Arts Forward Fund Announces More Than $1 Million in Grants To Local Arts Groups Impacted by COVID-19

Posted on October 22, 2020

The following piece was published by Greater Washington Community Foundation. It is being cross-posted here with their permission.


Arts Forward Fund, a partnership between the Greater Washington Community Foundation, The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, and 16 other foundations and individual donors, announces grants totaling $1,048,500 to 43 arts and culture organizations in the DC region.

These grants will help organizations make essential shifts needed to sustain their work through the COVID-19 pandemic and to respond to the national movement for racial justice. A majority of the grants will be used to support expanded digital and online programming. More than 60 percent of grants and grant funding will go to organizations that are BIPOC-led and predominantly BIPOC-serving.

In response to a call for applications released in early August 2020, Arts Forward Fund received 227 applications totaling nearly $8 million.

“The volume of applications illustrates the devastating impact of the pandemic on arts and culture organizations in our region,” says Calvin Cafritz, President and CEO of The Cafritz Foundation, which made a lead grant of $500,000 to establish Arts Forward Fund. “The pandemic has exacerbated challenges for groups that have historically had inequitable access to philanthropic capital, and these grants reflect the collective commitment of our funding collaborative to prioritize those organizations.”

“Arts and culture organizations are a critical economic engine for the region and they contribute immeasurably to our sense of community and our well-being,” says Tonia Wellons, President and CEO of the Greater Washington Community Foundation. “We are proud to partner on the Arts Forward Fund to bring much needed relief to these organizations that enrich our communities and touch our lives.”

Following is a list of Arts Forward Fund grant recipients, grant amounts, and a brief description of how grant funds will be used.

  • 826DC
    $25,000 to support the shift to online and small group
    programming, including increased training for volunteers
  • Anacostia Playhouse
    $25,000 to support the shift to digital content
  • Arch Development Corporation
    $30,000 to support transition to online programs
  • Art Enables
    $25,000 to implement an enhanced digital marketing plan
  • Art Works Now
    $25,000 to support the shift to virtual programming, including an expansion of the Creative Aging program
  • ARTSFAIRFAX
    $25,000 to support the WORK-SMART training series for Fairfax County arts organizations
  • Arts on the Block
    $25,000 to upgrade IT and HR capacity with a focus on equity and human-centered design
  • ArtStream
    $25,000 to hire a virtual programming manager and develop a new evaluation system for online programs
  • Coalition for African Americans in the Performing Arts (CAAPA)
    $25,000 to support the shift to virtual programming
  • Critical Exposure
    $20,000 to support the shift to digital curriculum
  • Dance Institute of Washington
    $30,000 to support facility renovation and program evaluation with a focus on racial equity
  • Dance Place
    $30,000 to support diversity, equity, and inclusion training
  • DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative
    $50,000 to support a distance-learning database and virtual projects
  • DC Jazz Festival
    $30,000 to support a new digital content initiative
  • Foundation for the Advancement of Music and Education (FAME)
    $25,000 to support an online learning platform
  • Gala Hispanic Theatre
    $30,000 to build fundraising capacity and create online programming
  • Greater Reston Arts Center
    $20,000 to support digital content
  • Heritage Signature Chorale
    $20,000 to support digital content
  • InterAct Story Theatre
    $10,000 to support the shift to virtual and blended programs
  • Joe’s Movement Emporium
    $30,000 to support the transition to a new online teaching platform
  • Kalanidhi Dance
    $10,000 to support website development
  • Life Pieces to Masterpieces
    $30,000 to support outdoor programming, PPE and safety precautions
  • Live It Learn It
    $25,000 to support equipment and curriculum to adapt to distance learning
  • Museum of the Palestinian People
    $20,000 to strengthen the museum’s online presence and create a new online exhibition
  • Music for Life
    $10,000 to support the shift to online programs
  • One Common Unity
    $20,000 to support software and training for a digital platform
  • P0STB1NARY
    $15,000 to support online content platforms and web development
  • PEN/Faulkner
    $50,000 to support online accessibility (joint proposal with Split This Rock, The Writer’s Center, 826 DC)
  • Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center
    $25,000 to support virtual programming
  • Project Create
    $17,500 to support rebranding and marketing
  • Restoration Stage
    $25,000 to support the transition to digital programs
  • Shout Mouse Press
    $20,000 to increase digital and print sales and engage a DEI consultant
  • Step Afrika!
    $30,000 to support the shift to virtual programs
  • Synetic Theater
    $25,000 to support the shift to online content
  • Teatro de la Luna
    $20,000 to support the shift to online content
  • The Essential Theatre
    $25,000 to support capacity-building
  • Theatre Alliance
    $25,000 to support the shift to online programs
  • Urbanarias
    $16,000 to support expanded digital marketing and improved ticketing and production for digital content
  • Washington Jazz Arts Institute
    $20,000 to support an online music collaboration project
  • Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company
    $25,000 to support innovative online productions, anti-racism training, marketing
  • Words Beats And Life
    $25,000 to support the shift to online programs
  • Young Playwrights Theater
    $25,000 to support the shift to online programs
  • Zora Neale Hurston Richard Wright Foundation
    $20,000 to support the shift to online programs

About Arts Forward Fund

Launched in July 2020 with lead grants from The Morris & Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation, the Harman Family Foundation, and the Weissberg Foundation, Arts Forward Fund is a funder collaborative housed at and administered by the Greater Washington Community Foundation. Additional supporters include Linowitz Family Fund, Paul M. Angell Family Foundation, S & R Foundation, Diane & Norman Bernstein Foundation, Lois and Richard England Family Foundation, Philip L. Graham Fund, Greater Washington Community Foundation, Share Fund, Walter Brownley Trust, Nancy Peery Marriott Foundation, and other individual contributors.