IncentOvate Program for Large Cultural Organizations



The 2017 Grant Application is now closed.

Please check back for information on the 2018 IncentOvate Program in January 2018. View the 2017 Guidelines (PDF).


General IncentOvate Eligibility Criteria

To be eligible to apply for the IncentOvate Program grants, applicants must: 

• Have an annual adjusted income greater than $2,000,000 for the most recently completed fiscal year. 

• Have a primary mission to create, produce, present, provide, support, or preserve arts and culture or arts education services for the general public of the City of Chicago.

• Work in one of the following disciplines: Architecture, Curatorial Arts/Museums, Dance, Design (includes Fashion, Industrial, and Costume), Interdisciplinary, Literary Arts, Media Arts and Film, Music, Performance Art, Photography, Public Art, Theater, Visual Arts OR serve as an arts service organization.

• Be a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) organization incorporated in the State of Illinois for at least 2 years prior to applying (must have been incorporated as of August 1, 2015).

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

• Be planning programming/activities open or available to the public during the 2017/2018 calendar years.

Special eligibility criteria for General Operating Grants only: Organizations must not be receiving other significant support (cash or In Kind) from the City of Chicago or a City of Chicago Delegate Agency. Significant support is defined as more than $1M within the calendar year towards an organization’s annual budget, or support covering 25% or more of an organization’s annual budget.

Special eligibility criteria for General Operating Grants only: At least 50% of eligible organizations’ budgets must be committed to arts programming.


Funding Restrictions

IncentOvate funds cannot be used to support the following:

• Organizations with primary office addresses located outside of the city of Chicago.

• Organizations applying using a fiscal agent.

• Organizations applying on behalf of an organization/program for which they serve as a fiscal agent or fiscal sponsor.

• For-profit organizations, public or governmental agencies, religious institutions, athletic teams, social organizations, fraternal organizations. Arts-focused universities are not eligible for General Operating Grants, but may apply for Project Grants.

• Capital improvements or the purchase of permanent, depreciable equipment.

• Individuals.


Students writing Music on Board