IncentOvate Program for Large Cultural Organizations

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Program Overview

Grant Calendars




Program Overview

For complete IncentOvate Program guidelines, click here (PDF).

The IncentOvate Grant cycle for 2016 is closed.

In an effort to implement goals articulated in the Chicago Cultural Plan, the IncentOvate Program seeks to incentivize innovation and foster the creation of new cultural experiences in Chicago.

Through this program, DCASE provides funding to large, Chicago-based, non-profit 501(c)(3) arts and culture organizations with annual income over $2 million. Funds may be used for planning or execution of a project.

General Eligibility Criteria

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

• Have had gross annual revenues equal to/more than $2,000,000 for the most recently completed fiscal year.*

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

• Work in one of the following disciplines: Dance, Literature, Media, Music, Museums, Theater, Visual Arts, Architecture, or Interdisciplinary.

• Be a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) application 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 programing/activities open and available to the public during the 2016/2017 calendar years and beyond.

*Organizations with an annual budget of under $2 million should apply for a CityArts grant or seek to submit an application in partnership with another organization.

Note: DCASE is unable to pay grant funds to nonprofit with outstanding, existing debt with the City of Chicago. We suggest you contact the City of Chicago Finance Department to check your Indebtedness standing by calling 312-74-GO-BIZ prior to submitting an application.

Funding Categories

Funds may be used for planning or executing a project in Chicago across two Program Priorities:

  • Priority 1: Innovation:  Funding to develop, plan for, or test a project or program component that is new for your organization, the arts field, or the City of Chicago.
  • Priority 2: Community Engagement:  Funding for projects, collaborations or initiatives that address local needs, provide deep interaction with Chicago residents and specific communities, increase arts audiences and align with Cultural Plan-related goals to elevate and expand neighborhood cultural assets.


Grant Amount

Grant awards range from $50,000 – $200,000. In 2015/16, DCASE made six awards with an average grant size of $66,670.

If awarded, grant funds must be spent between September 1, 2016 and December 31, 2017.



2016 Grant Calendar





Grant Period September 1, 2016 – December 31, 2017  
Application Opens June 20, 2016
Application Deadline August 1, 2016 No Extensions will be granted
Notification of Results October 2016
All applicants will be notified via e-mail sent to the address on file in the CyberGrants system.
Contracting period October 2016

Grant agreement and forms must be filed.

Payments disbursed November 2016  
Final reports due January 31, 2018 There will also be an interim report due on May 31, 2017.


2015 Grant Calendar

Final Reports fo 2015 Grantees will open on December 31, 2016 and be due January 31, 2017. For more information visit




All applications are completed and submitted through the CyberGrants platform. The online application for IncentOvate 2015/16 is now closed. 

To view past applications, click here.