Applying for First-Time Funding
The Howard Gilman Foundation seeks to build meaningful, long-term partnerships with a diverse array of performing arts organizations in New York City. We invest in grantee organizations’ overall fiscal health and wellbeing by providing annual general operating support and targeted project support grants, and we add a small number of new organizations to our roster each year.
When it comes to adding new grantees to our roster, the Gilman team is currently prioritizing organizations that are:
- Led by and making work for and about communities of color;
- Located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, and Staten Island; and/or
- Offering free, low-cost, and/or accessible programming.
In order to be considered for funding, your organization must:
- Have a mission and programming that is devoted to the performing arts;
- Be a 501(c)(3) incorporated in New York City or be fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) and operate in New York City;
- Have an operating budget (revenue and expenses) over $250K for your last completed fiscal year, your current fiscal year, and the next projected fiscal year; and
- Be able to provide either a full audit, an accountants’ review, or a copy of the federal tax form 990.
Note that the Foundation does NOT fund:
- Tuition-based programs
- In-school or after-school arts education programs
- Visual arts museums and galleries
The Funding Process
If your organization meets our eligibility criteria, you are welcome to fill out an application for funding. As a first step, we encourage you to contact our Grants Team. They will be able to direct you to a dedicated Program Officer who can help answer questions and offer additional guidance.
Choose the right time to apply.
Organizations with 12/31 fiscal year end should apply in Cycle 1.
Organizations with 6/30 fiscal year end should apply in Cycle 2.
Organizations with a fiscal year end date that falls between 7/31 and 11/30 should apply in Cycle 3.
Questions about which Cycle is best for you?
There may be exceptions to this timing, and a Program Officer can help you select the Cycle that’s best for your organization. Email our Grants Team, and they’ll direct you to someone who can help.Email Grants Team
Register and create an account in our portal.
First, you’ll need to Create an Account for your organization in our database. It will take our staff up to two days to process the registration. Once you get word that registration is complete, you will need to fill out your organizational profile and add your organization’s key contacts. Here is a Step-by-Step Guide.
Already have an account?
If you have applied to the Howard Gilman Foundation before, you can skip this step! Not sure? Email our Grants Team to find out.Email Grants Team
Fill out and submit your application.
Now that you’ve registered and completed your profile, you can log on anytime. Be sure to note the Date the applications go live for each Cycle as well as the Deadlines for submission. Gilman staff will read and discuss all submitted applications and will be in touch with questions and decisions via email.
Want to get a head start?
You don’t have to wait for the application form to open to check out the questions. Click below for a preview of what the application will entail.Application Preview
Don’t meet our Priorities or Eligibility at this time?
Visit our Regranting Page to learn more about opportunities that may be better suited to your organization!
How do I register for an account?
In order to apply for funding, you will need to register your organization in our grants portal. Instructions and troubleshooting are included in our Contact Management Guide. Once registered, follow the steps to complete your Organization Profile.
I’ve registered; how do I open an application for funding?
The applications are only open during the timeframes outlined on our Dates & Deadlines page. You’ll also find information there about our three funding cycles, and how to decide which cycle might be right for you.
Should my organization apply through the New Applicant process?
In general, you should use the New Applicant process if your organization:
- is applying for the very first time;
- has applied in the past but was not awarded funding;
- was funded in the past, but has experienced a gap in funding;
- has received a discretionary grant from a board or staff member but has not received a direct Gilman grant; or
- has received a grant through a regranting partner but has not received a direct Gilman grant.
What does the Howard Gilman Foundation fund?
Gilman funds performing arts organizations in New York City, particularly organizations that produce and/or present dance, music, theatre, and multidisciplinary performance work. Gilman also funds service organizations that support these disciplines. Our specific priorities for new applicants can be found on the New Applicants page of the website.
What do you mean by “New York City”?
By New York City, we mean the five boroughs. We do not fund organizations that are incorporated or based in New Jersey, Connecticut, or parts of New York State that are outside of the five boroughs. If your organization is fiscally sponsored, your operations must take place in New York City, though your fiscal sponsor may be located elsewhere.
Does Gilman fund arts education?
Gilman does not fund arts education programs. We also do not support tuition-based skills training or degree-granting programs.
Where can I find the eligibility requirements for New Applicants?
Please visit the top of the New Applicants page for our detailed priorities and eligibility requirements.
Does my organization need to have 501(c)(3) status to apply?
No. We know that not every great performing arts organization has 501(c)(3) status, nor should they. We accept applications from both 501(c)(3)s and fiscally sponsored organizations that meet the Foundation’s eligibility requirements.
My organization was just recently founded. Is it eligible?
Your organization must have at least one completed fiscal year showing revenue and expenses that exceed $250,000. Other than that, there are no requirements in terms of number of years in operation.
Does my organization meet the Foundation’s operating budget requirements?
In order to meet our budget requirements, your organization’s last completed fiscal year must show operating revenue and expenses that exceed $250,000. The current fiscal year and next fiscal year must also show operating revenue and expense projections that exceed $250,000. If you have questions about your financial eligibility, or which application cycle might be right for your organization based on your budget, email our Grants Team. They will direct you to someone who can help.
What if my organization’s budget is below $250,000?
Only organizations with budgets that exceed $250,000 are eligible for direct Gilman funding. However, we work with partner funders that provide grants to organizations with smaller budgets through our regranting programs. We encourage you to visit our Regranting Opportunities page to learn more about these programs.
What if my organization is not required to have an annual audit?
Organizations with budgets between $250K and $1M do not need to provide an audit. Rather, they should provide an independent accountant’s review. If your organization just reached the $250,000 level and does not yet have an independent accountant’s review, you can submit your organization’s most recent 990. All organizations with budgets over $1M need to provide an audit.
How do I approach the application if my organization has a fiscal sponsor?
If your organization has a fiscal sponsor, here are a few things to keep in mind:
- When asked to enter your organization’s basic information on the application form, use your own organization’s information, not your fiscal sponsor’s. If you answer “yes” to our question about being fiscally sponsored, you will then be prompted to share your fiscal sponsor’s address and basic information.
- Include your organization’s own operating budgets, not the budgets of your fiscal sponsor.
- Include the audit or independent accountants’ review of your fiscal sponsor.
- If your organization has its own board or advisory council, please include that list. If not, include your fiscal sponsor’s board list.
- If you are awarded a grant, we will notify both you and your fiscal sponsor. Your fiscal sponsor will sign the grant agreement and we will send the funds to your fiscal sponsor. We will send a copy of the grant agreement to your organization for your records.
When should my organization apply?
In general, we suggest that:
- organizations with a 12/31 fiscal year end apply in Cycle 1;
- organizations with a 6/30 fiscal year end apply in Cycle 2; and
- organizations with a fiscal year end date that falls between 7/31 and 11/30 apply in Cycle 3.
There are several factors that can affect timing, so we encourage all new applicants to contact us to discuss the most appropriate cycle for an application. Reach out to our Grants Team, and they will direct you to someone who can help.
How long after applying will I hear back?
Please see our Dates and Deadlines page for information about notification times.
How can we invite Gilman team members to upcoming performances and events?
All applicants will be asked to list upcoming performance opportunities in their application. You are also welcome to email invitations to staff members; all contact information is available on our Team page.
How can we request a meeting?
You are encouraged to email the Grants Team, and they will connect you with a Program Officer.
Should my organization apply for general operating support or project support?
Most Gilman grantees apply for and receive general operating support. However, there are times when project support might be a better fit. We encourage all new applicants to speak with a Program Officer before applying to help determine the best approach. Reach out to our Grants Team, and they’ll direct you to someone who can help.
My organization would like to be considered for a capital grant, cash reserve, or multi-year funding. How do we apply for these types of grants?
We do not provide capital support, cash reserves, or multi-year grants to first-time grantees. Once an organization becomes part of our annual roster, we can talk about additional ways that Gilman might be able to support your work.
How much funding do first-time grantees typically receive?
Most first-time grants range between $10,000 and $30,000. There is no set formula for determining a grant amount. Programming, budget-size, organizational needs, location, business model, and alignment with our priorities are all considerations.
Where can I view a sample of the application form?
You can view a PDF of the application form here.
How long should my application answers be?
We provide suggested lengths for narrative questions on the application. We encourage you to use relevant writing that you’ve already crafted for other applications. If you need to go over the suggested length, you may, and are not penalized for doing so. We do not have character limits.
Is my application complete?
In addition to completing all required fields within the application form and attaching the necessary documents, you must also complete all fields in the section of the Grants Portal called the Organization Profile. This section has 6 simple questions. Instructions can be found in our Contact Management Guide.
The decision notification date has passed, and my organization hasn’t yet received an email. What should I do?
We email grant notifications to the Grant Contact and Executive Leader Contact that your organization listed in your application. If those contacts have not received an email and the notification date has passed, please check your junk or spam folder. Please reach out to our Grants Team for further assistance.
My organization was not funded or was funded at a level lower than expected. How come?
All applications are evaluated within the context of field-wide challenges, the overall application pool, the unique needs of individual organizations, and Gilman’s current priorities. Funding recommendations are made based on the results of that comprehensive evaluation process. We are happy to discuss questions about award amounts, declinations, and/or next steps. Please reach out to the Program Officer identified in your notification email.
How soon can I submit a new application after I’ve been declined?
We know that getting declined is tough. We also know that you might want to try again. We welcome applications once per calendar year, but we also encourage you to reach out to a Program Officer to discuss a potential future fit. Note that every declination email includes a Program Officer’s contact information. Feel free to reach out to that person anytime.