4Culture Grants + Calls

Building for Equity: Cultural Facilities

Our Building for Equity: Cultural Facilities grants help organizations acquire, build, or renovate the bricks and mortar buildings that make cultural experiences possible.

Steps to Apply

1 What Building for Equity: Cultural Facilities Funds

1 What Building for Equity: Cultural Facilities Funds

Building for Equity: Cultural Facilities grants provide funding for building, remodeling, and buying specialized space that houses and facilitates cultural work in King County. A total of $1,100,000 is available in the funding pool.

This grant is a part of 4Culture and King County’s Building for Equity initiative, to support cultural building projects and create a pathway to racial equity in cultural facilities funding. To help us achieve this goal, applicants must show an ongoing commitment to a racial equity practice, fill out the Equity in Development and Construction survey, and projects receiving $100,000 or more will be required to meet a Cultural Space Contribution Requirement.


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 (6 points): The thought and reasoning you have put into your project’s planning and how this facility project will help your organization fulfill its mission.
  • Feasibility (6 points): Your organization’s ability to develop, administer, and complete the project within the budgetary, logistical, and time constraints described in your application. 4Culture does not provide 100% of a facility project’s cost, so other support must be shown and a reasonable plan and timeline for raising all the funds needed is an essential part of your request. You must be able to start your project within 24 months of the award date. Your organization’s financial stability, demonstrated by the financial information you provide, and the qualifications of those who will be involved in the project.
  • Project impact and public benefit (6 points): The demonstrated community support for your organization and project, which may include community involvement, endorsements, and in-kind services in addition to support from individuals, foundations, corporations, and other government sources. The impact of this specific project on your organization and how your community will benefit.
  • Equity in development and construction practices (2 points): The internal and external approaches and practices your project is undertaking to ensure project leadership, financial investments, decision-making, and community input reflect the voices in the communities around the project site and historically underrepresented populations in King County. This is a new evaluation criterion and the weight of this category will increase in future application periods.

Projects located in a 4Culture Equity Investment area shall receive additional consideration during the grant evaluation and awards process. Projects qualify as being in an Equity Investment area by meeting one or more of the following requirements. Your project does not need to meet one of these to qualify; these only give certain projects priority:

      • The project is outside of the City of Seattle.
      • The project 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.
      • Projects that do not meet one of the criteria above may submit an optional statement for consideration by the Review Panel. The statement should describe how the project’s primary goal or services will support historically underserved communities.

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.
      • Free use of your facility or low-cost rental to other cultural groups.
        If you receive an award, your organization is committing to provide up to six hours of time towards 4Culture’s Building for Equity program. You may be asked to participate in a focus group, interviews with 4Culture staff or to present at a session of 4Culture’s Learning Circles program.
      • Projects receiving $100,000 or more will be required to meet a Cultural Space Contribution Requirement, by providing cultural access through free facility use to smaller organizations. The required contribution is equivalent to 100 hours of conference room use per $100,000 of awarded funds. Use of other space types will be calculated by 4Culture and the grantee to provide an equivalent relative value (example: free use of a large performance space would be valued at a higher rate than a conference room).
      • Alternate types of support can be used if providing free space use is impractical for an organization.

2 Are You Eligible?

2 Are You Eligible?

Cultural Facilities grants are available to King County-based nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, and public agencies with at least a two-year operating history, nonprofit status, and demonstrated long-term control of your physical site.


  • Your organization is a federally recognized arts, heritage, or historic preservation-focused public corporation, tribal government, nonprofit organization, or an organization that is fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3) partner organization.
  • Your organization must show an ongoing commitment to advancing racial equity, with anti-racism efforts planned for 2021. Examples may include training, programming, internal systems and processes, or an alternative appropriate for the cultural context of your organization. Your organization is eligible even if you are just beginning these efforts, as long as you make a commitment for 2021. Please contact the grant manager, Eldon Tam, if you’d like to discuss possible approaches for your organization.
  • You must have a legally constituted and working board of directors, a proven two year record of providing arts or cultural services, and the ability to sustain operations after the completion of this facility project.
  • Your organization’s current liabilities can’t be more than 30% of your operating expenses over time. For purposes of evaluating this eligibility requirement, 4Culture will evaluate your financial performance prior to March 2020. Organizations will not be deemed ineligible solely due to the financial impacts of COVID-19. Public agencies are exempt from this requirement.
  • If funded, you’ll be required to provide a W-9 form, sign a contract that limits 4Culture’s liability, and provide proof of liability insurance that names 4Culture as additional insured.
  • Your organization must have site control. This can mean property ownership or a long-term lease (10 years minimum or 5 years with an option to renew). This can include projects planning to purchase property with these funds.
  • This grant is not available to K-12 schools or school districts.
  • If you are using a fiscal sponsor to apply for this grant, you must have prior approval by 4Culture staff.

Your Project

    • This grant funds building, remodeling, and buying facilities—the permanent structure that houses your organization’s activities.
    • If your organization is looking for funding for equipment, we encourage you to check out our Equipment grant.
    • Projects that consist of general maintenance and repairs, the purchase of consumable items like light bulbs and tools, regular staff salaries, or program expenses are not eligible for Cultural Facilities funding.
    • Feasibility studies and other early project planning are also not eligible for this funding but are eligible for Building for Equity: Capacity Building grants.

3 Helping You Succeed

3 Helping You Succeed


Workshops make a big difference in the success of your application—each year, we find that the strongest applications come from people who have attended a workshop.

Dec 10
Jan 7

Workshop Recording

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


The review process for this grant includes 10 to 15-minute interviews with the Building for Equity: Cultural Facilities panel to answer any questions that panelists might have after reading your proposal. The interviews will happen via Zoom and your organization can include one to three representatives who have solid knowledge about the project. We will set the schedule for this process after you have submitted your application.

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


The deadline for this grant is February 5, 2021 at 5:00 pm PST. Most 4Culture grants take approximately three months from the application deadline to when we announce our funding decisions.

Panel Process

We make all of our funding decisions through a panel process, in which a group of peers assesses your application. 4Culture staff facilitates the panel process, but does not vote or try to influence the outcome.

Contracts and Payment

If we select your project for funding, a grant manager will work with you to create a contract outlining a payment schedule.

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. We suggest you make certain you have an active account and that your organization profile is up to date now. You’ll log in and be able to select the Cultural Facilities 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 We Require

We strongly recommend assembling the following materials before you begin your application so you can cut and paste the information into your application. Feel free to call or email us with any questions as you work on preparing this information in advance.

Equity in Development and Construction Survey

You must complete a survey that asks questions related to the equity focused efforts, strategies and processes within your organization and your project. You may preview these survey questions here.

Required for 2021 – Demographic Information

Your organization profile in our portal must provide demographic information for your board and staff for the current year. We use this information to help us understand how well we are doing in our efforts to reach all communities in King County. Your application is not complete if your demographic information is not updated for 2021.

Project budget

Use our Budget Form in the online application—you only need to fill out the line items that pertain to your project.

Financial information

Please check your organization’s most recent fiscal year information from your 990 or 1040 in our grant application portal as part of your organization’s profile. Make certain it is up-to-date! If you have never provided us with this information we want your 3 most recent years.

Activities list

The panel will review your list of events and primary activities from the last 24 months in order to better understand your organization and how it serves the public. Please include location and audience sizes—be as specific as possible. You can cut and paste from a Word document into the application section or enter information directly.

Board list

Submit a list of your organization’s board members, their terms and occupations in this section of the application. You can cut and paste from a Word document or enter information directly.

Balance sheet

Upload your organization’s most current year-end balance sheet, in whatever format you present it in your financials. Valid document file types are Word (.doc, .docx), Excel (.xls, xlsx), and PDF.

Rendering/plan/illustration (optional)

You may submit up to 2 pages in PDF format that help to show the panel your project – this is not required, but can help to explain a remodel plan or complex project budget.