The Arts Work Fund recently evaluated the impact of its grants.
Lessons for funders: Continuous access to capacity building grants produced benefits beyond the bounds of any one grant or project; led to thoughtfully planned and paced projects; and produced greater clarity of purpose.
Lessons for small arts organizations: The most successful capacity building projects were backed by clarity of purpose, the organization’s leaders, and well-managed, high-quality consulting services; unexpected distractions and unclear or unrealistic expectations were most often a project’s undoing; and the type of deliverable, more than the type of project, governed the longer-term value of capacity building projects.
Lessons for consultants: staff capacity is a real but not homogenous challenge, one that needs frequent discussion before and during a consulting engagement; and most grantees got better at working with consultants with time and practice.
To read the full report, click here.
The Arts Work Fund is implementing the following changes to improve their grantmaking:
(effective October 1, 2014)
- The Fund will add 10 percent to each grant to support the organizational costs associated with the capacity building project.
- To be more responsive to projects as they emerge, there will no longer be specific grant deadlines. Applications will be accepted at any time throughout the year, with grant decisions made on a quarterly basis.
- We will move to the grant application system used by our fiscal agent,The Chicago Community Trust. You will still access the application from the Arts Work Fund website. This change does not preclude you from applying separately to The Trust, or the other funders that are members of the Arts Work Fund collaborative.