Saturday, August 20, 2011

IL Cultural Data Project

You know that we have joined a dozen other funders in requiring the use of the IL Cultural Data Project (CDP) as part of the application process, but do you know why? The features that allow you to easily illustrate trends in key indicators, such as earned income, contributed income, or operating deficits, help us track your progress without having to ask you for lots of information in your final reports. That is one good reason to keep it current, particularly if your organization is improving. Although we need to see the FY2010 figures for all SMART Growth applicants, if you have completed your 2011 fiscal year and already have the audit/Form 990, it's important to enter those figures, as well.

There's another good reason that so many funders are driving their grantees to this data collection system. There are now 698 arts/cultural organizations in Cook County that have entered data for 1-3 fiscal years, and we can begin to see what is "normal" and will be sharing that with you.

We will also be integrating this data into our Cultural Vitality Indicators for the region and sharing it with the City of Chicago to help inform the development of its new Cultural Plan. For this reason, it is essential that the data reflects the broad and diverse spectrum of our sector and is not skewed by lack of participation among small groups, ethnic organizations, suburban locations, etc.

So, now that you are in the know about its value, can I get you to think differently about some of the numbers you enter - specifically, those related to participation? Currently, researchers cannot use this data for analysis because organizations are entering figures that are not valid. A common example, is an organization that performs at a festival or marches in a parade and lists hundreds of thousands of audience members. First, attendance at these events is always a very vague estimate, and more important, unless the parade was in honor of your organization or it was your organization's festival, the throngs of participants are not really YOUR audience - right? We will never be able to determine if and how strategies for increasing audience participation work if folks continue to inflate their numbers to the point where no one will waste time analyzing them across the arts industry. These figures need to be useful, both to you and the field, so please keep that in mind when putting numbers together regarding attendance. Thanks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Grant ID

This is the # that will be assigned by the Grants Manager at the Chicago Community Trust. No one has one now because this is your first SMART Growth grant. As you apply for your annual renewal in 2012 and 2013, the Grant ID # will show which grant you are referencing.

So just leave that blank.

3 year plan confirmation

Are we ever allowed to provide a narrative in terms of our 3 year plan or are we only giving impact outcomes measurements per each year. I ask because our board has went over the top with suggestions and details regarding each of our management areas and im not sure how to share this info in the proposal.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Request ID

On the year one template, we are asked for a "Request ID". Do we have one already or is that assigned to us later?

Tellin' Tales Theatre

Friday, August 12, 2011

Managment Area(s)

We are coming down to the finishing the Three Year Plan draft, but are wondering if by focusing on just one lagging Management Area for all three years, we should have focused on more than one. Maybe another for Year 2 and yet another for Year 3? Or are we OK with focusing on one all the way through?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Answer to Question from UIMA

Regarding the financial information to be provided in the Year 1 proposal, it should include the year that just ended (audited or not), the current year (total budgeted figures), and the most recently audited year. You do not need to include 2 audited years, as long as they are accessible in your IL Cultural Data Project Report (which must be attached every year).

The "top 5 sources of income" should be actual figures from the current year.

I'll begin checking this blog every day as we are getting closer to the deadline.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

3 Year SMART Growth Plan/ Yr 1 Grant Proposal Proof Deadline Reminder

Afternoon everyone,

I want to remind everyone that the deadline for submission of the 3 Year SMART Growth Plan/ Yr 1 Grant Proposal Proof is this coming Monday - 15th August 2011.

All documents should be emailed to myself at  The documents Andrew requires to start his review are the completed 3 Year SMART Growth Plan, and the completed Year 1 Grant Proposal.  We DO NOT need any of the CDP data, board list documents, or copies of your AG990 or completed audit. 

We look forward to receiving your documents.

SMART Growth 3 Yr Plan Guidelines

Hi everyone,

I am starting a new post addressing the couple of questions from earlier today, as comments are not as visible.

Regarding the structure of the 3 year plan, please find below a link to a document which reiterates the steps outlined in the smARTscope Report, but also gives you a template to work with.  This template is not mandatory, so hopefully if you have started your own structured document, you do not need to restart.  However this template can still be used as a guide.

The document can be downloaded from the following link:

3 Year SMART Growth Plan Guide/Template

3 Year plan

The last page of the report doesnt give directions as to how the 3-yr plan should be structured

3 Year Smart Grow plan

In regards to the 3 year plan, are we creating this in a seperate word document? SHould it only contain impact, outcome and measurements?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Questions about Year 1 Proposal

Q. 1: Under "Organizational Budget" section of Year 1 Grant Proposal - revenue, expenses and surplus/deficit figures have to be provided for "Most recently audited fiscal year FY 20__", "Most recently completed fiscal year (if not yet audited) FY 20__", and "FY2012 Budget". As our organization is on a calendar year reporting basis (Jan. - Dec.) we have the audited figures for FY2010, should the middle column be left blank or do we have to provide FY2011 Budget?

Q. 2: For which year(s) "Other Sources of Income" must be provided?

Thank you

Question re: 3 yr plan

For the SMART Growth 3-year plan, should we continue to use the same format requested for year 1? Essentially, are you asking us to identify Management Area, Impact Statement, Outcomes, & Measures for Year 1, 2, & 3? Or do you need a narrative as well in the 3-year plan?

Monday, August 1, 2011

1st Year Grant Application

The Outcomes and Measures provided in our survey results are excellent, and will be taken seriously by our Board and Staff. We are using these Outcomes and Measures as the basis of our application in the area in which we are seeking the grant. Can we do this? Or do we need to create our own Os & Ms on the application?