Seeding Cultural Treasures Request for Proposals (RFP)
Thank you for your interest in Seeding Cultural Treasures (SCT). Applications for this RFP closed on August 24, 2023. Selected grantees will be notified via email on September 15, 2023.
|RFP announced:||Thursday, July 27, 2023|
|Application open:||Tuesday, August 1, 2023|
|Technical assistance sessions with applicants (optional):||August 1 – 24, 2023|
|Informational Webinar (optional):||Monday, August 14, 2023 – 12pm CDT|
|Proposals due:||Thursday, August 24, 2023, 5pm CDT|
|Follow-up communications with applicants, if needed:||August 25 – September 5, 2023|
|Awardees notified:||Friday, September 15, 2023|
|Grant agreements signed:||Friday, September 22, 2023|
|Awards announced:||First week of October 2023|
|Grant period begins:||September 2023|
Purpose of Grant
Seeding Cultural Treasures (SCT) is an initiative to nourish the landscape of arts and culture organizations run by and for Black, Indigenous, and other People of Color (BIPOC) in Minnesota, North Dakota, and South Dakota and the 23 Tribal Nations within that geographic area. The SCT team at Propel Nonprofits hopes to take a step toward reimagined ways of investing and capacity building in these organizations by:
- Strengthening networks intentionally for BIPOC artists and arts and culture organizations.
- Partnering with funders for more abundant, restorative, and transformative opportunities.
- Centering relationship building and trust in grantmaking.
- Providing unrestricted general operating funds.
- Creating multiple pathways for optional and ongoing support through technical assistance support and peer-learning opportunities.
An initial round of unrestricted general operating grants were distributed to 501(c)(3) and fiscally sponsored organizations, and/or units of the 11 tribal governments in Minnesota, in 2022 (see information about the 2022 Minnesota grantees here). In partnership with First Peoples Fund and The Waterers, 12 organizations and 56 individual artists and culture bearers in North and South Dakota have also received unrestricted general operating grants and access to trainings, convenings, and technical assistance through 2025.
This round of the SCT initiative is providing funds and technical assistance for arts and culture organizations that have 501(c)(3) status, are fiscally sponsored, and/or are units of tribal government in Minnesota and/or the 11 Tribal Nations within its border. We are specifically prioritizing organizations located in and serving Greater Minnesota communities (outside of the 7-County Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro geographic area, consisting of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington Counties). We are aiming to widen the reach of the SCT program to arts and culture organizations serving Greater Minnesota, and this focused Request for Proposals (RFP) will help us achieve that goal.
This RFP is exclusively open to organizations located in and serving Greater Minnesota. However, Propel Nonprofits will also review a select number of proposals received in 2022 that were scored highly by reviewers but were not funded by the SCT program, including organizations located in the Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro area. Some of those organizations will be considered for support in this phase. Organizations will be notified if they are being considered for funding in this round and will have an opportunity to update their application submissions.
Benefits for Organizations Selected
- General operating grant between $50,000 and $70,000 over two and a half years. Recipients will work with Propel to determine the distribution of the grant.
- Technical assistance to grantees in financial administration and other nonprofit finance, strategy, and governance areas.
- Optional workshops and peer-learning opportunities in other focus areas as determined by recipients. To strengthen and nourish the BIPOC arts and culture landscape, many of these workshops, peer learnings, and networking opportunities will be available to all applicants and the wider BIPOC arts and culture community, regardless of being a grantee.
Expectations of Organizations Selected
- Attend grantee onboarding/kickoff and annual grantee convenings.
- Participate in Developmental Evaluation (DE) activities related to Seeding Cultural Treasures (SCT) programming throughout the grant period.
Organization Eligibility Criteria
The primary organization eligibility criteria are:
- Organizations with current annual budgets with expenses less than $500,000.
- Arts and culture organizations that have (501(c)(3) status, are fiscally sponsored, and/or are units of tribal government in Minnesota and/or the 11 Tribal Nations within its border.
- Organizations located in and serving Greater Minnesota (outside of the 7-County Minneapolis-Saint Paul Metro geographic area, consisting of Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington Counties).
- Organizations must have an arts and culture focus/programming that is significant to their organizational operating budget.
- Organizations have been providing arts and culture programming for at least two years.
- Organization’s Executive Director/CEO identifies as BIPOC or at least 50% of board members identify as BIPOC, AND the organization demonstrates a significant prioritization of arts and culture to serve BIPOC arts communities or a specified/defined community of color.
If you are interested in applying but are not currently a 501(c)(3) or fiscally sponsored organization, we will still accept your submission to participate in the program on the condition that if selected, you become fiscally sponsored within 60 days of notification of your selection.
Informational Webinar and FAQ Page
We will be offering an optional informational webinar on Monday, August 14 from 12:00-1:00pm. Click here to register.
There is also a page on our website with frequently asked questions (FAQ) about the SCT program. We are happy to answer any remaining questions directly – please email us at SCT@propelnonprofits.org, or set up a meeting using the information below.
Applicants can schedule technical assistance meetings with program staff to support their application preparation. With previous grant programs, we found many applicants wanted support in thinking through the application including the eligibility and narrative questions.
RFP Review Process
Propel Nonprofits will engage an internal Selection Committee to review and select the grant recipients for this round. The committee will be made up of Propel staff across different program areas, all with significant experience in the nonprofit sector and in Minnesota communities. The Committee will be provided training on how to avoid unintended bias in their application review, and review each application based on its own merits.
- Download a Word Document copy of the application questions.
- All applicants must apply through our online form; a Word document of the questions is provided as a resource to applicants.
- The application is in two sections: a short preliminary section, and a longer narrative section. Access information for the longer narrative section will be provided to you in an email after you submit the first section of the application
- The application closed on Thursday, August 24, 2023, at 5 pm.
Application Submission Tips
- Text boxes include maximum word counts to keep proposals simple and concise. There is no formatting (bold or italics). You may find that you do not need all the words allotted.
- Do not include hyperlinks in text boxes, as the panel review will be limited to the content of your application. If you include a hyperlink, they will be removed.
Propel requests all applicants apply online unless a disability prevents you from doing so. Propel works to ensure that grant guidelines, presentations, and any other written materials are created with accessibility principles in mind. Additionally, we are happy to provide materials in Large Print or other formats with advanced notice of at least one week. (Even if the notice timeline has elapsed, we will do our best to accommodate the request.) Documents linked in this text are formatted in a text format that is friendly to screen readers and text resizing.
If you would like to request a translation of the application questions, please contact us with advanced notice of at least one week. (Even if the notice timeline has elapsed, we will do our best to accommodate the request.) At this time, questions must be answered in English because our reviewers primarily speak English.
Video or Written Response Options
You have a choice of answering the 5 narrative questions in the application either in writing or with a video submission. The remainder of the application needs to be completed in writing.
If you choose to answer the narrative questions with a video submission, you will have an option to select that on the application. Instructions for how to upload video files for the narrative questions will be included in the application portal.
Below are only the narrative questions for the application.
PLEASE NOTE: Our review process does not prioritize proper phrasing, language, or exact details. The priority is to provide organizations with the support they need in a timely manner. Please tell us about your work. Word limits are to keep proposals simple and concise.
History of Community Impact: Demonstrates history of amplifying, connecting with, building with and/or bringing value to BIPOC communities
- Share about the ways that your organization has amplified, connected with, built with and/or added value to BIPOC communities in your region.
(350-word maximum or 3-minute video)
BIPOC Focus: Strategic focus on stewarding and sustaining artistic and/or cultural traditions rooted in a specific/defined community or communities of color; these communities can be multiracial. Community served can be defined as staff, volunteers, participating artists, and/or participants
- Which cultural communities does your organization focus on and serve in its programs?
- In what ways do the people working in or with your organization authentically reflect and are positioned to serve this cultural community?
(350-word maximum or 3-minute video)
Dedication to arts and culture: Organization is dedicated to arts and culture
- How much of your organization’s budget is dedicated to arts and cultural staffing and activities?
- What areas or intersections of art and culture does your organization focus on?
(250-word maximum or 2-minute video)
Understanding of today: An understanding of the challenges and opportunities available for their organization and their support of their communities
- What are the big priorities for your organization at this point in time?
- What challenges are you facing?
- What opportunities are available to you as you think about your work in the communities you serve?
(500-word maximum or 4-minute video)
Future vision and approach: The priorities for the organization and what will it take to accomplish those goals
- What do you hope to accomplish by being a part of this initiative?
- If capacity or money wasn’t an issue, what would your organization want to prioritize?
- What types of support would help you accomplish your priorities?
(500-word maximum or 4-minute video)
For 501(c)(3) Organizations:
In addition to the narrative questions, the following documentation (attached as pdfs) will be requested in the application for 501(c)(3) organizations:
- Most recent 990 (If your organization does not file a 990, please attach your most recent 990-EZ or 990-N.) (upload pdf file)
- 501(c)(3) Determination Letter (upload pdf file)
- Current year, board-approved organizational budget (upload pdf file)
- List of board members and affiliations (upload pdf file)
- List of staff and their titles/roles (upload pdf file)
For Fiscally Sponsored Organizations:
- In addition to the narrative questions, the following documentation (attached as pdfs) will be requested in the application for fiscally sponsored organizations:
- Fiscal Sponsor Agreement (upload pdf file)
- Your organization’s current year, board-approved organizational budget (upload pdf file)
- List of your organization’s board members and affiliations (upload pdf file)
- List of your organization’s staff and their titles/roles (upload pdf file)
Funding is made possible by Bush Foundation, Ford Foundation, Jerome Foundation, and McKnight Foundation.