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Erie County: 2021 cultural funding application changes, release & applicant briefing

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Tue, Feb 11th 2020 12:10 pm

All eligible organizations encouraged to attend event Feb. 13; briefing to include review of 2020, overview of 2021 funding application

The Erie County Department of Environment and Planning, in conjunction with the Erie County Arts and Cultural Advisory Board (“EACAB”), will kick-off the 2021 Arts and Cultural Funding Program with an application release on Wednesday, Feb. 12.

Significant changes have been made to the application requirements. These changes are intended to aid smaller organizations, often staffed only by unpaid volunteers, to be able to apply for county funding using existing documents and without undue difficulties.

There are now three application levels with increased funding maximums based on New York state nonprofit reporting requirements to limit additional documents needed and encourage financial diversification. Additional changes include fewer years as a 501(c)(3) required, and fewer attachments to submit. Additional questions have been added regarding organizations’ efforts toward Erie County goals such as racial, economic and climate justice.

The first of the significant changes is the updated and simplified funding structure. Now, organizations with annual operating budgets of up to $250,000 may submit the level one application and request up to 20% – effectively, up to $50,000 – of their operating budget from the county.

Organizations with annual operating budgets of between $250,000 and $750,000 may submit the level two application (formerly, the “short form”) and request up to 20% – effectively, up to $150,000 – of their operating budget from the county.

Finally, organizations with annual operating budgets of more than $750,000 may submit the level three application (formerly, the “long form”) to request more than $150,000 of their operating budget from the county.

Any request of more than 20% of an organization’s operating budget will be detrimental to the organization’s review.

Note that funding requests are not guaranteed. All applications will continue to be reviewed based on their financial management, governance and programming, with funding distributed in accordance with available funds for the 2021 calendar year.

The second significant change is the reduction of required years as a registered 501(c)(3) organization from three years to one year. All organizations applying must have at least one year as a 501(c)(3) organization to apply and must be able to submit to the EACAB a 990-N, 990-EZ, or 990 form to be eligible.

Level one applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, April 1, while levels two and three applications are due by 11:59 p.m. Wednesday, April 8. Submission assistance is available until 4:30 p.m. each day.

The staggered deadline allows organizations more time to complete their applications, and improves submission through the website.

Organizations meeting the stated eligibility requirements must submit their application online at www.erie.gov/CulturalFunding. Late or incomplete applications will negatively affect an organization’s application score. Submitted applications will be reviewed by the Erie Arts & Cultural Advisory Board and DEP staff.

At 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 13, interested organizations are encouraged to attend an applicant briefing during which time the Erie County Department of Environment and Planning will provide an overview of the application and answer questions. The briefing will take place in the Central Meeting Room at the Buffalo and Erie County Central Library at 1 Lafayette Square, Buffalo.

Contact Mariely Ortiz at 716-858-1916 or [email protected] if your organization is unable to attend or representatives require special accommodations.

For more information on the Department of Environment and Planning, visit http://www2.erie.gov/environment/.

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