News and Press Releases

For Immediate Release : April 6, 2022

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FY 2023 Cultural Development Fund applications are now live and due May 16; peer-reviewed competitive application process resumes for the first time since the pandemic

New application process will foster greater equity in the distribution of City’s cultural funding

New York - The NYC Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) has officially launched the application process for the Fiscal Year 2023 Cultural Development Fund. For the first time since the pandemic suspended the competitive peer panel review process, DCLA encourages cultural nonprofits from across all of New York City’s vast, diverse cultural community to apply to receive public support for their arts and cultural activities. This year’s CDF application process marks a major step forward in fostering greater equity in this important source of funding, including greater recognition of historically marginalized communities, increased minimum grant size, and recruitment of review panelists who reflect the diversity of New York City.

“New York City’s artists and cultural organizations reflect the diversity of New Yorkers and have connected us for generations, and we are taking steps to make it even easier for them to access city funding,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “By investing in local arts organizations, the Cultural Development Fund ensures New York City’s cultural ecosystem continues to be strong, inclusive, and the best in the world!”

“Fostering an equitable recovery that lifts up all New Yorkers means investing in the sectors that drive our city forward, especially our remarkable arts and cultural community,” said Deputy Mayor Maria Torres-Springer. “With Commissioner Cumbo and her staff, we’re calling on organizations across the city to apply for this year’s Cultural Development Fund. We’re excited to roll out a number of reforms as part of our Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery that will build greater equity into the City’s cultural funding, ensuring that public support reaches communities in every corner of New York and helps bring our city back even better than before.”

"My team and I are so excited to open up the application process for this year's Cultural Development Fund” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Laurie Cumbo. “Culture is the lifeblood of our New York, and the CDF is one of the most important ways that our city invests in its cultural community. As the founder of a cultural nonprofit, I know firsthand how getting that first DCLA grant feels like it opens up a new world of possibilities. We want this game-changing support to reach everyone in our diverse cultural community who is out there doing the work, connecting with audiences, and creating the cultural landscape that makes our city great. I've also served on CDF panels, and having people from all walks of life represented there is crucial for making sure that funds are distributed as fairly and equitably as possible. That's just one of the thoughtful, far-reaching equity reforms we're launching based on years of work and collaboration with our constituents. We encourage non-profit cultural groups across the city to learn more, join one of our fabulous webinars, and consider applying.”

“I’m thrilled that the CDF process will be centering equity this year. As we move past a pandemic whose health and economic impacts were anything but evenly felt across the city, it’s essential that the recovery is equitable. Steps like increased pay and smaller time commitment for panelists are already excellent indicators of the well-intentioned and thought-out approach DCLA is taking this year,” said Council Member Chi Ossé.

As part of Mayor Adams’ Blueprint for New York City’s Economic Recovery, the City is investing in the creative and cultural economy that makes New York City a vibrant cultural center. As outlined in the Blueprint, these equity reforms to the CDF to help ensure broad, equitable investment in New York City’s cultural sector as it continues to reopen and recover, an essential part of the city’s overall recovery.

Based on years of research, planning, dialogue, and feedback from DCLA’s constituents and the broader cultural community, this year’s CDF process will integrate a range of new, equity-based reforms focused on increasing access to public funding for cultural groups across the city. The goals of these pilot reforms include:

  • Increasing investment in historically marginalized communities: updated CDF review criteria will seek to elevate organizations working in and supported by historically marginalized communities, as well as those that demonstrate the application of an equity lens to their own work and organization.
  • Greater stability for grantees, especially smaller organizations: doubling minimum grant awards to $10,000 and making permanent a pandemic-era policy of expanding eligibility for multi-year awards to all grantees, regardless of budget size.
  • Broadening pool of people reviewing applications: an increased panelist honorarium ($480 for two days’ work), reduced time commitment, and wider net will help recruit CDF panelists that reflect the city’s diverse residents. In March, DCLA launched an open call for people to serve on CDF panels and to help review the 1,200+ applications expected as part of this grant cycle.
  • Streamlined application process: fewer requirements, an all-digital application system for the first time, and simplified application will reduce the administrative burden on groups applying for funding. To increase transparency, the agency will also share the panelist evaluation rubric publicly and adjust the funding allocation process to be more efficient and equitable.

To help groups navigate the reformed process, DCLA Programs Unit's expanded technical assistance offerings will include webinars (live and recorded); office hours to provide dedicated time for organizations’ questions; weekly email updates during the open application period; and rolling FAQ updates based on questions and feedback from the cultural sector. Webinars will start the week of April 11; office hours will start the week of April 18. DCLA will also work with partners across the cultural sector and in City government to ensure widespread awareness of the funding opportunity. All information about the application process and available technical assistance is available at

In the current fiscal year, over 1,000 groups are receiving CDF support for a wide range of programming, and with a focus on investing in the sector’s recovery.


About NYC Department of Cultural Affairs

The New York City Department of Cultural Affairs (DCLA) is dedicated to supporting and strengthening New York City’s vibrant cultural life. DCLA works to promote and advocate for quality arts programming and to articulate the contribution made by the cultural community to the City’s vitality. The Department represents and serves non-profit cultural organizations involved in the visual, literary, and performing arts; public-oriented science and humanities institutions including zoos, botanical gardens, and historic and preservation societies; and creative artists at all skill levels who live and work within the City’s five boroughs. DCLA also provides donated materials for arts programs offered by the public schools and cultural and social service groups, and commissions permanent works of public art at City-funded construction projects throughout the five boroughs. For more information, visit