Arts Work Fund Logo


The Arts Work Fund is temporarily shifting its grantmaking to unrestricted general operating support to arts and cultural organizations that are struggling with immediate lost revenue and non-recoverable expenses due to COVID-19. All other grantmaking is on hold.

We are also working with our public and private sector colleagues to coordinate funding support related to COIVD-19. We will regularly post updates on advancements.

The Arts Work Fund Emergency Relief Fund Round 2 will open on Monday, May 4 at 9:00am CDT and close on Monday, May 11 at 11:59PM CDT.

In Round 1, we received over 530 applications and distributed over $2 million.

a plus icon


The Emergency Relief Fund is accepting requests for funding to support arts + cultural organizations struggling with immediate lost revenue and non-recoverable expenses due to COVID-19.

This grant opportunity is for all arts organizations in Illinois—regardless of budget size.

Organizations by, for, and about people of color will be more strongly considered for funding at this time.

The majority of funds available will be for organizations located in and serving Chicago and Cook County

This initiative is in partnership with the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund.

Arts for Illinois Relief Fund Logo


  • All funding will be unrestricted.
  • Open to all arts organizations operating in and serving Illinois—regardless of budget size.
  • Organizations must hold 501c3 nonprofit status from the IRS.
  • Organizations are eligible for grant amounts based on annual expenses for the most recently-completed calendar or fiscal year:
$30,000 and under $4,000
$31,000 - $100,000 $8,000
$101,000 - $500,000 $12,000
$501,000 - $800,000 $16,000
$801,000 - 1.5 million $20,000
1.5 million + $30,000

The following are not eligible for this funding opportunity:

  • Organizations whose primary mission is not related to the arts.
  • Stand-alone or one-time festivals, conferences, or other events.
  • Stand-alone publications, films/videos, or websites.
  • Religious-based activities.
  • Groups that are legally, financially, or operationally part of a larger institution, e.g. the art department of a college.

A short application will require the following information:

  • Completion or updating of the Chicago Community Trust’s organizational profile.
  • A description of the impact COVID-19 has had on immediate lost revenue or non-recoverable expenses to your organization.
  • Any additional information you would like to provide about your organization's current situation.

Frequently Asked Questions


  • To apply for funding, please log in to GrantCentral and navigate to the Funding Opportunities tab.
  • Grant application portal opened May 4, 2020 and closes May 11, 2020
Apply for Funding


Paul M Angell Family Foundation Logo Chicago Community Trust Logo City of Chicago Seal Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Logo Kassie Davis Fund Driehaus Foundation Logo Gaylord and Dorthy Donnelley Foundation Logo Exelon Logo Leslie Hindman Joyce Foundation Logo MacArthur Foundation Logo The Elizabeth Morse Charitable Trust Logo Albert Pick Jr Polk Bros Foundation Logo Prince Charitable Trust Logo Terra Foundation for American Art Logo Walder Foundation Logo