Doors Open

Learn more about King County's new equitable cultural access program.

Join us for the next Doors Open Shareout!
Tuesday, June 4, 12:00 pm on Zoom

At this third installment of our ongoing Shareout series, we'll share new details about operations and facilities grants opening later this year, as well as initial information on the full slate of 2025 programs.

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Overview

On December 5, 2023, the King County Council unanimously passed Doors Open legislation to increase funding to the County’s arts, heritage, science, and historic preservation non-profit organizations through a 0.1 percent sales tax. 4Culture is the County’s designated agency to distribute these funds, anticipated to be approximately $100 million per year. A minimum of 25% of all Doors Open funding will go to organizations outside of the city of Seattle.

4Culture’s Role

4Culture is a public development authority (PDA) that has been in existence for 60 years. We have a long history of serving the cultural sector through competitive grant programs and artist commissions. To access Doors Open funding, King County cultural and science organizations must apply to our grant programs; all applicants will be reviewed by community peer panels. Discipline-specific Advisory Committees review grant recommendations and final funding determination is made by our Board of Directors. 4Culture’s will integrate Doors Open funding into our existing equitable granting processes and operations.

In Context

King County’s arts, heritage, science and historic preservation community is staggeringly large; it includes roughly 700 organizations with combined annual operating budgets of over $1.5 billion dollars. Doors Open funding is a significant increase in government support, but it is only one source of funding for the cultural sector. It is crucial that family foundations, corporations, individual donors, and municipal governments maintain and increase their support to keep King County’s culture and science ecosystem vibrant.

2024 Doors Open Programs

In 2024, Doors Open revenue will fund a one-time facilities and operating grant program that will disburse approximately $48.24 million. Development of these programs is underway. The guidelines and application will be available in August and applications will be due in the fall. Award notifications will go out by the end of 2024 and awardees can begin invoicing in January 2025 to receive payment.

Doors Open Programs in 2025 and Beyond

Beginning in 2025, Doors Open Funding will be distributed via six competitive grant programs.

Sustained Support (current):

Expands 4Culture’s flagship grant program, providing operating and programmatic dollars to meet the day-to-day needs of cultural, science and technology organizations.

Approx Total Annual Program Funding: $36 million* (50%)
Prior funding: $3,540,305 allocated in 2023-24.

Public School Cultural Access (new):

Addresses gaps in K-12 cultural education. Grants will support arts, heritage, and science activities in schools.

Approx Total Annual Program Funding: $10.8 million* (15%)

Public Free Access (pilot):

Grants to help cover the costs organizations face to provide the public with free access to science and cultural experiences.

Approx Total Annual Program Funding: $10.8 million* (15%)
Prior funding: $42,000 allocated in 2023 pilot year.

Building for Equity (current):

Facilities grants to help organizations acquire, build, or renovate brick-and-mortar buildings, as well as purchase the essential equipment that makes cultural and scientific experiences possible.

Approx Total Annual Program Funding: $7.2 million* (10%)
Prior funding: $1,849,155 allocated in 2023

Countywide Initiatives (new):

County-wide investments that encourage collaboration, support individual cultural practitioners, limited-time events, or address unmet community needs.

Approx Total Annual Program Funding: $5.04 million* (7%)

Launch (new):

A fund for new, emerging organizations to ensure all geographic areas of King County and all communities have access to science and culture.

Approx Total Annual Program Funding: $2.16 million* (3%)

*72% is allocated to the six Doors Open programs, 25% is set aside for organizations outside of Seattle, and 3% is for administration costs.

Eligibility

King County-based nonprofit organizations whose primary purpose is the advancement and preservation of science or technology, the visual or performing arts, including zoology, botany, anthropology, heritage, or natural history are eligible for Doors Open funding. These organizations must provide programming or experiences available to the general public. Organizations that meet this state-mandated eligibility requirement but are not designated 501(C)3 are eligible if they are fiscally sponsored by a nonprofit organization that does meet eligibility requirements. As always, 4Culture Program Managers will be available to discuss eligibility requirements.

Not Eligible

As passed by the Washington State Legislature, Doors Open eligibility excludes individual artists, heritage professionals, and independent science and cultural workers as well as agencies of the state or any of its political subdivisions, any municipal corporation, any organization that raises money for redistribution to multiple cultural organizations, or any radio or television broadcasting network or station, cable communications system, Internet-based communications venture or service, newspaper, or magazine.

Filling the Gaps: Lodging Tax & 1% for Arts

4Culture’s Lodging Tax grant programs totaling roughly $10-$15 million per year—will continue to support these people and entities with increased funding levels. Moreover, Doors Open funding will provide new opportunities for organizations to employ artists, educators, and cultural workers as employees and contributors to their work.
1% for Art commissions funded by eligible King County capital projects will continue as well.

Racial Equity at 4Culture

Guided by a vision of a King County in which every person has what they need to explore and create culture, 4Culture is working to become an actively anti-racist organization. All funding and commission programs employ equitable practices to build a King County cultural and science sector that reflects the communities it serves. Doors Open requires that a minimum of 10% of all funding go to organizations serving historically underserved communities in King County. Visit our website for more information about our ongoing equity work.

Timeline

December 2023–June 2024
4Culture internal planning, hiring, and creation of the Doors Open Implementation Plan with input from the King County Council, our partners, and constituents.

July 2024
Implementation plan submitted to the King County Council for review and approval.

August 2024
Additional info regarding 2024 one-time facilities and operating grant programs made available.

Fall 2024
Applications for one-time facilities and operating grant programs due.

December 2024
Award notifications for one-time facilities and operating grant programs are sent out.

January 2025
Awardees may request payment for one-time facilities and operating grant awards. All other 2025-and-beyond Doors Open Programs begin throughout the year.