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Chicago Region Artistic Vitality Grants

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:

07/27/18 11:59 PM CT


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Grants ranging from $2,000 to $10,500 to Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin nonprofit arts organizations in the Greater Chicago region to support general operations. Prospective applicants must contact program staff prior to applying.

The Greater Chicago region includes the following states and counties:
- Illinois: McHenry, Lake, Kane, DuPage, Cook, Will, Kendall, and Grundy Counties
- Indiana: Lake, Porter, and LaPorta Counties
- Wisconsin: Walworth and Kenosha Counties

In addition to general operating support, GDDF offers the following opportunities for Chicago Region Artistic Vitality grantees.

Technical assistance grant:
- You must be a current Chicago Region Gen Ops grant recipient to be eligible for a TAG.
- Once you’ve identified a class or workshop, contact Chicago Program Officer, Ellen Wadey to make sure it fits GDDF guidelines.
- If the proposed workshop is a good fit, GDDF will send you a link to a brief online application.
- Submit the online application before the event date.
- Attend the event.
- Within one month of the event ending, submit the online report posted in the Requirements section of your online account.
- You can expect reimbursement within 3 weeks of submitting the report.

Cash reserve challenge:
CRC applications are by invitation only.
You must:
- Be a current Chicago Region Gen Ops grant recipient to be eligible.
- Have a history of stable finances.
- Have strong, positive net assets.
- Have a board-approved reserve fund plan that outlines strategies to build and maintain a capital reserve and use it to advance artistic goals.
- Have sufficient organizational capacity to achieve the reserve fund plan and the required match.

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. The Foundation does not make grants through fiscal sponsors or agents.
- You must have completed at least one full fiscal year of operations before applying.
- Your organization’s total annual expenses must be under $1 million.
- You must demonstrate or strongly promise artistic vitality. Determining artistic vitality is inherently subjective. The Foundation takes 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.

For organizations with annual expenditures under $25,000, in addition to the eligibility requirements listed above, you must have received your 501(c)(3) designation within the past five years. If awarded a gen ops grant, you must also participate in our Technical Assistance Grant (TAG) Program. Groups may receive up to three gen ops grants at this funding level, after which those groups whose annual expenses exceed $25,000 may be eligible for continued gen ops support.

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

Pre-proposal Conference:

Eligible organizations are strongly encouraged to attend one of the Meet GDDF meetings.

The next Meet GDDF session is TBD.

Pre-Application Information:

The Foundation must see your work before you can be considered for a grant, so please contact 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.

Proposals are reviewed twice a year. Your complete proposal must be submitted online by 11:59 PM Central Time on Friday, July 27th, 2018 for review at the November 2018 board meeting.

All in all, 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:

More information about the Foundation's service area may be found here:

Information about Gen Ops Plus opportunities:

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 information about future Meet GDDF sessions, contact:
Clover Morell

For questions about Gen Ops Plus - Technical Assistance Grants, contact:
Ellen Wadey, Chicago Program Officer

For questions about Gen Ops Plus - Cash Reserve Challenge, contact:
Arthur Pearson, Chicago Program Director

For questions about the grant application process, contact:
Susan Clark, Grants Manager

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

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