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Arts & Culture Research Fund
in The New York Community Trust

Request for Proposals


Research is essential to understanding and strengthening the arts and cultural sector. The Cultural Data Project (CDP) is a robust data set with newly available information on more than 2,600 arts groups in New York State, including more than 1,700 in New York City. To encourage further research focused on this population, The New York Community Trust, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, The John R. Oishei Foundation, and New York Council for the Humanities have created the Arts & Culture Research Fund to inspire the use of New York CDP data, and other important datasets, to answer research questions not previously explored.

Applicants to the Arts & Culture Research Fund (The Fund) should propose research projects that use CDP data for analyses of the arts and cultural sector in New York communities. Research areas of particular interest are:

  • the economic impact of the creative sector;
  • employment trends in the creative sector;
  • the impact of arts education; and
  • the impact of cultural tourism.
Because the Fund welcomes applications that represent a broad range of research questions, proposals for additional topics also will be considered.

Proposal deadline receipt:  March 15, 2013, 12:00pm Eastern Time


  • Research should focus on New York State arts and cultural organizations. Research can be focused on local, regional, or statewide activity.
  • Research should feature CDP data as a significant component of the research agenda.  Projects that incorporate other credible data sources are also encouraged. A partial list of publicly available data sets at the end of this document.
  • Applicants are required to share a copy of the final research product with The Trust and the Cultural Data Project, and must also make the research product available for public dissemination.
  • All projects must be completed by April 2014.

Applicant Eligibility

  • Applicants should be organizations with 501(c)(3) status. Individuals and unincorporated organizations may only apply using a fiscal sponsor.
  • For research projects proposed by multiple organizations, one organization that meets the eligibility requirements above must act as the official applicant, submit the application, and assume full responsibility for the grant.
  • An organization may submit only one project proposal through this request for proposals.

Proposal Evaluation Criteria

Grant proposals will be evaluated on a competitive basis using the following criteria:
  • Ability to contribute new knowledge to the field;
  • Clarity of project description including the need and anticipated goal or outcome;
  • Use of clear research methodologies and qualified personnel;
  • Realistic timeline with achievable outcomes over a one-year-or-less time period;
  • Clear plan for disseminating the work product;
  • Demonstrated knowledge of the arts and cultural sector and its trends;
  • Organizational capacity to complete the project, including staffing and leadership; and
  • Ability to leverage the CDP data as a significant source for the proposed research

Application Process

To submit a proposal, applicants must:

  1. E-mail the application form, project budget, and all supplemental materials to:, and
  2. Mail or hand-deliver a complete proposal to:
Arts & Culture Research Fund c/o
The New York Community Trust
909 Third Avenue, 22nd Floor
New York, NY 10022

All proposals (electronic and hard copies) must be received on March 15, 2013 by 12:00pm Eastern Time.  No late or incomplete proposals will be considered.  Please note: this is NOT a postmark deadline. Reminder: both an electronic and printed copy of the application are required.  

Any questions about the Cultural Data Project, CDP data sets, or additional datasets should be directed to the Cultural Data Project at (877) 707-DATA or

Questions about the proposal process should be directed to The New York Community Trust at (212) 686-0010, x520 or

A complete proposal will include the following:

  • Application form
  • Project budget
  • A brief biography, not to exceed 200 words, for each party principal to this research project
  • At least one example of the primary researcher’s past relevant research (summaries only) as well as recommended URL (or URLs) to past prior research
  • New York Community Trust proposal cover sheet.
  • Organization’s Board of Directors list, including Board Member professional affiliations
  • Organization’s most recent annual report (if available)
  • Organization’s current year operating budget
  •  Organization’s most current audited financial statement, or if not available, IRS Form 990
  • Organization’s affirmative action policy and/or Equal Opportunity Employment policy
Note: Arts groups may submit The Trust’s Cultural Data Project Funder Report in lieu of organization’s latest audited financial statements and annual report. However, project budgets and current year organization operating budgets are still required.

Questions about this list should be directed to The New York Community Trust at (212) 686-0010, x520.

Award Information

The Fund expects to make grants totaling $100,000 and to support as many projects as possible. Applicant requests should range between $10,000 and $25,000. Grants do not require matching funds; however, they are encouraged.

All applicants will be notified of grant decisions in May 2013.


Proposal Deadline: 12 noon, Eastern Time, March 15, 2013
Grant Notification: May 2013


The New York Community Trust (The Trust)
Since 1924, The New York Community Trust has built a permanent endowment to support the nonprofits that make our city a vital and secure place in which to live and work for all New Yorkers. With thousands of charitable funds set up by individuals, families, and businesses—and an expert staff—we help donors with their giving today and enable their generosity to continue after their lifetimes. The Trust has a long tradition of working with government, other funders, and nonprofits to find effective solutions to the City’s problems.

Cultural Data Project (CDP)
After four years of planning and $2.3 million dollars of capital investment by the project’s Governing Group, the CDP was first launched in Pennsylvania in 2004 and has grown to include Arizona, California, the District of Columbia, Illinois, New York, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Rhode Island, and Vermont. In each participating state, the CDP is the result of a collaborative partnership of public and private funders and advocacy agencies.

The CDP is the emerging national standard for data collection in the arts and cultural sector. The CDP offers a turnkey solution to each state, with all technology and services provided centrally through its Philadelphia headquarters.  CDP staff support all current and future participants, including organizations, grantmakers and researchers/advocates.

New York State Cultural Data Project (CDP)
The New York State Cultural Data Project (CDP) is a unique system that enables arts and cultural organizations to enter financial, programmatic and operational data into a standardized online form. Organizations can then use the CDP to produce a variety of internal reports as well as those to be included as part of the application processes to participating grantmakers. CDP collects detailed financial data derived from an organization’s audit/review or year-end financial statements. The types of data collected include basic organizational information, revenues, expenses, marketing activities, balance sheet items, investments, loans and a wide range of non-financial information (including contributor numbers, attendance, space, pricing, program activity and staffing). To see a sample of the electronic data profile with a full list of the data collected there, please visit Cultural Data Project’s website, The Cultural Data Project has been operating in New York since June 1, 2009. To date more than 2,600 organizations in New York State have entered data into the CDP’s standardized form.

Ongoing leadership for this project is provided by the New York State CDP Task Force. The Task Force is responsible for providing leadership necessary to adopt and continue the use of CDP, fostering and maintaining collaboration throughout the state of New York, supporting ongoing fundraising, ensuring the use of the data for advocacy and research, and sustaining and governing the project in New York State.

The New York State CDP Task Force is comprised of representatives from the following institutions:  Alliance of Resident Theatres / New York, Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, Asian American Arts Alliance, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, The Field, Harlem Arts Alliance, NYC Department of Cultural Affairs, The New York Community Trust, New York State Council on the Arts, The John R. Oishei Foundation, and Time Warner Inc.

Partial List of Publicly Available Data Sets

A list of possible high-quality publicly available existing datasets is provided here. This list is not exhaustive, however, and applicants are encouraged to propose sources entirely different from those on the list.

Bureau of Economic Analysis, U.S. Department of Commerce   

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor     
Indiana University         
  • National Survey of Student Engagement and High School Survey of Student Engagement
National Center for Charitable Statistics
U.S. Department of Education
National Center for Education Statistics, U.S. Department of Education
  • Educational longitudinal studies, including National Educational Longitudinal Study, Early Childhood Longitudinal Study, and High School Longitudinal Study
National Endowment for the Arts
New York City Department of City Planning
NYC Open Data
NORC at the University of Chicago
The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
U.S. Census Bureau, U.S. Department of Commerce



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