Seeding Cultural Treasures
Seeding Cultural Treasures is an initiative to nourish and cultivate the landscape of emerging arts and culture organizations run by and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC). This initiative provides unrestricted general operating grants between $40,000 and $70,000 and technical assistance support over the next three-and-a-half years (2022-2025) for emerging BIPOC arts and culture organizations. Unrestricted grants and engagement in the program are essential to building trusting relationships. Propel will provide technical assistance to grantees in financial administration and other nonprofit finance, strategy, and governance areas, and there will be peer-to-peer learning opportunities and optional workshops.
The initial funding round is focusing on 501(c)(3) organizations, fiscally sponsored organizations, and/or units of the 11 tribal governments in Minnesota. Additional funding rounds within the next year will include organizations in North and South Dakota. This grant was made possible by the Bush Foundation, Ford Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and McKnight Foundation; it is phase two of America’s Cultural Treasures, the first funds of which were distributed through the Regional Cultural Treasures initiative.
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2022 – 2025 Grantees
In this grant round, Propel was thrilled to receive 105 applications from arts and culture organizations across the state, and we extend our gratitude to all who applied for the time, labor, and talent they invested in the application process. We are excited to announce these 32 organizations as those who were selected to be part of the Seeding Cultural Treasures cohort:
Bois Forte Food Sovereignty Group
(Neo)Muralismos de México
Grant Design and Selection Process
Propel is grateful for the guidance and recommendations of the 34 arts and cultures leaders for serving on the Design Team and/or Selection Committee for Seeding Cultural Treasures.
These two groups provided input that led to the inclusion of elements we hoped represented the needs and wants of the groups we were aiming to work with through this cohort opportunity. Those included, but were not limited to:
- A long application period with flexible deadlines, and multiple touchpoints for conversation with grant staff including technical assistance days and informational webinars.
- The creation of an inclusive and accessible Request for Proposals. Read the RFP here to learn more.
- Inclusion of the opportunity for interviews if needed to clarify information in the application. (The Selection Committee ultimately decided interviews were not necessary to clarify the applications for those they selected to participate in the cohort.)
- Provide enough funding to truly make a difference in moving organizations from surviving to thriving. We committed to making grants starting at $40,000.
- Focus on developing all the other elements of the cohort that can nurture the organizations (networking, convenings, learning labs, technical assistance) and not only the funding.
- Offer optional, ongoing nonfunding opportunities (learning labs, technical assistance, networking) to all applicants and not only organizations selected for the cohort.
- Provide scoring and comments by the Selection Committee for each application, if requested.
- Share learnings with funders to impact the philanthropic systems.
All applications were reviewed by 3 members of the Selection Committee. The Committee was provided training on how to avoid unintended bias in their application review, and reviewed each application based on its own merits.
SCT Design Team & Selection Committee
The Minnesota-based organizations will convene for their first cohort meeting this fall.
Plans are underway for funding opportunities to be announced in North and South Dakota. Make sure you are subscribed to our newsletter for upcoming opportunities.