive community begins with investing in diverse arts and culture organizations and the people they serve across our state,” said Jody Allen, co-founder and chair of the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation. “When arts and culture thrive, so does our whole region."
The news follows two and a half years of pandemic impacts on the sector, which have included drops in revenue, challenges with reopening logistics, audience hesitation to return to pre-pandemic levels of cultural participation, and workforce impacts, as detailed in ArtsFund’s COVID Cultural Impact Study: ArtsFund.org/CCIS. This funding responds directly to the study’s recommendations to expand and sustain support for the sector as a strategy for social impact, and to provide unrestricted funding in support of the long-term adaptation of the industry.
“The arts are essential – they bring us together, help us make sense of the world, and envision the future. While the cultural sector has shown resilience, innovation, and dedication in the face of unimaginable challenges, it has not been without cost. This program makes me hopeful for further investment in our work, which is really the work of community recovery. There is a role for all of us to play in supporting the arts,” says Justin Raffa, Chair of the Washington State Arts Commission.
“I congratulate the collaborative nature of the Community Accelerator Grant, and recognize the value and impacts of the cultural sector,” says Lisa Brown, Director of Washington State Department of Commerce. “The data demonstrates the value – Washington has more than twice the national GDP in creative industries, with more than 180,000 jobs represented. This investment supports our residents’ ability to engage with quality and plentiful arts opportunities, and all the creative economy jobs and economic benefits that come with that. It’s a win-win for Washington.”
Guidelines and scoring are anticipated to be released in December 2022, and the grant program will open to applicants in January 2023. Organizations will need to demonstrate that their primary mission is to produce or support arts and cultural activities. Information and training sessions will be offered to qualified organizations to support their engagement and details will be announced in the coming months.
To find out more about the Community Accelerator Grant, please sign up for our enews at ArtsFund Newsletter | ArtsFund
ArtsFund supports the arts through leadership, advocacy, and grantmaking in order to build a healthy, equitable, and creative Washington. Founded in 1969, the Seattle-based nonprofit has been building community through the arts for more than 50 years. ArtsFund was originally founded to bring corporate and civic leaders together to help establish and sustain our region’s arts and cultural institutions. Over its grantmaking history, ArtsFund has supported more than 650 arts organizations with more than $100 million in grants, and provided valuable leadership and advocacy. Learn more at www.artsfund.org.
About Paul G. Allen Family Foundation
Founded in 1988 by philanthropists Jody Allen and the late Paul G. Allen, co-founder of Microsoft, the foundation invests in communities across the Pacific Northwest to enhance the human experience of arts & culture, center under-served populations, and mobilize young people to make impact. In addition, the foundation supports a global portfolio of nonprofit partners working across science and technology solutions to protect wildlife, preserve ocean health, and create lasting change. The foundation also funds the Paul G. Allen Frontiers Group, which works to advance cutting-edge research in all areas of bioscience. Learn more at www.pgafamilyfoundation.org.