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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.

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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.

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  • 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.
  • Grant size will be based on the organizational budget and the extent of lost revenue and non-recoverable expenses incurred due to COVID-19.
  • Applications may be submitted on a rolling basis. We will do our best to respond within ten business days of your submission.
  • Organizations are eligible for grant amounts based on annual expenses for the most recently-completed calendar or fiscal year:
$100,000 and under $8,000
$100,000 - $500,00 $12,000
$500,000 - $800,000 $16,000
$800,000 - 1.5 million $20,000
1.5 million + $30,000

The following are not eligible for this funding opportunity:

  • Organizations whose primary mission is related to social services (juvenile justice, housing, community development) but also have an arts program.
  • 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

If you have further questions about the Emergency Relief Fund, please take a look at the FAQ.


  • To apply for funding, please log in to GrantCentral and navigate to the Funding Opportunities tab.
  • Grant application portal opens April 1, 2020
Apply for Funding


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