Arts and Culture Loan Fund

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.


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 grantees and 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.

Applications for the various program components are now closed. Please check back for future opportunities. If you have any questions, please contact Molly Bartels Roth at gro.ffi@sletrabm.

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: Applications are now closed. Please check back for future opportunities.


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 are now closed. Please check back for future opportunities.


3. Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Collective

An immersive series of workshops from program partner Restart Consulting designed to help organizations better understand and explore how they can incorporate Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion into their operations.

How to apply: Applications are now closed. Please check back for future opportunities.



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:


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