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The attraction and retention of young professionals to our region is a top priority for Greater Cincinnati. Compared to our peer regions across the country, Cincinnati is seeing slower growth in this key demographic. Maintaining a workforce that is diverse in age is vital to a thriving, growing community. Business and civic leaders, including the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, are focused on finding ways to build awareness among young professionals about Cincinnati and to engage more deeply those that are already here.

ArtsWave’s research on arts engagement in our community revealed the power of the arts to attract, engage, and retain residents. Community members who reported a high level of arts engagement also showed high levels of civic engagement, reported a growing circle of friends, and had a higher opinion of the quality of life in Greater Cincinnati. The arts deepen roots in the region. As part of the Blueprint for Collective Action, ArtsWave’s 10-year action plan, we are being intentional about creating and funding more arts activities and programs that target young professionals and help them to become more deeply rooted in Greater Cincinnati.

The ArtsWave Young Professionals (YP) Grant Program began in 2016 and is an initiative that provides funding to support programming that engages young professionals. The funding to support the FY2021 YP Grant Program will come from donations made by young professionals to the 2020 ArtsWave Community Campaign.

Who May Apply

ArtsWave believes that strong arts create strong communities and actively seeks to promote access, equity, and inclusiveness in its grantmaking. To be eligible for the FY2021 Young Professionals Grant Program, an organization must meet all the following requirements:

  • Have a 501(c)3 tax status or  be non-profit in nature with an established fiscal agent.
  • Be based in the Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN MSA, which includes the following counties: Brown, Butler, Clermont, Hamilton, and Warren Counties in Ohio; Boone, Bracken, Campbell, Gallatin, Grant, Kenton, and Pendleton Counties in Kentucky; and Dearborn, Ohio, and Union Counties in Indiana.
  • Have a primary mission to provide programs or activities in areas directly concerned with arts or cultural heritage for the general public.
  • Does not currently have an active Young Professionals Grant with ArtsWave and has successfully completed all previous Young Professionals grant requirements. 
  • Embody ArtsWave’s commitment to access, equity, and inclusiveness

ArtsWave will not award grant support to organizations that, in their constitution, bylaws, or practices, discriminate against a person or group because of age, race, national origin, ethnicity, gender, disability, sexual orientation, political affiliation, or religious belief. In doing so, we seek to promote respect for all people.

Eligible Requests

ArtsWave recognizes there is a lack of resources dedicated to programming specifically for young professionals. This grant program is designed to provide both seed funding to support the development of new programming, as well as short-term operating support for existing programming with a demonstrated impact.

To be eligible for the FY2021 YP Grant Program, the proposed programming should: 

  • Be participatory, social, and recurring
  • Encourage personal investment in the organization and/or community
  • Seek to increase engagement among young professionals who are already engaged
  • Strive to reach young professionals that are not already engaged
  • Have a plan for long-term sustainability

Proposed programming must begin before February 1, 2021.

Grant Amounts

Grant awards will be given up to $15,000. There is no matching funding requirement for this grant; however, priority will be given to proposals that have a financial commitment from other sources (including in-kind).

Application Instructions

All application materials must be submitted via Submittable, ArtsWave’s online grantmaking system. We strongly recommend that you begin your online application well before the due date to familiarize yourself with the online grantmaking system and to address any technical concerns. While completing your application, remember these tips:  

  • Be brief, clear and direct, focusing on what is most important. 
  • Review panelists may have little or no prior knowledge of your organization. Create a stronger application by: 1) not assuming reviewers have extensive knowledge of all artistic disciplines; 2) explaining acronyms; and 3) explaining the characteristics of your community or audience as needed.
  • We recommend that you prepare your responses offline in a word processing program and then copy and paste them into the appropriate sections of the online application.
  • Limit the use of bullets and other formatting in text fields.
  • Add Impact@ArtsWave.org to your safe senders list to ensure that you receive all communications from the online grantmaking system.
  • Use one of the following compatible browsers: Chrome® v.22+, Firefox® version v.27+, Internet Explorer® v.8-10 (if enabled), Internet Explorer v.11, Safari® v.7+, or Edge®.

 All application materials must be submitted through the online grantmaking system by 5:00 pm EST on November 2, 2020. Late applications will not be accepted. 

Determination of Grant Amount

All applications will be reviewed by a panel consisting of community volunteers and ArtsWave staff. Applications will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Programming is participatory, social and recurring.
  • Programming encourages personal investment in the organization and/or community.
  • Programming seeks to increase engagement among young professionals who are already engaged in the arts community.
  • Programming strives to reach young professionals that are not already engaged.
  • Programming can be achieved in the proposed timeline; or, if delays must occur due to COVID-19, the project can be revived and completed successfully at a future point in time.
  • Programming has a plan for sustaining the program beyond the grant seed funding.

 Requests may be funded in full or in part. 

Grant Requirements

Upon notification of award, grant recipients must submit a grant acceptance form. A single grant payment will be issued once the grant acceptance form has been received. 

In order to receive funding from ArtsWave through this grant program:

  • The proposed programming must begin before February 1, 2021 or a solid plan must be in place to begin programming within the next few months.
  • The organization must have a plan to acknowledge ArtsWave in all marketing materials and provide advanced notification to ArtsWave for all events funded by the grant.
  • The organization must present a status update to the ArtsWave YP Committee in April 2021. (date TBA)
  • The organization must submit a final report, summarizing the program and documenting how the grant funds were spent. The report form will be available on the online grantee portal.
  • An organization must fulfill all grant requirements outlined in the grantee handbook for the duration of the grant period and accurately represent its organization and its activities in all documents submitted to ArtsWave. 

Key Dates

  • Application Deadline: November 2, 2020 by 5:00 p.m. EST
  • Funding Decision: December 4, 2020
  • Project Start Date: Before February 1, 2021

Contact ArtsWave

Additional application questions may be directed to Krista Bondi, Grant Programs Manager, at krista.bondi@artswave.org. NOTE: First time applicants to ArtsWave must contact Krista Bondi to schedule an introductory phone call prior to applying.

We use Submittable to accept and review our submissions.