The 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. 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 conversation 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 FMA LLC (formerly Fiscal Management Associates).
Scroll down to learn more about these offerings.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, all workshops and coaching will be conducted virtually.
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
“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.”
– Chicago Artists Coalition (CAC) Executive Director Caroline Older
What’s included in the program — and how do I apply?
To be eligible for the Arts and Culture Loan Fund, organizations must be current MacArthur Arts & Culture grantee, either directly or through one of the MacArthur Funds at the Prince Charitable Trusts or the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. Additionally, organizations must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization in Chicago with a budget size between $250,000 and $5 million.
Eligible participants have the option of tapping into one, some, or all of the program’s components depending on their organizations’ specific needs. If you are interested in the program but would like support in identifying which components are the best fit for your organization, please fill out the following interest form and a member of our team will reach out to you.
The program includes:
1. 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.
How to apply: Start by emailing moc.odb@dnufnaolamf to let us know you’re interested, and one of our partners at BDO FMA will get right back to you.
2. Free Financial Management Workshop Series & Customized Coaching
Financial experts from program partner BDO FMA LLC (formerly Fiscal Management Associates) 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.
How to apply: Applications are now closed. Please check back for future opportunities.
3. Free Technical Assistance
BDO FMA 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 to apply: Applications will open in late Spring 2022.
3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Support
An immersive series of workshops designed to help organizations better understand and explore how they can incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into their operations. More details coming soon!
How to apply: Applications will open in Summer 2022.
Check out these helpful links to get your organization started in financial management. These are a small example of the support available for the Financial Management Training Series:
- Sustaining Long-Term Financial Health with Liquid Unrestricted Net Assets (LUNA)
- How to Set a Budget
- Monitoring Your Organization’s Performance
- Creating a Policies & Procedures Manual