New York Cultural Affairs launches new, fairer process for cultural groups applying for municipal funding

The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs has officially started the application process for the FY2023 Cultural Development Fund. For the first time since the pandemic suspended the competitive peer review process, DCLA encourages nonprofit cultural organizations from across the vast and diverse community of New York to apply to receive public support for their artistic and cultural activities.

This year’s CDF application process marks a major step forward in promote greater fairness in this important source of funding, including greater recognition of historically marginalized communities, an increase in the minimum grant amount, and the recruitment of panelists who reflect the diversity of New York City.

“New York’s artists and cultural organizations reflect the diversity of New Yorkers and have connected us for generations, and we are taking steps to make it even easier for them to access city funding,” said the Mayor of New York. York, Eric Adams. “By investing in local arts organizations, the Cultural Development Fund ensures that New York City’s cultural ecosystem remains strong, inclusive, and the best in the world!”

“Fostering an equitable recovery that uplifts all New Yorkers means investing in the sectors that drive our city forward, especially our remarkable arts and cultural community,” the deputy mayor said. Maria Torres-Springer. “Together with Commissioner Cumbo and her team, we are calling on organizations across the city to apply for this year’s Cultural Development Fund. We are excited to roll out a number of reforms as part of our plan for the economic recovery of New York City that will create greater equity in the city’s cultural funding, ensuring that public support reaches communities in every corner of New York and helps make our city even better than before.”

“My team and I are delighted to open the application process for this year’s Cultural Development Fund,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “Culture is the cornerstone of our New York, and the CDF is one of the most important ways our city invests in its cultural community. As the founder of a nonprofit cultural organization, I know first hand how winning this first DCLA grant feels like opening up a whole new world of possibilities. We want this groundbreaking support to reach all members of our diverse cultural community who work, connect with the public and create the cultural landscape that makes our city great. I have also served on CDF panels, and the representation of people from all walks of life is crucial to ensuring that funds are distributed in the fairest and most fair as possible. work and collaborate with our constituents. We encourage non-profit cultural groups across the city to learn more, participate in one of our fabulous webina ires and consider applying. »

“I am delighted that the CDF process is centered on equity this year. As we move beyond a pandemic whose health and economic impacts have been anything but felt evenly across the city “It’s critical that the recovery be fair. Measures such as increasing salaries and reducing the time commitment of panelists are already great indicators of the well-intentioned and thoughtful approach DCLA is taking this year,” Council member Chi Ossé said.

As part of Mayor Adams Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery, the City invests in the creative and cultural economy that makes New York a vibrant cultural hub. As outlined in the Master Plan, these CDF equity reforms help ensure broad and equitable investment in New York City’s cultural sector as it continues to reopen and recover, a critical part of the global recovery of the city.

Based on years of research, planning, dialogue and feedback from DCLA voters and the wider cultural community, this year’s CDF process will incorporate a range of new equity-based reforms focused on improving access to public funding for cultural groups in the city. The objectives of these pilot reforms include:

  • Increase investment in historically marginalized communities: CDF’s updated review criteria will seek to elevate organizations working in and supported by historically marginalized communities, as well as those that demonstrate the application of an equity lens to their own work and organization.
  • Greater stability for grantees, especially small organizations: Doubling minimum grants to $10,000 and making permanent a pandemic-era policy of expanding multi-year grant eligibility to all grantees, regardless of budget size.
  • Broaden the pool of people reviewing applications: Increased panelist fees ($480 for two days of work), reduced time commitment, and a broader network will help recruit CDF panelists who reflect the diversity of city residents . In March, DCLA launched an open call for individuals to sit on CDF panels and help review the more than 1,200 applications expected in this grant cycle.
  • Streamlined Application Process: Fewer requirements, a fully digital application system for the first time, and a streamlined application will reduce the administrative burden for groups applying for funding. To increase transparency, the agency will also publicly share the panelists’ evaluation rubric and adjust the fund allocation process to be more efficient and fair.

To help groups navigate the reformed process, the DCLA Programs Unit’s expanded technical assistance offerings will include webinars (live and recorded); office hours to provide dedicated time for organizational matters; weekly email updates during the open application period; and continuous FAQ updates based on questions and feedback from the cultural sector. The webinars will begin the week of April 11; office hours will begin the week of April 18. DCLA will also work with partners in the cultural sector and municipal government to ensure broad awareness of the funding opportunity. All information about the application process and available technical support can be found at

During the current fiscal year, more than 1,000 groups receive support from the CDF for a wide range of programs, and with a focus on investing in the recovery of the sector.

James C. Tibbs