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Iowa Arts Council launching program to help small arts nonprofits with organization, financial resources


A section of the 4,400 square foot Broadway Street mural completed in 2020 after years of collaboration between SDNA and local volunteers. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

The Iowa Arts Council (IAC) is now taking applications for a program designed to help small arts and cultural nonprofits with getting their finances in order and developing new organizational skills. The Iowa Cultural Leadership Cohort will be a two-year program, starting this summer on July 1 and running through June 30, 2024.

The first year of the program will be centered on three in-person workshops, according to the IAC site.

September 2022 – Operations Workshop for all participants
Topics may include: budgeting, volunteer management, board development, core documents

November 2022 – Sustainability Workshop for all participants
Topics may include: financial resource development, leadership succession planning, audience development

January 2023 – Divide cohort into two workshop series – Collections Management & Exhibits and Arts Programming (this may change depending on participating organizations)

In the second year of the program, participating organizations will “receive resources to support the additional training and assistance identified in their action plan.”

To qualify, an arts, cultural or humanities-focused nonprofit must have been started no later than June 1, 2019, be a 501(c)(3) organization and registered as such with the Iowa Secretary of State’s Office, and have “annual cash operating expenses of less than $500,000 at the time of application based on their last completed fiscal year.” It also must have at least one staff member or volunteer who “works for the organization year round and is responsible for oversight and management of the organization.”

More information, including how the applications will be scored, is available at IAC’s site, as is a link to the online application submission portal. Application must be received by Friday, June 17 at 11:59 p.m.

Applications will be reviewed by a panel of staff members form the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. “Decisions of the panel are final and may not be appealed due to dissatisfaction,” according the site.

Organizations will be informed by email if they have been chosen for the program. Notification are scheduled to be sent out by July 1. Until then, the IAC says applicants “are encouraged to refrain from contacting staff for application status updates.”


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