Arts & Culture

Facility investments and building reserves

Drawing on our historical expertise as a funder of arts and cultural facilities, we want to help arts and cultural organizations properly maintain these important physical assets. In doing so, we are assisting organizations as they build financial reserves to meet the short- and long-term operating expenses associated with maintaining their buildings.

Initiative Overview

This grant opportunity requires arts and cultural organizations to examine their comprehensive capitalization plans and include the annual costs associated with operating and maintaining the physical infrastructure of their organizations, namely their facilities.

Our historic role as a funder for facilities has taught us two things: (1) that many organizations do not plan for the costs associated with operating their new or expanded facilities and the inevitable increases that come over time, and (2) many organizations do not plan for and set aside reserve funds to maintain the buildings.

Although this grant opportunity places an emphasis on facility investments and building reserves, its primary purpose is to foster the examination and understanding of comprehensive organizational capitalization.

Organizations may apply for the following:

  • Both facility investments and building reserves, or
  • Building reserves only.

Facility investment grants will prioritize renovation and repair projects. (On occasion, this grant may be awarded for new construction that includes exemplary environmental sustainability practices.)

A building reserve grant seeds or enhances an organization’s building reserve fund for the ongoing maintenance and replacement of an organization’s facilities. We do not fund reserves solely for equipment.


Who is eligible?

  • Organizations whose primary mission is arts and culture.
  • Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations based in the United States that are not classified as private foundations and have financial statements prepared and certified by a certified public accountant in accordance with U.S. Generally Accepted Accounting Principles or Government Accounting Standards.
  • Nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations that have a long-term agreement to operate a government-owned facility.

Who is not eligible?

  • Organizations with an active grant from Kresge.
  • Subsidiary organizations, programs and departments focused on arts and cultural activities, or those associated with parent organizations such as universities or human services agencies.
  • Startup organizations or those with less than two full years of operation.
  • Organizations that are both owned and operated by a government entity.
  • Organizations without an audit as described above. Reviews, compilations or financial statements prepared on a cash or modified cash basis will not be accepted.
  • Organizations located outside the United States.

Application Process

An open call for preliminary applications from grantseekers interested in this initiative closed March 1 at 5 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. It was the final call for this initiative.

An application has two parts:

  1. Part, 1, the preliminary application, contains a data-entry component and several attachments, including a narrative.
  2. If a program officer determines your request is favorable, he or she will ask you to provide additional information. This will constitute Part 2 of the application process.

Within 10 weeks of the Part 1 submission you will be contacted. We invite those with promising requests to complete the second part of the application process.

Final grant amount decisions will be made after review of the two-part application and conversations with the potential grantee.

We encourage you to review the slide show Understanding the Arts and Culture Program's Facility Investments and Building Reserves Grant Opportunity, and read Capitalization Philosophy and Terms and Guide to Building Reserves before beginning your application.

In the preliminary application we ask you to analyze your organization’s business drivers and your capitalization plan and explain how your grant request serves as the next step in achieving a comprehensive capitalization plan. At the same time, we ask you to submit several financial documents and a narrative that addresses specific questions, including how your organization is advancing Kresge’s values.

Four values in particular shape the grantmaking in the Arts and Culture Program. They are:

  • Creating opportunity and enhancing access to arts and culture through authentic and relevant programs that exemplify excellence in the field, involve people of all social and economic backgrounds and increase participation of new and nontraditional audiences.
  • Exhibiting a high level of community impact through work that contributes to a vibrant arts and cultural ecosystem and exemplifies excellence in the field, benefits the broad local community and reflects the diversity of the community population, advances community-building efforts and embodies key principles of community planning to enhance quality of life.
  • Stimulating innovation through work that furthers best practices in the field, uses new and possibly untested approaches and brings multiparty, interdisciplinary approaches to problems that defy solution by a single sector.
  • Supporting institutional transformation and the capacity to profoundly influence the overall organization and its operations or create new business models to strengthen financial stability.

Request review process

Each part-one application is evaluated against the following criteria:

  • Alignment with our values as outlined above.
  • Evidence of a clearly articulated capitalization plan as outlined on the Institutional Capitalization page and in the guide, Capitalization Philosophy and Terms. This plan is linked to the overall strategic plan and is supported by financial materials such as pro forma documents.
  • Evidence of planning, including but not limited to external market research and analysis for earned and contributed revenue, benchmarking research and system replacement plans.
  • Evidence that the proposed request fits within the organization’s larger capitalization plan and is the next appropriate step in that plan, and that the organization understands how the proposed request will affect its future operating budget and balance sheet.
  • Evidence of a realistic fundraising plan, if appropriate to the request.
  • Assessment of the liquid, unrestricted net assets available for operations as demonstrated by the Unrestricted Net Assets Tool.