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Chicago Region Artistic Vitality Grant

Grants to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin Arts
Nonprofits in the Chicago Region for General Operations

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation (GDDF)

Deadline Date:

07/26/19 11:59 PM CT


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Grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,500 to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin small nonprofit arts organizations in the Greater Chicago region to support general operations. Prospective applicants must contact program staff prior to applying. The Foundation provides general operations grants and an array of other kinds of support to help arts partners sustain their artistry and strengthen their operations.

To Value Small Arts Organizations

The ecosystem of arts in the Chicago region is big and diverse, yet most nonprofit arts groups operate on small budgets. Together, small arts groups produce most of the art in the region. Many small arts groups – especially the smallest of the small – tend to have fewer options for grants. The Foundation supports professional arts groups, of all disciplines, that operate on less than $1 million per year.

To Support With Few Restrictions

Unrestricted general operating grants are the life blood of small arts groups, big or small. It allows them the flexibility to spend those dollars where they see fit. Multi-year general operating support provides an extra measure of stability.

To Grow Stronger

It takes training, discipline and often years of experience to master one’s art. Just as challenging, just as important, is mastering the art of running an arts organization. Stronger, more efficient operations tend to allow more time, attention and resources to go toward the art itself. The Foundation supports the Arts Work Fund and several other technical assistance providers to help organizations grow stronger.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 173120

Estimated Size of Grant:

Organizations are eligible for grant amounts based on annual expenses for the most recently-completed calendar or fiscal year:

Annual Expenses/Grant Amount:
- Up to $25,000: $2,000
- $25,000 - $50,000: $3,500
- $50,000 - $100,000: $5,500
- $100,000 - $200,000: $6,500
- $200,000 - $300,000: $7,500
- $300,000 - $500,000: $8,500
- $500,000 - $750,000: $9,500
- $750,000 - $1,000,000: $10,500

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

- You must be a 501(c)(3) public charity. Grants are not made through fiscal sponsors or agents.
- You must be in compliance with your Secretary of State.
- Your organization’s total annual expenses must be under $1 million.
- You must have completed at least one full fiscal year of operations and one full production season before applying.
- You must demonstrate or strongly promise artistic vitality. We take into account how much programming an organization offers and the degree of professionalism, factoring in the artistic discipline, budget size and where an organization happens to be in its evolution.

Chicago Region:
- Illinois: McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, Cook, Will, Kendall, and Grundy Counties
- Wisconsin: Walworth and Kenosha Counties
- Indiana: Lake, Porter, and LaPorta Counties

The following are not eligible:
- Individuals.
- Organizations primarily focused on arts education or social service.
- Amateur or community arts groups.
- Presenting organizations.
- Stand-alone or one-time festivals, conferences, or other events.
- Stand-alone publications, films/videos, or websites.
- Religious activities, political campaigns, or legislative lobbying.
- Endowments, capital campaigns, or debt reduction.
- Groups that are legally, financially, or operationally part of a larger institution, e.g. the art department of a college.

Pre-Application Information:

The Foundation must see your work before you can be considered for a grant, so please call program staff as soon as you know your performance schedule and notify them that you are planning to apply.

If you are an arts service organization or technical assistance provider that has not been previously funded by the Foundation, please contact Ellen Wadey before starting an application.

Your complete proposal must be submitted online by 11:59 pm Central Time on
- March 29, 2019 for review at the July 2019 board meeting, or
- July 26, 2019 for review at the November 2019 board meeting

It takes about four months from grant application deadline through board decision. After the board meeting, you will hear from staff by email within a couple weeks.

Start working on your DataArts (formerly Cultural Data Project) profile:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

For questions about your eligibility or content questions about your proposal, please contact Ellen Wadey, Senior Program Officer:

For questions about the application form or process, please contact Clover Morell, Program Associate:

Ph: 312.977.2700

Chicago Office
35 East Wacker Drive, Suite 2600
Chicago, Illinois 60601-2102

Grant Coverage Areas:

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Illinois: McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, Cook, Will, Kendall, and Grundy Counties;   Indiana: Lake, Porter, and LaPorta Counties;   Wisconsin: Walworth and Kenosha Counties