The City is moving swiftly to initiate its first Cultural Grants program, just months after the Cultural Plan outlined the need for grants to develop the arts sector. The program is expected to offer $75,000 annually to organizations and groups committed to arts and culture programming in the City. Three types of grants will be available:
1. Capacity Building Grants. Up to $2500 to help organizations develop and grow. Funding examples include training, workshops, conferences, regulatory licensing fees, marketing, and strategic planning.
2. Projects Grants. Up to $5000 for specific programming or initiatives.
3. Start-up Grants. One-time grants of up to $5000 for new organizations. Funding is contingent on a business plan and secured operational funding for 80% of the organization’s first year budget.
The program is expected to launch shortly, with submissions closing in February and funding distributed in March.
While programming grants are the most obvious source of funding, we applaud the City for having the foresight to include specific bodies of money to support new organizations and the capacity building of existing organizations. These elements are critical in the long term ability of non-profits and arts groups to grow and meet the cultural needs of citizens. I suspect the lack of this type of funding has been a key reason behind the relatively underdeveloped arts sector in Surrey.