Greater Bridgeport Grant Opportunity: Arts in the Service of Equity

Apr 03, 2024

In recognition of the power arts and culture hold to amplify community voice, change narratives, promote inclusivity, and transform our communities for the better, we are excited to announce a 3-year renewable grant opportunity focused on arts innovation for systems change in Greater Bridgeport. This funding opportunity honors the legacy and leverages the resources of the Greater Bridgeport Area Foundation, which merged in 2008 with Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

With a total funding pool of $1 million, this initiative will support up to three collaborative projects in Greater Bridgeport. Each project will receive three general operating support grants over three years, with the largest of the three grants coming in year one, and smaller wind-down grants in years two and three. General operating support will allow collaborating organizations flexibility to allocate funding in the ways that they deem best facilitate their projects’ goals and objectives. This funding seeks to leverage the arts to accelerate and catalyze social change in our community.

Webinar recording of informational session on the Arts Grant Opportunity presented by FCCF 4/22/24

Competitive Proposals Will:

• Demonstrate the impact/potential impact on Black, Indigenous, and People of color (BiPoC)
• Demonstrate the impact/potential impact on low-to-moderate income communities
• Clearly communicate how their work is addressing racial inequities in Fairfield County
• Clearly communicate partnerships with roles and responsibilities
• Have a clear three-year project plan/program design with an aligned budget.
• Aim to influence economic, physical, and social change
• Made a clear, detailed connection between the project and our key results areas

Key Dates

April 22, 2024Informational Webinar (See recording above)
May 1, 2024 – Application process opens
May 16, 2024
In-Person Convening at Bridgeport Cabaret Theater, 6:30-8:30pm
June 3, 2024 –Application due by 5pm
Early July 2024 – Award decisions made
August 1, 2024 – Anticipated award date

In advance of the application period, organizations should register for the webinar and begin to solidify partnerships and project plans. For guidance and planning support, reach out to Erika Wesley, Executive Director of the Cultural Alliance of Fairfield County, at

For assistance with the April 22nd informational webinar, contact our Program Associate Sarah Omotunde at

Eligibility Criteria

We will consider requests from Arts and Culture-focused organizations located within Greater Bridgeport doing work that directly benefits residents of Greater Bridgeport. Eligible communities include:

• Bridgeport
• Easton
• Fairfield
• Monroe
• Stratford
• Trumbull

Grassroots, BiPoC-led organizations with systems-level change goals will be given preference. Organizations are encouraged to apply regardless of budget size.

Non-traditional arts organizations, defined as those not established for an arts-related purpose, must have an identified partnership with a traditional arts organization that will be expected to serve as the lead applicant. Lead applicants must be recognized by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or 509 (a) public charity, or work under a fiscal sponsor that is a registered 501(c)(3).

Competitive applications will clearly demonstrate a sustainable partnership between the public and private sectors with the goal of achieving societal change related to Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s strategic plan.

Please note, we do not award grants for any of the following purposes:

• Persuading people to join/support a specific religion, political party, or candidate
• Capital campaigns or projects (e.g., major building repairs)
• Covering budget deficits
• Annual fundraising appeals
• Hosting a fundraising event
• Purchasing land as open space
• For-profit, parochial, charter, private, or individual public schools
• Nonprofit endowments
• Helping one specific person

Evaluation Criteria

Organizational Overview
• Is the organization based in and serving Greater Bridgeport and has a mission aligned with FCCF’s?
• Does the organization have strong partnerships across sectors in Greater Bridgeport?
• How well has the applicant demonstrated a legacy of service to the residents of Bridgeport?
• Does the organization seem prepared to execute the project? Budget size, staff size, expertise and experience, etc. will be considered.

Funding Request & Program Design
• Is the intersection between Arts, Culture, and our Strategic Plan made clear?
• Will this work influence systems change for racial equity?
• Does the program design make sense based on the goals and objectives of the project?
• Does the organization have other sources of support for this work?
• Has the applicant demonstrated that this work will be sustained after the grant period?
• What would this funding allow the organization to do more/differently?

Commitment to DEI & Customer Focus
• How does the organization’s approach consider the challenges of their target population?
• How does the organization reflect the identity of the community it serves?
• How does the organization’s approach address racial inequities?

Scoring & Award Amounts

Answers to the questions above will be ranked on a scale of 1-5, with each answer weighed equally for a composite score that’ll be used to stack rank applications in an initial review by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation staff.

1 – No alignment/not a good fit
2 – Some alignment, but needs significant redirection, education, or other improvement
3 – Primarily in alignment, with some redirection, education, or other improvements needed
4 – In alignment, with little to no redirection, education, or other improvements needed
5 – Fully in alignment/great fit, could set an example for other NPOs

13 questions, 5 point scale = 65 total possible points.

How to Apply

1.) Log in or set up an account
All communications regarding this grant opportunity will go through our online Grants and Programs Portal. This includes all steps from Letters of Inquiry (LOI) and applications, to grant agreements and reports. First-time users need to set up an account to get started. Need help? Watch this tutorial.

2.) Complete an eligibility screening
After logging in to the portal, complete a quick quiz to confirm your eligibility to apply. If the quiz determines that you meet the requirements, you will be directed to a section where you can submit a Letter of Inquiry.

3.) Submit an Application
The application will ask you to provide some simple information about your organization, explain what your grant request covers, and say how that work will help the Community Foundation achieve one or more of its result areas. Awards will be made based on evaluation of the application.

Click Here to Apply

For technical assistance in submitting applications through our Grants and Programs Portal, contact our Grants Associate Sharon Jones at

Julian Pierce
Director, Economic Opportunity
(203) 750-3244