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Cultural Development Fund (CDF)

Grants to New York City Nonprofits for
Publicly Accessible Arts Projects

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

02/18/20 11:59 PM


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Grants to New York City nonprofit organizations for publicly accessible arts activities. Funding is intended for programs and projects that provide high-quality cultural activities that are available and open to the public. Funded services can be as different as the organizations providing them, but they will all have a common commitment to public service and public participation. Projects may take place in any of the five boroughs.

The following are examples only of the kinds of services that DCA has funded in the past and by no means represent the entire range of possible services:

  • Creation of new work and/or restoration of existing work, for public presentation within the fiscal year
  • Educational programs in public schools or at other sites
  • Community-based arts activities
  • Services that assist New York City's artists and arts organizations
  • Training programs for artists and arts educators

Public Access Includes: 

  • Programs for culturally underserved populations
  • Lecture-demonstrations and workshops
  • Open rehearsals
  • Maintenance and subsidies of low admission prices
  • Free or discounted activities or events
  • Subsidized venue rentals for rehearsal or performance space

For information about Program Qualifications, see:

Priorities for funding:

  • Artistic Dialogue
  • Audience Development
  • Preservation
  • Public Access
  • Education
  • Services to the Field

For additional information about funding priorities and organizational criteria, see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178877

Estimated Size of Grant:

For Organizations with a Fiscal 2018 operating income of $250,000 or less, awards will range between $5,000 and $50,000 at the following increments:
- $5,000/$7,500/$10,000/$12,500/$15,000/$17,500/$20,000/$25,000/$30,000/$35,000/$40,000/$50,000
- Please note that total project cost(s) must be $10,000 or more in cash to qualify for the minimum award.

For Organizations with a Fiscal 2018 operating income of greater than $250,000, awards will range between $15,000 and $300,000 at the following increments:
- $15,000/$25,000/$35,000/$50,000/$65,000/$80,000/$100,000/$125,000/$150,000/$175,000/$200,000/
- Please note that total project cost(s) must be $30,000 or more in cash to qualify for the minimum award.

Term of Contract:

DCA will consider proposals for projects occurring within the City’s Fiscal 2019 (July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021).

Organizations with operating incomes over $250,000 in Fiscal 2018 will be eligible for multi-year support. Organizations receiving multi-year support based on their 2021 Application must comply with DCLA’s annual reporting procedures in order to receive funds in 2022 and 2023.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be:
-Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations located and operating in any of the five boroughs of New York City;
-Incorporated as a nonprofit in New York State as of your organization’s Fiscal Year ending in 2018, and compliant with annual State and Federal filing requirements for nonprofit organizations, including Charities Bureau filings. Organizations whose incorporation dates are in their FY19 or FY20 will not be eligible to apply during this cycle. In this case, organizations must wait until they have a two-year history to apply.
-In possession of a Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN) unique to the organization;
-Currently certified tax exempt under Internal Revenue Service Code Section 501(c)(3). Incorporated nonprofits without 501(c)(3) status may apply using a fiscal conduit that is approved by DCA;
-Able to demonstrate at least two years of cultural public service in New York City prior to applying for DCA funding, as substantiated by the required financial documents and proof of programmatic activity for the organization’s Fiscal 2019 and 2020.

Based on its Operating Incoming for the Fiscal Year ending in 2018, the organization must provide the following financial documentation:
-Under $50,000: FY17 IRS 990-N Postcard and Signed SMU DataArts Annual Report;
-$50,000 or over but less than $250,000: FY18 IRS 990;
-$250,000 or over but less than $750,000: FY18 IRS 990 and FY18 Independent Accountant’s Review (IAR);
-$750,000 or over: FY18 IRS 990 and FY18 Audited Financial Statement.

Applicants cannot be:
-Individual artists (DCA provides funds to arts councils in all five boroughs for regrants to individual artists as well as arts organizations);
-Organizations receiving funding through DCA’s Cultural Institutions Unit;
-Organizations that have not complied with DCA’s previous reporting requirements.

For information about applicant and program restrictions, see:

Pre-proposal Conference:

DCLA strongly encourages all applicants to attend one of the Application Seminars scheduled throughout the five boroughs. These will give you the opportunity to speak directly with DCLA staff, as well as help you prepare the most competitive Application possible.

FY21 Cultural Development Fund Application Seminar Schedule:

Thursday, January 16, 2020, 2:00 PM
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NY

Tuesday, January 21, 2020, 2:00 PM
Billie Holiday Theater, Brooklyn

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 10:00 AM
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NY

Tuesday, January 28, 2020, 2:00 PM
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NY

Thursday, January 30, 2020, 3:00 PM
ArtSpace @ Staten Island Arts, Staten Island

Friday, January 31, 2020, 11:00 AM
Materials for the Arts, Long Island City

Tuesday, February 4, 2020, 6:30 PM
Longwood Art Gallery at Hostos Community College/CUNY, Bronx

Wednesday, February 5, 2020, 5:00 PM
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NY

Thursday, February 6, 2020, 10:00 AM
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NY

Tuesday, February 11, 2020, 2:00 PM
Sugar Hill Children's Museum of Art & Storytelling, New York

Thursday, February 13, 2020, 10:00 AM
NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, NY

Additional information and to register:

Pre-Application Information:

The application deadline is Tuesday, February 18, 2020, at 11:59 pm. Hard copies of the Supplemental materials must be received at the office on or before the February 18th deadline.

Borough Drop-Off Satellite Locations will be available for Applicants on Tuesday, February 18th.. These sites will NOT be able to accept Supplemental materials prior to 10am on February 18th or after 2pm on that date.

All Applicants are encouraged to contact the Program Services Unit with questions pertaining to eligibility well in advance of the February 18, 2020 deadline.

DCA cannot fund more than 50% of the total cost of a project, and funding seldom approaches that percentage.

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Submit supplemental materials to:
NYC Cultural Affairs
31 Chambers Street
Room 201, 2nd Floor

Borough Satellite Drop-Off Locations:
- Brooklyn: Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation
- Bronx: Longwood Art Gallery @ Hostos Community College
- Queens: Materials for the Arts (MFTA)
- Staten Island: ArtSpace @ Staten Island Arts

Further inquiries can be made by contacting the Program Specialist to whom your organization has been assigned, or by calling the Department of Cultural Affairs’ Program Services Help Desk at (212) 513-9381.

Grant Coverage Areas:

New York City

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: New York City;   New York

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