Seeding Cultural Treasures Request for Proposals (RFP)
Thank you for your interest in Seeding Cultural Treasures (SCT). Applications for this RFP were due on Friday, May 20, 2022.
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.
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Purpose of Grant
Seeding Cultural Treasures (SCT) is an initiative to nourish the landscape of arts and culture organizations run by and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota and the 23 Tribal Nations within that geographic area. The SCT team at Propel Nonprofits hopes to take a step toward reimagined ways of investing and capacity building in these organizations by:
- Strengthening networks intentionally for BIPOC artists and arts and culture organizations.
- Partnering with funders for more abundant, restorative, and transformative opportunities.
- Centering relationship building and trust in grantmaking.
- Providing unrestricted general operating funds.
- Creating multiple pathways for optional and ongoing support through technical assistance support and peer-learning opportunities.
An initial round of unrestricted general operating grants are available to 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.
Benefits for Organizations Selected
- General operating grant between $40,000 and $100,000 over three-and-a-half years. Recipients will work with Propel to determine the distribution of the grant.
- Technical assistance to grantees in financial administration and other nonprofit finance, strategy, and governance areas.
- Optional workshops and peer-learning opportunities in other focus areas as determined by recipients. To strengthen and nourish the BIPOC arts and culture landscape, many of these workshops, peer learnings, and networking opportunities will be available to all applicants and the wider BIPOC arts and culture community, regardless of being a grantee.
Expectations of Organizations Selected
- Annual grantee convenings
- Interim and final grant reports to share stories and lessons learned
- Ongoing developmental evaluation check-ins with grantee’s leadership team and program staff through interviews and surveys
- We estimate an average of 15 hours of commitment a year for developmental evaluation, reports and convenings, plus incremental time for the optional workshops and networking opportunities.
Organization Eligibility Criteria
The primary organization eligibility criteria are:
- Organizations are registered in Minnesota and/or units of the 11 tribal governments in Minnesota
- Nonprofit organizations, including 501(c)(3) organizations and organizations that have a fiscal sponsor that is a 501(c)(3) organization
- Organization must have an arts and culture focus that is significant to their organizational programs and budget
- Organization’s Executive Director/CEO is BIPOC-identified or at least 50% of board members are BIPOC-identified, AND the organization demonstrates a significant prioritization of arts and culture to serve BIPOC arts community or their specified/defined community of color
- Organizations have been providing arts and culture programming for at least two years. (They are not required to have been a 501(c)(3) or fiscally sponsored for at least two years.)
- Organizations with current annual budgets with expenses less than $500,000.
If you are interested in the program but are currently not a 501(c)(3) or fiscally sponsored organization, we will still accept your submission to participate in the program on the condition that if selected, you become fiscally sponsored within 60 days of notification of your selection. Propel and Springboard for the Arts are two organizations you could engage with for fiscal sponsorship. For details, see the FAQ.
Informational Webinars (Optional)
Two optional informational webinars were held to review this RFP with interested organizations and to answer questions. You can watch a recording of a webinar here: watch informational webinar.
Technical Assistance Days (Optional)
These opportunities have passed. If you need assistance, applicants can call or email the grant contacts, Anniessa Antar and Glyn Northington.
Frequently Asked Questions
The document below will be updated as additional questions are asked by applicants to the SCT initiative. If you have a question, email us at SCT@propelnonprofits.org.
Download a pdf of the frequently asked questions.
RFP Review Process
Propel Nonprofits will engage an external Selection Committee to review and select the grant recipients.
Save the Date: Interviews
If your organization is selected to move to the second round, you will be invited to a 30-minute interview with members of the Selection Committee. You will be contacted by June 24 if you’re selected for the next round. We ask you to hold at least three of these dates and times on your calendars for a potential interview:
- Morning or afternoon of June 27, 28, 29, 30
- Morning of afternoon of July 1, 5, 6, 7, 8
Submitting Your Application
- The application questions are available for download here by clicking this link: Seeding Cultural Treasures Application Questions.
- All applicants must apply through our online form; a Word document of the questions is provided as a resource to applicants.
- The form closed on Friday, May 20, 2022, at 5 pm.
Application Submission Tips
- Text boxes include maximum character counts which are inclusive of letters, numbers, spaces, and paragraph breaks. There is no formatting (bold or italics).
- You may find that you do not need all the characters allotted.
- Do not include hyperlinks in text boxes, as the panel review will be limited to the content of your application. If you include a hyperlink, they will be removed.
Propel requests all applicants apply online or via video unless a disability prevents you from doing so. Propel works to ensure that grant guidelines, workshop presentations, and any other written materials are created with accessibility principles in mind. Additionally, we are happy to provide materials in Large Print or other formats with advanced notice of at least one week. (Even if the notice timeline has elapsed, we will do our best to accommodate the request.) Documents linked in this text are formatted in a text format that is friendly to screen readers and text resizing.
If you would like to request a translation of these questions, please contact Anniessa Antar at SCT@propelnonprofits.org. At this time, questions must be answered in English because our reviewers primarily speak English.
Video or Written Response Options
You have a choice of answering the 5 narrative questions either in writing or with a video submission. The remainder of the application needs to be completed in writing.
If you choose to answer the narrative questions with a video submission, you will have an option to select that on the application. You will be emailed a link to upload your videos. The maximum video length we will view is listed beside each narrative question. Please upload a video in any of these formats: .avi, .mov, .mpeg, .mp4, .wmv. There is a file size limit of 200 megabytes per video.
Below are only the narrative questions for the application. A Word document of the entire application can be found here: Seeding Cultural Treasures Application Questions
PLEASE NOTE: Our review process does not prioritize proper phrasing, language, or exact details. The priority is to provide organizations with the support they need in a timely manner. Please tell us about your work. Character limits are to keep proposals simple and concise.
History of Community Impact: Demonstrated history of amplifying, connecting with, building with and/or bringing value to BIPOC communities
- Share about the ways that your organization has amplified, connected with, built with and/or brought value to BIPOC communities in your region.
(350-word maximum or 3-minute video)
BIPOC Focus: Strategic focus on stewarding and sustaining artistic and/or cultural traditions rooted in a specific/defined community or communities of color; these communities can be multiracial. Community served can be defined as staff, volunteers, participating artists, and/or participants
- Which cultural communities does your organization focus on and serve in its programs?
- In what ways do the people working in or with your organization authentically reflect and are positioned to serve this cultural community?
(350-word maximum or 3-minute video)
Dedication to arts and culture: Organization is dedicated to arts and culture
- How much of your organization’s budget is dedicated to arts and cultural staffing and activities?
- What areas or intersections of art and culture does your organization focus on?
(250-word maximum or 2-minute video)
Understanding of today: An understanding of the challenges and opportunities available for their organization and their support of their communities
- What are the big priorities for your organization at this point in time?
- What challenges are you facing?
- What opportunities are available to you as you think about your work in the communities you serve?
(500-word maximum or 4-minute video)
Future vision and approach: The priorities for the organization and what will it take to accomplish those goals
- What do you hope to accomplish by being a part of this initiative?
- If capacity or money wasn’t an issue, what would your organization want to prioritize?
- What types of support would help you accomplish your priorities?
(500-word maximum or 4-minute video)
For 501(c)(3) Organizations:
In addition to the narrative questions, the following documentation (attached as pdfs) will be requested in the application for 501(c)(3) organizations:
- Most recent 990 (If your organization does not file a 990, please attach your most recent 990-EZ or 990-N.) (upload pdf file)
- 501(c)(3) Determination Letter (upload pdf file)
- Current year, board-approved organizational budget (upload pdf file)
- List of board members and affiliations (upload pdf file)
- List of staff and their titles/roles (upload pdf file)
For Fiscally Sponsored Organizations:
In addition to the narrative questions, the following documentation (attached as pdfs) will be requested in the application for fiscally sponsored organizations:
- Fiscal Sponsor Agreement (upload pdf file)
- Your organization’s current year, board-approved organizational budget (upload pdf file)
- List of your organization’s board members and affiliations (upload pdf file)
- List of your organization’s staff and their titles/roles (upload pdf file)
|RFP announced:||Friday, April 8, 2022|
|Application open:||Monday, April 18, 2022|
|General informational webinars (optional):||Friday, April 22, 1-2pm
Thursday, May 12, 1-2pm
|Technical assistance sessions with applicants (optional):||Tuesday, April 26 9am-5pm &
Tuesday, May 10 9am-5pm
|Proposals due:||Friday, May 20, 2022, 5pm CST
As you get closer to the deadline, if you need an extension due to extenuating circumstances, email SCT@propelnonprofits.org.
|Follow-up calls with applicants, if needed:||May 24-27, 2022|
|Finalists contacted to schedule interview:||Thursday, June 23, 2022|
|Interviews held:||June 27-July 8, 2022|
|Awards announced:||Thursday, July 21, 2022|
|Grant agreements signed:||Monday, August 1, 2022|
|Grant period begins:||August 2022|
Glossary of terms
Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC)
A term adopted to replace People of Color in an effort to undo Native invisibility, anti-Blackness, dismantle white supremacy, and advance racial justice and highlight the unique relationship to whiteness that Indigenous and Black (African Americans) people have, which shapes the experiences of and relationship to white supremacy for all people of color within a U.S. context.
BIPOC includes, but is not limited to: African, African American, Arab, Asian, Asian American, Black, Latine, Middle Eastern, Native and Indigenous, Pacific Islander, communities of color, mixed race.
BIPOC organizations are those in which:
The Executive Director/CEO is BIPOC-identified
At least 50% of board members are BIPOC-identified
The organization demonstrates a significant prioritization of arts and culture to serve BIPOC arts community or their specified/defined community of color
For this funding opportunity, a collective refers to an artist-led entity that comes together to support a mission beyond individual artistic practices. Many collectives also demonstrate a non-hierarchical leadership structure and commonly utilize consensus-driven decision-making.
A nonprofit corporation with 501(c)(3) status who applies for financial support on behalf of another organization/collective to receive benefits of a tax-exempt status. Fiscal sponsors do not have to be BIPOC-led.
Fiscally Sponsored Project or Organization
For the purposes of this funding opportunity, a fiscally sponsored project refers to a collective or organization of artists/creative-focused community members operating without a 501(c)(3) nonprofit designation. They must have a history of working together (in some capacity) toward some community benefit and are demonstrating leadership for BIPOC cultural communities.
Arts and Culture Organizations
Arts and culture organizations are defined as those creating and/or fostering artistic practices or are culture bearers, as well as organizations that have a major focus in using arts and creativity to place make or problem-solve, such as arts at the intersection or arts and ___ (arts and health, arts and medicine, arts and community development, etc.).
Culture Bearers practice intergenerational lifeways and living, evolving cultural art practices that educate, exchange, and share to preserve ancestral knowledge.
Emerging means groups that have been in existence for at least two years or who are going through a transformation of their organization. Groups do not have to have their 501(c)(3) determination or have worked with fiscal sponsors for two years preceding submitting to Seeding Cultural Treasures, but they need to have been engaged and impacting their community through arts and culture for at least two years.
Selection Committee will review submissions, conduct interviews, and select the recipients.
For the following questions and tables in the application, we are utilizing the following definitions:
Black, Afro-Caribbean, or African-American: A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa and its diaspora.
Indigenous/First Nations/Native American/American Indian/Native Alaskan: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and South America (including Central America).
Latina/o/x/e or Hispanic: A person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race.
Asian or Pacific Islander: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian Subcontinent.
Southwest Asian or North African: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Southwest Asia and North Africa.
White or Euro-American: A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe.
Multi-Ethnic: A person having combinations of two or more of the above race/cultural heritage categories.
Gender Identity: One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves – can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.
Nonbinary: A person who does not experience gender within the gender binary. People who are nonbinary may also experience overlap with different gender expressions, such as being gender nonconforming.
Anniessa Antar, Seeding Cultural Treasures Program Manager
Glyn Northington, Senior Program Director