Update March 24, 2021: The March 11, 2021 deadline has now passed and the LOI portal has closed to new submissions. Organizations that submitted LOIs have now be informed of whether their projects have been advanced to the full proposal stage later this month. Those selected to submit a full proposal will have 4 weeks from the invitation date to write and submit their proposal. We expect to make awards announcements in May. An anonymous jury of experts in the field will be solely responsible for the final awards decisions. Because of the volume of applications we received, we are unable to give specific feedback to every organization that submitted an LOI. However, we have created a page detailing the characteristics of a successful LOI to help inform future submissions for this or other Thoma Foundation grants.
How will the application process work? When can I expect to hear something back?
After you submit a Letter of Inquiry (LOI), our grants team will review and let you know if we want to invite a full application. The LOI deadline is March 11, 2021. As stated in the update above, the latest your organization will hear something is mid-March. Full applications will have a deadline of 4 (four) weeks from the invitation date, and extensions can be granted on a case-by-case basis.
What do you ask for in the LOI?
Our LOI form is designed to give us an overall sketch of your organization and the project you hope to execute with the Digital Changemaker Grant. The LOI form in our grants portal covers the following:
- An Organizational Profile that includes:
- Basic information about your organization, including annual operating budget and organization type
- Organization Mission
- Organization Core Strengths
- Organizational Equity
- Organizational Digital Strategy
- A Project Description that includes:
- Project start date and end date
- Total project budget and amount requested
- Project goals
- Rough timeline of project activity
- Use of requested funds
- Expected immediate output
- How you intend to use immediate outputs to evaluate initial success
- Short, medium, and long-term results of your project
- How you will track short-, medium-, and long-term results and evaluate overall success
- If this is a long-term project, how will you sustain it?
- Space for other comments about the project
- Requested Document Uploads:
- Your most recent 990
- Brief bios of your board and leadership team
I notice that the Digital Changemaker Grant is described as “up to $100,000.” Are you looking for projects that are close to $100,000, or can I submit a proposal for a significantly lower amount?
We are most interested in projects that can make good use of our an amount close to our maximum funding of $100,000. If your organization has multiple digital projects in the works, consider applying to cover multiple, related projects. We want to encourage bold, strategic proposals that can spark long-term institutional change, and anticipate that a funding amount near $100,000 will be necessary for most organizations to make that happen. To put it simply, our Foundation reviewers will be more excited by a $90,000 proposal than a $30,000 proposal.
I represent a dance company/theater/opera/symphony. We’d like to move our programming online since the pandemic has made it impossible for us to have in-person performances. Are we eligible for a Digital Changemaker Grant?
Unfortunately, we are not accepting applications from organizations that work only in the performing arts. The Thoma Art Foundation has its roots in supporting the visual arts, and in keeping with our history and mission, we ask that our applicants for the Digital Changemaker Grant engage visual and/or material cultural in a significant way.
Is this opportunity available for publicly funded institutions or for departments within publicly funded institutions?
Yes, as long as the organization meets our other eligibility criteria.
I’m an individual. Can I apply for funding?
Unfortunately, this funding opportunity is only available for organizations and not individuals.
Why the $500,000 minimum annual budget cutoff? I work for a smaller arts organization and we could definitely use $100,000 to improve our digital presence!
We want to make sure that the organizations we work with have enough fulltime staff members to support the significant work that will be necessary for a Digital Changemaker Grant project to succeed. Given that we are a private foundation, we are also concerned about tipping small organizations from their public charity status.
I represent a consortium of arts organizations. On our own, we don’t meet the $500,000 minimum. However, we are planning to apply as a group. Are we eligible?
We encourage collaborative and interdisciplinary projects and are open to creative solutions. We’d love to hear from you if you think you might have an exception to this or our other eligibility rules. We’ll answer on a case-by-case basis.
I work for a midsize arts organization. Under normal circumstances, our annual budget tops the $10M annual budget cutoff. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic our budget is dramatically reduced and for FY 2020 we operated at below $10M. Are we eligible to apply now?
Yes! We recognize that midsize organizations have also been aversely impacted by COVID but are still striving to advance innovative digital projects in the face of layoffs and budget cuts. Feel free to explain your organization’s financial situation in the LOI form, or reach out our grants team at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any specific questions about eligibility.
How do you think about representation of specific demographics or geographies?
Our aim is to cultivate a portfolio of grantees that are community-oriented and committed to diversity, equity, accessibility, and inclusion. We will support a mix of established organizations and less mainstream organizations. We may not select one grantee from each state, but we will consider geography served when reading the applications.
I can’t find my organization in your grant portal.
Our database searches IRS records. Please try using the EIN (employer identification number) if the name isn’t showing up. Sometimes an organization will have an ‘official’ name on tax documents that is different from its public-facing name.
If you are still having problems, please email email@example.com with your issue.
I registered with your grant portal but this funding opportunity isn’t showing up.
Please check that you are registered as a US-registered nonprofit organization, not as an individual.
I’m having trouble with the grant portal. Can you help?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your issue and any relevant screenshots.
The grant portal is available here.
I have specific questions and would like to talk to a member of the grants team.
Please see our new Grants Contact page to sign up for time to speak with one of our team members.