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Graphic Courtesy of William Penn Foundation.
Graphic Courtesy of William Penn Foundation.

Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures awards $6 million in grants to 16 diverse arts organizations

The funding aims to provide general operating support to these organizations in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

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The William Penn Foundation has announced 16 local organizations will receive over $6 million in general operating support. 

The new funding will be distributed through the Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures (PCT) initiative, which aims to support Black, Indigeneous, and People of Color (BIPOC) cultural groups, artists, and organizations with exceptional significance to the Greater Philadelphia region. 

Overall, the goal is to expand on its local philanthropic commitment to supporting a racially, economically and socially just COVID-19 recovery.

“In Philadelphia and across the country, cultural groups, artists, and organizations of color have historically struggled with fewer financial resources than their white counterparts, with the COVID-19 pandemic only exacerbating this issue,” said William Penn Foundation Board Chair Kathy Christiano, in a statement. 

“Their work is an important part of the cultural landscape in Philadelphia, and we are pleased to support such a vibrant cohort of diverse arts organizations,” she continued. 

The program aims to create new opportunities for diverse, multicultural artists, creatives, and culture-bearers and recognize their important and enduring contributions to Philadelphia and its residents. 

The first funding opportunity made available to arts organizations through PCT was a multi-year, general operating support where organizations were selected through a two-part application process by a panel of 12 local leaders and community partners. 

The 16 organizations awarded are: 

• African American Museum in Philadelphia

• Al-Bustan Seeds of Culture

• Asian Arts Initiative

• BlackStar

• Brandywine Workshop

• Bushfire Theatre of Performing Arts

• Community Education Center

• Indigenous Peoples' Day Philly Inc.

• Kulu Mele African Dance & Drum Ensemble, Inc.

• Norris Square Neighborhood Project

• Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz & Performing Arts

• Scribe Video Center

• South Asian American Digital Archive (SAADA)

• Taller Puertorriqueño

• The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO!)

• West Philadelphia Cultural Alliance/Paul Robeson House & Museum

“We are thrilled to celebrate this cohort of organizations that have contributed immeasurably to Philadelphia’s artistic community,” said Darren Walker, president of the Ford Foundation. “Their excellence and commitment to the communities they serve exemplify the principles of the America’s Cultural Treasures initiative and we cannot wait to see how they continue to grow.”

In addition to this, Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures includes two other upcoming funding opportunities.

One is a fellowship for BIPOC artists, and the other is a project grant to emergent organizations or collectives critically valued in their communities. Nominations for the former concludes in August 2022, while the latter's applications open in summer 2023. 

The process in selecting the recipients will be similar to the support grants, in which applications will be reviewed and selected by external panels of local leaders and community partners with a range of knowledge and work reflecting diverse neighborhoods in the City of Philadelphia, the field of arts and culture, and civic participation. 

Philadelphia’s Cultural Treasures is a regional component of the national America’s Cultural Treasures initiative, which has generated more than $276 million in critical funding to more than 100 organizations across the country led by and/or serving communities of color that have made a significant impact on America’s cultural landscape, despite historically limited resources. 

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