4Culture Grants + Calls

Building for Equity: Capacity-Building Grants

Is your organization looking to secure, acquire, or improve a cultural space or historic place? This funding can help you meet your long-term facility needs.

Steps to Apply

1 What Does Building for Equity: Capacity-Building Fund?

1 What Does Building for Equity: Capacity-Building Fund?

The Building for Equity: Capacity Building Grants invest in an organization’s development, allowing them to secure their long-term facility needs. These grants of up to $25,000 may fund a wide-range of activities that increase an organization’s capability to advocate and plan for, fundraise for, lease, acquire, repair, remodel, and/or construct space suitable for their programming in a sustainable, long-term manner. This fund prioritizes organizations located in, and providing services to, historically underserved communities within King County.


We fund all of our grants through a competitive process, carefully evaluating each application.

For this particular grant, we’ll look to see how well your project shows the following:

  • Quality and qualifications: The reasoning behind your proposed capacity building activities, how they relate to your organization’s ability to secure or improve facilities in the future, and how central they are to your mission and the services your organization provides to King County residents and visitors.
  • Priorities: Organizations that are located in and that prioritize serving historically marginalized communities or audiences outside of Seattle will be prioritized if all above criteria are met.
  • Feasibility: Your ability to complete the work described in your request with the resources and time available to your organization.
  • Impact: The impact the work described will have on your organization’s future sustainability and ability to improve or secure its facilities. How will the community benefit from these investments.

Public Benefit: Why It Matters

Every time a visitor to Washington State stays in a hotel, they pay a Lodging Tax—this is where our funding comes from, and our mission is to put it back into the community. As you work through your application, tell us exactly how your fellow King County residents will be able to enjoy and learn from your work. Here are some ways you can provide public benefit:

    • Free performances, exhibitions, workshops, screenings, or readings.
    • Events in the often under-served areas of suburban or rural King County, to low-income, youth and senior groups, individuals with limited physical abilities, recent immigrants, or residents from minority races or ethnicities.
    • Free, electronically accessible materials, including literary publications, audio, or video recordings.

2 Are You Eligible?

2 Are You Eligible?

Your organization

Organizations must meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • Your organization is a federally-recognized 501(c)(3) arts, heritage, or historic preservation-focused organization, public corporation, tribal government, or organization that is fiscally-sponsored by a 501(c)(3) partner organization.
  • Your organization has a two-year minimum operating history demonstrating arts, heritage, preservation, and/or cultural contributions.
    Your organization has an annual operating budget of less than $3,500,000.
  • Your organization must meet one of the following equity-focused priority groups:
    • Your organization is outside of the City of Seattle.
    • Your organization is located Seattle, but is also in a 2010 US Census tract area with a Communities of Opportunity index percentile of 60% or greater. These locations are shown in red on this map:
Please email buildingforequity@4culture.org if you would like a specific address located on this map.

If your organization does not have a primary location, it may qualify if 51% of programming in the past two years occurred in locations that would meet the requirements above.

Organizations that do not meet one of the criteria above may submit a statement for consideration by the Review Panel. The statement should describe how the organization’s primary mission or services support historically underserved communities.

Your proposal

The capacity-building work you propose to fund must directly aid your organization in securing or improving facilities in the future.

Examples of fundable activities include:

    • Consultant and staff expenses for the creation of a strategic plan geared towards a capital campaign or a facilities plan.
    • Hiring fundraising consultants or fundraising staff to expand fundraising capacity, develop a capital fundraising plan and/or conduct a feasibility study.
    • Training for board, staff and volunteers in leadership development, fundraising, and/or institutional planning to prepare for a capital campaign or construction project.
    • Architectural master planning, predesign and concept design services.
    • Building condition assessments, historic structure reports, or preservation plans.
    • Consultant fees and other expenses for ADA-compliance facilities planning.
    • Design and planning for facility modifications in response to COVID-19.
    • Expenses related to community charettes, including participant stipends.
    • Real estate brokerage services to identify potential properties to lease or purchase.
    • Financial planning to position an organization to secure their facility’s needs.
    • Other facility-related planning that increase an organization’s stability and resilience.

This program is focused on capacity-building and does not fund annual operating expenses, full scope architectural services, rent, or construction projects. Staff expenses may only be reimbursed if they are directly related to the capacity building initiative described in you grant application. Please see our Sustained Support program for operating support. Organizations seeking funds for a capital project are encouraged to apply for a Cultural Facilities grant.

Organizations that receive an award through this program must participate in at least three Learning Circles workshops or other 4Culture-approved learning opportunities within one year of receiving a grant under this program.


3 Helping You Succeed

3 Helping You Succeed


Workshops provide an opportunity for you to meet staff, learn about the process, ask questions, and meet other artists and arts groups. They are informal and drop-in based—no registration or RSVP required. Take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen your application!

May 11
May 13

Workshop Recording

If you were unable to make the Zoom workshop, you can view this recorded version instead.

Contact Us

We’re here to help! Please contact us if you have a question about this program. We can provide guidance as you work through your application. Please contact Eldon if you have questions:

Eldon Tam

4 After You Submit

4 After You Submit


Applications are due May 28, 2021. Most 4Culture grants take approximately three months from application deadline to when applicants receive the first payment. Awards notifications will be sent in August 2021.

Selection Process

Grant proposals will be reviewed and award decisions will be made by a panel consisting of working professionals in the fields we fund, and who represent all parts of King County, sizes of organizations, and different points of view. The panel comes together to talk about the proposals and select projects to fund.

Contracts and Payment

If we select your project for funding, we will notify you after our Advisory Committees and Board give final approval for funding, and your program manager will work out a scope of service contract. Funds are distributed on a reimbursement basis only based on submitted invoices.

Requirements and Appeals

Learn about what will be required if you are awarded a grant, and about the process for appeal of a 4Culture decision.

5 Apply

5 Apply

You will apply through our online grant portal system at apply.4culture.org. Make sure you have an active account and that your organization profile is up to date before the deadline. You’ll need to be able to log in to access the Building for Equity Capacity-Building application.

Once you’ve started your application, you can save after each step and sign out—your application will be saved as a draft that you can continue to work on up to the deadline. Once you click “Submit,” your application is final. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions during the process.

What’s in the Application

The application requires answering six basic questions about your organization, its activity, the community you serve, and your facility needs/plans. The application will also gather information related to workshop scheduling that will help create a Learning Circles calendar more accessible to participants.

Demographic Information (required)

Your profile in our portal must provide demographic information for the current year, for yourself, and if you are applying as an organization, for your board and staff. We use this information to help us understand how well we are doing in our efforts to reach all communities in King County. Read our privacy policy for information about how we protect your information.