Chicago’s Cultural Treasures is a four-year initiative designed to support the Chicago area’s BIPOC-led and -focused arts and culture organizations as they face unprecedented challenges to their decades of leadership and resiliency. The initiative will include both critical general operating support, as well as capacity building and technical assistance that will be co-created with the arts community to ensure it meets their needs.
Participants will include organizations whose mission is to enable the creation, preservation, and dissemination of art stemming from BIPOC traditions, leadership, and culture.
The funders backing this initiative hope to achieve greater equity in funding art that reflects the full diversity of American culture. They include the Ford Foundation, which provided $5 million in seed funding as part of its America’s Cultural Treasures announcement in September 2020, as well as the following Chicago-based foundations:
- John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation – $5 million
- Joyce Foundation – $2.5 million
- Anonymous – $2 million
- Terra Foundation for American Art – $1 million
- Walder Foundation – $1 million
The Chicago funders are working with an independent nonprofit, IFF, to create a participatory review and grantmaking process for this initiative. IFF is a mission-driven and community-focused financial institution that has provided leadership, capital, and real estate solutions to nonprofits in Chicago for more than 30 years.
Many of Chicago’s cultural organizations of color serve as important neighborhood anchors. These institutions sustain cultural traditions and identities, build community, provide access to the arts in all neighborhoods, and help ensure that experiences and stories are shared and heard. Although these organizations of color are vital to the cultural life of the city, they remain undercapitalized and have been impacted disproportionately by a long history of economic and racial segregation, as well as by the current outbreak of COVID-19.
This opportunity is available in Chicago and the 7-county metro area.
The initiative officially launched Dec. 17, 2020. Letters of Interest – which both signal interest in support, as well as provide input to the design of the program – are due by Jan. 22, 2021. Nominations for the initiative’s participatory grant committee are also due by Jan. 22. Learn more at www.chicagosculturaltreasures.org.