In December 2021, the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Foundation announced a gift to support arts and culture in the eight counties of Western New York, plus Monroe County, in recognition of the key role creatives play in economic development. Part of that announcement includes $500,000 in annual funding to be awarded primarily to support small to mid-sized arts and cultural organizations in the nine counties. The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo is managing and operating the endowment and grants program.
Since January, the Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo has connected with, listened to and learned from over 100 representatives of arts and cultural organizations, including arts councils, advocacy groups, nonprofits and funders from Allegany, Cattaraugus, Chautauqua, Erie, Genesee, Monroe, Niagara, Orleans and Wyoming counties. This included three listening sessions which were open to all arts and culture organizations in the nine counties. As a result, in 2022, the Community Foundation will be requesting applications for two opportunities: 1. A single arts and culture nonprofit organization may apply for up to $10,000 for operating funding. Preference will be given to organizations for which $10,000 will make a meaningful impact on their annual operations. Applicant organizations must have had no more than $3 million in revenue in their Fiscal Year 2021 to be eligible to apply. 2. Multiple arts and culture organizations may apply together for funding to support collaborative efforts to advance inclusion up to $25,000. Preference will be given to collaborations which will have a meaningful impact on inclusion and for which small to midsized arts and culture organizations receive the majority of the funding requested.