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SOURCE Philadelphia Cultural Fund
PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- It is rare that nonprofit organizations are given the opportunity to help design the grant process from one of their funders. But this opportunity is exactly what The Philadelphia Cultural Fund has given its grantees.
Responding to a survey of its grantees, The Philadelphia Cultural Fund (PCF), now in its third decade of promoting arts and culture as engines of social, educational and economic development in the Philadelphia region, has changed its guidelines and grant-making process. Among the changes, multi-year grants will be available for the first time, and peer reviews will be based on organizational budget size, rather than discipline. PCF will also allow for-profit creative enterprises and groups that work on a project-by-project basis to apply for funding using a fiscal sponsor.
Established in 1991 to support and enhance the cultural life and vitality of the City of Philadelphia and its residents, the Cultural Fund, through the combined efforts of the Philadelphia City Council and Mayor Michael A. Nutter, has played a key stabilizing role for numerous organizations by providing much-needed operating funding. PCF grant applications are reviewed annually by a peer panel process, and grants are made from an annual City budget allocation to the Cultural Fund. Since FY1993-94, the City Council has allocated $37.310 million to the Cultural Fund, which has, in turn, been able to provide grants supporting more than 300 organizations.
With an astonishing 87% response to the survey, the Cultural Fund's board obtained vital information about what grantees value and where they feel they need the most assistance. The changes that PCF has made to its grants policies and processes are in direct response to the information obtained from the survey results. In addition to using the feedback from the survey, the PCF board then asked various members of the grantee community to join the Grants Committee to help design the changes.
"These new guidelines reflect our commitment to serving the cultural community, lowering the administrative burden for groups that apply and ensuring that we support the full spectrum of artistic and cultural activity in Philadelphia," said Julie Hawkins, Board Chair of PCF. "Philadelphia is becoming one of the most exciting cultural destinations in the country and these changes support that movement."
The new guidelines were revealed to former grantees and prospective applicants at information sessions. "I cannot express what great news this is," said Annie Wilson, Development Coordinator for Mascher Space Cooperative. "Because our funding is secure this year, I can use my administrative hours to research further grants to grow the organization, develop individual donors, develop our Board, and further strategize with the cooperative how to continue to grow a relevant, sustainable organization. Thank you for continuing to evolve as an organization toward meeting the needs of the Philadelphia art community."
"This is precisely what I hoped would happen," said June Washikita O'Neill, PCF Manager, of Wilson's comment. "Our hope is that organizations will spend less time applying for the grant and more time doing what they do best – providing Philadelphia with excellent arts and cultural experiences."
Changes for FY2014 include:
The change from annual to multi-year grants requires PCF to switch from disciplinary panels to multi-disciplinary budget-based panels. Each organization will be reviewed with other organizations of a similar budget size regardless of artistic discipline, and the panelists will be multi-disciplinary.
PCF has had multi-disciplinary panels for many years in the New and Emerging category, the Large Institution category and the Multi-Disciplinary category which have all been just as effective as the single disciplinary panels. Additional changes under the new guidelines allow unincorporated organizations regardless of size to apply for a grant using a fiscal sponsor, and LLC's, partnerships or other for-profit entities to apply using a fiscal sponsor if they can demonstrate that the organization has a mission which advances arts and culture and has a community benefit.
The complete set of Philadelphia Cultural Fund's new guidelines, processes and information regarding grant applications are available on the PCF website at www.philaculturalfund.org.
For all arts and culture organizations interested in applying for PCF Grants for 2014, applications must be completed online no later than 11:59 pm September 30, 2013.
For more information on the Philadelphia Cultural Fund, the 2014 grant application forms and any questions regarding the new guidelines, please visit philaculturalfund.org or contact Michelle Currica at 267-242-8150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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