GRANTS: Guidence & FAQs for Applicants
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Grants and/or fellowship applications should speak to CTFA mission and values as well as address specific priorities established by the CTFA Board.
The purpose of our CTFA grants and fellowships are to support our Foundation’s mission and values which are:
Mission: The Childrens Theatre Foundation challenges and supports theatre artists to achieve excellence in service to young people.
• The Art of Theatre
• Children and Youth
The 2022 Priority to be updated for 2023
CTFA embraces the opportunity to show leadership in dismantling institutional and structural racism. We support theatre artists and organizations that embody the values of diversity, racial equity and inclusion in demonstrable ways and promote the involvement of communities that have been historically disadvantaged and socially and politically excluded based on race.
CTFA is committed to dismantling institutional and structural racism in the field of Theatre for Young Audiences and will give preference to applicants who demonstrate their work toward this goal.
See the full CTFA Equity/Diversity/Inclusion (EDI) Statement
Funding in any grant category for any specific year depends always on the competition in any given year – how the other applications look in comparison to yours.
1. Explore the CTFA web site. Carefully read the guidelines for your grant and/or fellowship category. Reviewing the description of previous recipients might help you determine if your project is a good fit. Tailor your application to our guidelines and priorities. It is important that your application demonstrates a clear connection to the mission of your organization, focus of your project and intensions of the CTFA grant guidelines.
2. Gather the basic information you will need to apply.
If you have questions at this point, call or email for clarification.
For questions for Founders Grants: Founders.CTFA@gmail.com
For questions for Harris Grants or Fellowships: firstname.lastname@example.org
3. Be as specific as possible with your descriptions and responses to our application questions. Your proposal should generate a sense of excitement, give us a clear picture of your creative process and should be crafted to fit our guidelines, values and priorities.
4. Your project budget should be specific. Include income and expenses for the project. You should have a balanced budget with expenses equaling income sources. For the Harris applications, follow the basic budget form provided.
5. Double check to make sure you have attached all the documents we have requested.
6. Please note our deadlines. Regretfully, we will not be able to make exceptions.
7. Please carefully review your application before submitting for clarity, spelling, typos, clear layout and whether your application addresses our mission, guideline questions and priorities. It can be helpful to have someone, familiar with your work but not directly involved in the project, read through the proposal to be sure you have clearly, succinctly and enthusiastically described your project and that you have adequately addressed the CTFA guidelines.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
My theatre is outside the USA, can I apply?
We only accept applications from theatres that are 501c3 IRS certified Not-for-Profit working in the USA. This includes USA territories.
If I have a project that does not meet the stated CTFA priority, will I have a chance for funding?
The short answer is NO. Even if yours is an excellent proposal for a worthy project, other proposals that do speak directly to our priorities will receive a higher rating and will be funded.
I was funded for a fellowship last year and want to apply again for a grant for my theatre. In some of your grant guidelines, you state that: “Priority consideration will be given to applicants not funded by a CTFA grant during the previous two years.” Will I be considered?
We do not want to repeatedly fund the same organizations or people year after year. If we receive an application from an artist or from a theatre that we funded in the last 2 years, it will receive a lower priority. “Lower priority” does not mean we cannot fund that application but it does mean that, if we have another applicant with equal or higher quality ratings, we will fund that applicant. In the past, we have occasionally funded a few who have received funding within the 2 year window; however, these have been exceptional applications that reflect an amazing, possibly time-dependent opportunity for the theatre or the individual and only when other applicants are not as highly rated.
How do you apply “free performances or ticket subsidies” in some of your guidelines to the evaluation of applications?
CTFA believes the art of theatre should be valued and locally supported with ticket sales or subsidies from the local community and we feel that ticket subsidies is not the most effective use of our funds. Our goal is to make a difference through projects that will advance the field or challenge the creative process and be a model to expand diversity in theatre.
What is “earned income?”
This is funds received from ticket sales or workshop fees that would be directly paid to your theatre for your “product.” (i.e. play, workshop, arts experience, etc.) CTFA expects that a theatre would value their product and would have “earned income” as well as “contributed income” to use as a match for proposed projects.
You say you will not fund “projects already underway” in some of your guidelines. How is that defined?
We are interested in funding projects that create a new challenge and which would be a stretch for your theatre. We do not fund on-going programs, productions or projects already running in your theatre, that are apparent on your web site. We are not interested in projects that are similar to something you have already done or are currently doing in your season or educational programs.
We are a presenter organization. Can we apply?
CTFA is committed to funding the creation of new work and innovative approaches to more traditional material. We do not usually fund presenters unless there is a particularly compelling reason for doing so in partnership with a producing organization.
How could we get an exception for your timeline?
If you are asking for an exception in your project timeline, i.e. for the beginning and/or conclusion of your project, please email email@example.com in order to discuss the specifics of your proposed project to determine if your application will be accepted using a modified schedule. After projects have begun, requests for extensions, because of unexpected delays, have been granted. As far as issues with the beginning date of your project, The CTFA board must approve all funding recommendations; therefore, beginning timelines for a proposed project must follow that meeting schedule.
When will I be notified of the review results? Why is it so long from the time of application to the notification and start of funding?
Notification dates are given in our guidelines but occasionally we have given prior notice before that date. It depends on when our board meets to act on the review recommendations. Our board members and grant reviewers are all volunteers, so we require sufficient time to accommodate their schedules in considering grants.
Some of your guidelines mention that a CTFA board liaison will be assigned to a funded project. Do we have input into who that person is and what they help us with?
The liaison is selected by and represents the CTFA board. This individual is to provide advice, possibly direct you to helpful resources and to monitor the progress of the project in terms of the original application. The liaison will not work directly with your project. In some cases, before the liaison is named, CTFA may contact you to clarify your needs and gain insight into who might best serve your project.
In your Harris grant guidelines, you allow funding for equipment. How do we address your values by proposing buying equipment?
Aurand Harris understood that often a piece of equipment (lighting, sound, special effects, etc.) can greatly enhance the theater experience for youth. Please tell us why you need this equipment, why you need help obtaining it, in light of our priorities and values who might be operating it/using it/learning on it, and how will it serve you artistically now and in future productions and programming.
Can we apply for a Harris grant using a not-for-profit status of a theatre with a budget over one million dollars?
Is your theatre’s budget and the proposed project budget operating totally separately from the budget of the not-for-profit qualifying theatre? Are there separate boards? On the surface the answer to this question is NO but this is a question where you should contact the CTFA grants VP to discuss this so we understand how you are partnering with the other theatre.
What can we count for our one-to-one cash match if we are applying for equipment – in-kind volunteer installation/set-up of the new equipment?
Any part of the total cost of the equipment above our grant amount would count toward your match but you also need to show in the budget where that match comes from – other grants, ticket sales, etc. If you count under “revenue,” in-kind volunteer time for installation, etc, you would also need to show that under “expenses” so that may not help you for your match in a case where you are applying for equipment. You definitely need to show that your theatre can handle the match or you do not qualify.
What does one-to-one match mean?
This means for every dollar you are applying for, you must provide a match of one dollar which you must show in your proposed project budget; but in some of our guidelines, we also say that in-kind salaries and services may be counted as part of your match. In this case, it is important to explain in the application that these salaries and services are specifically earmarked and related directly to the project you are proposing. We do not wish to fund your regular staff for conducting their regular programs/season roles from the project grant money.
We are an elementary school and need money to support a theatre production. Can we apply?
No. The only way you could benefit from our grants is to partner with a not-for-profit theatre in a specific project where that theatre is the applicant. Read carefully the WHO CAN APPLY section of the guidelines.
Can we include letters of recommendation from the community?
Yes, but only if they relate specifically to your proposed project or clarify a partnership with a vital community resource. Our evaluation is based on how well your application demonstrates need, the long-range effect on your theatre and the field, what kind of artistic quality we see in the resumes, feasibility for you to accomplish your project goals, meeting the match (if that applies), and how you specifically relate to CTFA’s mission, values and priorities. Extra material that requires more time from the reviewers, no matter how impressive, might only be skimmed. CTFA asks our reviewers to focus on the required material so they may fairly compare applications. We get many applications and it takes our reviewers a great deal of time to fairly review all applications.
If you have other questions that are not covered above FAQ list, contact the email address for the grant category you are interested in. These are listed in the application materials on the web site.
CTFA wants to encourage innovative work that makes a difference in the lives of young audiences. While we are limited by our donor restrictions and our board priorities, we also want you to submit the best application you can. (updated 1-1-2022)