The MacArthur Arts and Culture Loan Fund is a program designed to help small- and medium-sized arts and culture organizations in Chicago to manage uneven cash flows and strengthen financial capacity.

About the Program

The MacArthur Arts and Culture Loan Fund (ACLF) is a program designed to help small- and medium-sized arts and culture organizations in Chicago to manage uneven cash flows and strengthen financial capacity. The program includes the opportunity to access an operating line of credit, as well as financial management workshops, customized coaching, technical assistance on financial projects, and conversations on incorporating diversity, equity, and inclusion into your organization’s operations. The program is funded by the MacArthur Foundation and administered by IFF in partnership with BDO.

The program includes:

Operating Line of Credit

Operating lines of credit are a useful tool to help nonprofit arts organizations manage the uneven cash flows stemming from factors like the timing of production costs, ticket sales, and grant and government revenue. Loans are offered by program administrator IFF and program partner Fifth Third Bank, ranging in size from $10,000 to $150,000.

Free Financial Management Workshop Series & Customized Coaching

Financial experts from program partner BDO deliver a series of virtual workshops that will explore the values, practices, and resources characteristic of financially resilient organizations. Participants will learn best practices and discuss how to apply them in their day-to-day activities. The interactive training series highlights an inclusive financial management approach and is designed to be experienced as a team.

Free Technical Assistance

BDO also takes on financial projects — from writing policies and procedures manuals, to customizing your Chart of Accounts to maximize reporting — that arts leaders haven’t had the time or expertise to do themselves.

How do I apply?

If you are an eligible grantee and are interested in applying for an Operating Line of Credit, please contact Molly Bartels Roth at for more information. The Financial Management workshops and Technical Assistance offerings are on hold. Please check back for future opportunities.

Applying to ACLF:


If you are a general operating support grantee of MacArthur’s Culture, Equity & the Arts program, or have received a grant in the A Road Together (ART) program, an initiative of the Field Foundation supported by the MacArthur Foundation, you are currently eligible for an Operating Line of Credit. Loan applications must be made prior to the end of a grant term to be considered for this program.

Upcoming Information Sessions

There are no upcoming information sessions at this time. Please check back for future opportunities.

For those of us who run smaller nonprofits, we don’t have the luxury of having someone with an accounting background on our team. Often times, financial forecasting can be very abstract. It feels like a huge leap for a nonprofit that relies on donations — not sales of a product — to have any kind of debt. But these classes were phenomenal and, believe it or not, fun. The environment was friendly and enabled participants to learn from one another. Additionally, it was important and helpful that we used CAC’s real numbers. The training prepared us to take out a line of credit and pay it back.

Caroline Older, Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC) Executive Director

Why is financial management important for arts and culture organizations?

Arts and culture play an integral role in supporting communities. In addition to enriching our lives, arts and culture supports the economic well-being of Chicago as a whole. However, for many arts organizations, access to the funding, financing, and financial management resources necessary to sustain arts-based programming can be difficult to find. After completing the program, our goal is that organizations are able to:

  • Have access to an operating line of credit to meet their organization’s short-term fiscal needs
  • Deeply understand financial management tools and organizational budget cycles
  • Build an institutional credit history, in order to continue creating relationships for future financial needs

Band on Stage
Band on Stage
Band on Stage