FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

 

Informational Materials

For information on the Summer 2019 Education Grant, click here.

For information on the Summer 2019 Performing Arts Grant, click here. You may also contact Florine Luhr at 716-800-4265 or [email protected] to discuss the application process, grant programs, request concepts, and/or eligibility requirements.

 

Grant Writing Tips

Click here for tips for writing LOIs and applications.

 

Application & Process

 

How do I apply for a grant from the Foundation?
Our entire application process is online. Create an online account here. See key deadlines for the next open grant cycle.

 

What should I do if I misplace my password information?
If you created an account in the past but cannot recall the password, you can reset it by clicking on the “Forgot your Password?” link on our online login page.

 

Can I submit an application via regular mail?
No. All grant requests must be submitted online. If this creates a significant obstacle, please contact Cullen Foundation.

 

What is your timeline for upcoming open grant cycles?
Cullen Foundation will run two open grant cycles each year. The winter grant cycle will begin in January and the summer grant cycle will begin in July. See key deadlines for the next open grant cycle.

 

How may I be notified of the next grant cycle?
Join our mailing list (located at the bottom of the website) to be notified of upcoming grant cycles and informational meetings.

 

Does Cullen Foundation fund multi-year grants?
Yes, grant requests may be made for one, two or three years of funding. However, multi-year requests are rare and are only approved when the Foundation believes that the nature of the request is essential to the project's success. See types of support for more information.

 

What is the maximum amount that can be requested per year?
The maximum amount that can be requested is $100,000 per year. Awards for this amount are rare and only approved if the Foundation feels that there is a strategic alignment between our mission and your program's outcomes.

 

How can I check on the status of my request?
The timeline of the request cycle, including the estimated notification period, is listed on the key deadlines page on our website.

 

Will I have an advantage by submitting a request sooner than the deadline date?
Submitting a request before the deadline will not guarantee approval but it is beneficial to applicants. LOI’s are accepted on a rolling basis so that once an LOI is approved, the applicant may proceed to the Full Application phase. This will allow the applicant more time to complete the Full Application. In addition, site visits are granted on a rolling basis so applicants who submit their application early will have preference for available site visits.
It's highly recommended that applications are submitted 2-3 days in advance of the deadline in order for staff to review and verfiy that the LOI/application is completed accurately and sufficiently. If information is missing and/or the submission is incomplete, it will be sent back to the applicant to be completed in its entirety prior to the 5pm deadline.

 

Eligibility & Requirements

 

What is the Performing Arts “Action Grant” opportunity and how do I know if I’m eligible to apply for that category?
Cullen’s Performing Arts “Action Grant” is a pilot program beginning January 1, 2019 whereby past grantees (since 2015) may apply for up to $7,500 through a streamlined, one-step application process (i.e. no LOI). Applications are accepted on a rolling basis and will be processed within six (6) weeks of receipt; requests can be made for one to three years of funding; and fund disbursement is expedited. All other Cullen eligibility requirements and criteria must be met. Applicants may not have an open grant with Cullen to apply and be considered for this grant.
 
Are there geographic restrictions for funding eligibility?
Erie County is our primary geographic service area with the following exceptions:
Education programs not located in Erie County must serve at least 80% Erie County residents.
For performing arts requests, Cullen Foundation limits funding opportunities to Western NY-based performing art organizations that directly benefit Erie County’s (NY) residents.  All applicants should be based in WNY and all Cullen funds will be used toward programs that directly serve Erie County (NY) residents. Neighboring county-based performing arts organizations may apply but must demonstrate with reliable audience data that they serve a large number of Erie County residents (i.e. > than 50% of the organization’s audience members). Organizations traveling to WNY to perform for Erie County residents must partner with and apply through a WNY-based organization with all additional Cullen eligibility criteria in effect (i.e. one open grant per organization).
 
How important is it to have audited or reviewed financial statements?
Cullen Foundation requires that your organization submit audited or reviewed financials prepared by a CPA as part of the Letter of Intent (LOI) and that statements are for the most recently completed fiscal year. Please click here for more information on types/levels of financial reviews (this link will take you to a brochure made available on the website of the American Institute of CPA's).
 
Does Cullen Foundation offer individual scholarships?
The only scholarships provided are through our Cullen Scholars program. See Scholarship Program for more information on the program.
 
Does Cullen Foundation fund event sponsorships?
No, Cullen Foundation does not fund and/or sponsor specific events including galas, luncheons and fundraising events, conferences, or travel opportunities including those hosted by or to benefit local education and/or performing arts groups.
 
Can an organization apply to Cullen Foundation for travel costs related to an opportunity to perform outside of WNY?
No, Cullen Foundation does not fund this type of activity. 
 
My organization has received support from Cullen in the past. Are we eligible to apply for another grant?
Grantees may not apply for additional grant funding from Cullen Foundation until all previous grant requirements from the Foundation are fulfilled and the grant is closed.  A grant is closed when all funding is disbursed and all grant requirements, including the Final Report, are fully executed, complete and approved by our staff. The steps to close out a grant are detailed in the Reporting Guidelines for Grantees which is also sent to grantees with the grant award letter.
Grantees are on an 18-month cycle. For example, if an organization applied in January 2016 and received a one-year grant award in June 2016, the next eligible grant cycle is Summer 2017 (July 2017). If an organization applied in July 2016 and received a one-year award in December 2016, the next eligible grant cycle is Winter 2018 (January 2018). To confirm your eligibility before you begin an LOI, contact Heather Jason at [email protected].
 
How long will it take my organization to complete your application?
A recent survey of our applicants revealed that 59% of applicant organizations spent 9 hours or more on our grant process (LOI, application and site visit). All respondents spent at least 6 hours.
 
What do I do if my question isn't answered here?
Please call Cullen Foundation at 716-800-4280 or email us at [email protected].