Core Support for Arts and Cultural Organizations

Posted by William Penn Foundation on June 5, 2017

We work with partners in Greater Philadelphia to identify ways to make art and culture accessible to everyone, help ensure the creative sector is sustainable for the long term, and support the development of vibrant public spaces that are widely accessible.

Core Support for Arts and Cultural Organizations


As a long-time funder of arts and cultural organizations, the William Penn Foundation’s Board of Directors regularly assesses its funding approach to assure funding alignment with the overall goals of the Foundation as well as to assure that its funding is responsive to the needs of arts and cultural organizations of varying sizes, types, and disciplines throughout the region. At the same time, the Board seeks to assure that, when funding is awarded, it is being awarded to arts and cultural organizations that are not only of the highest artistic caliber but financially healthy, effectively managed, and well-positioned to withstand the ever-changing environment in which they operate.

After more than ten years of awarding core support funding through an iterative, negotiated manner between the applicant organization and Foundation staff, beginning in 2014, the Foundation Board spent nearly one year evaluating the arts and culture portfolio, researching best practices for funding, and discussing the Foundation’s desired role as an arts funder. The Board wanted a funding process that was equitable for all applicants, recognized strong financial management as well as high-quality programs, and lessened the potential for organizations to become dependent on William Penn Foundation funding. As a result, in 2015, the current approach to awarding core support to arts and cultural organizations was determined.

The Foundation believes that its current core support funding approach, launched June 2015, makes transparent for applicants the review process, the funding possibilities, and the timeline for application review. In addition, in response to some grantee concerns expressed in the survey conducted in 2016 by the Center for Effective Philanthropy, more detailed information about the application review process has been added to the guidelines.

Nonetheless, as always, if after carefully reviewing the guidelines you have further questions, do not hesitate to contact someone on the Creative Communities staff.

Pre-proposal due July 7, 2017

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