CityArts Program for Nonprofit Organizations

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Program Overview

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Program Overview

The complete Guideline Packet will be available in December, 2016. Please check back soon.

The 2016 Grant Cycle is closed.

We expect to begin training sessions for the 2017 program sometime in January. Please be sure to sign up for e-mail notifications so you receive updates as we move forward.

The DCASE CityArts Program encourages the attainment of artistic excellence and financial stability through general operating support for nonprofit arts organizations.

Through CityArts, DCASE provides one-year general operating support grants to arts organizations with vibrant artistic or cultural programming. General operating support funds may be used for artistic, administrative and program activities including expenses such as salaries, marketing, insurance, supplies, professional services, fees and training. All grants are one-year grants.

General CityArts Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for funding, applicants must meet each of the following criteria.

Applicants must:

• Have had an annual adjusted income budget under $2,000,000 during the most recently completed fiscal year. To calculate your organization’s “Annual Adjusted Income Budget”, subtract the amount, if any, of government contributions (city, state or federal) awarded during the last fiscal year from the total income your organization received during that year.

Annual Adjusted Income = Total Income – Government Contributions

• Be a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in the state of Illinois for at least 12 months prior to applying (must have been incorporated as of January 23, 2016).

• Be a resident company in the city of Chicago with a valid street address (P.O. boxes will not be accepted).

• Primarily serve the residents of the city of Chicago; demonstrate that at least half (at least 51%) of programming occurs within the city of Chicago.

• Have primary mission to create, produce, present, provide, or support arts and culture services for the public. Organizations with a primarily social service-focused or education-focused mission may not be eligible.

• Be planning public programming/activities available to the public during the 2017 calendar year.

• Work in one of the following disciplines: Architecture, Dance, Fashion, Film, Literature, Media, Music, Museums, Theater, Visual Arts, Interdisciplinary OR serve as an arts service organization.

The following are not eligible to apply to the CityArts Program:

• Organizations that are serving as or using fiscal agents or fiscal sponsors

• Religious institutions

• Social service organizations

• Public or governmental agencies

• Schools, school districts, and universities/higher education institutions (some exceptions apply, see guideline packet for more information)

• Athletic teams, social organizations, fraternal organizations

• Consortiums and collaboratives

• Individuals

Beginning with organizations funded through this program in 2013, organizations can receive CityArts funding for three consecutive years in a row before being required to take a year off. If you are not sure if you are eligible, please email Julie Partynski at

Note: DCASE is unable to pay grant funds to nonprofit with outstanding, existing debt with the City of Chicago. Please pay off or clear up any existing debt (parking tickets, utility bills, etc.) prior to applying for an Individual Artist Grant. We suggest you contact the City of Chicago Finance Department to check your Indebtedness standing by calling 312-74-GO-BIZ as soon as possible.

Funding Categories

DCASE is prioritizing CityArts awards to organizations working within the six Funding Categories listed below. All applicants will be required to self-select a single Funding Category within the online application, and will be reviewed within that Funding Category against category-specific evaluation criteria. The Funding Categories are as follows (see the Guideline Packet for more information on each):

1. Foster Innovation

2. Make, Create, Produce, Present Art

3. Provide High-Quality Arts Education Opportunities

4. Elevate Cultural Assets

5. Support Capacity Building for the Sector

6. Engage Communities

Please choose one, even if your organization’s work falls within or across multiple Funding Categories. The Funding Categories are intended to be outcome-based; choose the one outcome most relevant for your organization’s work. Think about the primary purpose of your organization’s current programs, work, strategic plan recommendations or goals and the results your organization expects to achieve during 2016.

Grant Amount

Grant awards range from $2,000-$15,000 and are based on your organization’s annual budget. Please note that, generally, we will not provide a grant that is greater than 10% of your organization’s annual operating budget from the most recently completed fiscal year. Some exceptions apply.

If awarded, grant funds must be spent between January 1 and December 31, 2017.



2017 Grant Calendar - Information Coming Soon!




All applications are completed and submitted through the CyberGrants platform. The application is currently closed.

To view your past applications, please log in to your CyberGrants account at