Organizational Support

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Grants for Nonprofit Organizations

Erie Arts & Culture administers grants annually to support projects and programs facilitated by nonprofit organizations in the region. Funding support for our grantmaking operations come from two primary sources, the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and distributions from the Erie Arts Endowment. Applications for each grant program are accepted at different times throughout the calendar year. Applications are reviewed and scored by a volunteer panel who take into consideration the quality of the project design, proposed community engagement and projected impact, and how the project will be managed.

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Erie Arts & Culture Ignite Arts Grants

In alignment with our efforts to support broad opportunities to participate in the arts and humanities during all stages of life, Erie Arts & Culture administers the Ignite Arts grant program, a competitive grant program that provides funding through contributions to the Erie Arts Endowment and the annual United Arts Fund.  Project grants provide up to $2,500 in financial support for arts and humanities projects that provide communities in Erie County with a positive social impact. 

View the details for the 2021 application process here



Congratulations to the 2020-2021 grant recipients


The following grant funded projects are first-time grantees. These recipients serve diverse populations through a variety of programs and services that are inclusive and accessible. 

Boys & Girls Club of Erie | $2,500
ImageMakers - Looking at Things Through a Different Lens

The ImageMaker photography program encourages imagination and self-expression. Practicing photography will also enable youth to develop knowledge and understanding of the art form. This project will also help develop and reinforce soft skills that are critical to success in the 21st century, including social-emotional and communication skills, critical thinking, and creativity.

Mercy Center for Women | $2,500
Mercy Center for Women Clay Project

The Mercy Center for Women will partner with Erie ClaySpace to introduce the arts as a component of its wellness program, helping guide women and children to mental wellness. The project will help to dismantle barriers and encourage conversation with the women and children participating in MCW programs.

Music for Veterans | $2,500
Music for Veterans Virtual Performances Program

All veterans, regardless of their level of support and need, can experience a healthy environment of camaraderie at weekly music sessions that provide opportunities to socialize and build relationships with fellow veterans through learning and playing music together. Funds from EAC will allow the program to adapt to a virtual setting that is critical to its continuation during the pandemic. 

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie County
$2500 | Art Support Group

NAMI will use the arts to build relationships with populations who have traditionally not utilized mental health services, yet are facing surmounting mental health challenges. Their art support group will welcome all adults (18 years +) in Erie County. Adults are eligible regardless of whether or not they have a formal diagnosis.


Barber National Institute $2,500.00
Bayfront East Side Taskforce $2,500.00
Boys & Girls Club of Erie $2,500.00
Community Access Media (CAM) $2,500.00
Crime Victim Center of Erie County $2,500.00
Dafmark Dance Theater $2,250.00
Edinboro University of Pennsylvania $2,443.00
Erie Arts and Music Festival dba Erie’s Blues & Jazz Festival $2,500.00
Erie Civic Theatre Association dba Erie Playhouse $2,500.00
Erie Contemporary Ballet Theatre $2,500.00
Erie County Historical Society/doing business as Hagen History Center $2,250.00
Erie Dance Theater/MLK Center $2,000.00
Erie Downtown Partnership $2,500.00
Erie Junior Philharmonic $2,500.00
Erie Philharmonic $2,500.00
Erie Philharmonic Chorus $2,500.00
Goodell Gardens & Homestead $2,500.00
Greater Erie Alliance for Equality $1,350.00
Mercy Center for Women $2,500.00
Mission Empower $2,500.00
Music for Veterans $2,500.00
National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), Erie County PA $2,500.00
North East Arts Council $2,125.00
Our West Bayfront $2,500.00
Penn State Erie, Music at Noon, The Logan Series $2,500.00
Performing Arts Collective Alliance $2,500.00
U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants / Erie Field Office $2,500.00
Young Artists Debut Orchestra (YADO) $2,250.00


Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Grants

Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Grants provide funding throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania to support efforts to provide all Pennsylvanians with access to artistic programming and/or arts services. PPA Grants are funded through public dollars, with funds provided at the state level by the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA) and at the national level from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

Erie Arts & Culture is one of thirteen agencies throughout the state that administer PPA funding. Nonprofit organizations in Crawford, Erie, Mercer, Venango, Warren, and Lawrence Counties are eligible to apply for PPA funding through Erie Arts & Culture.

PPA Project Stream Grants

PPA Project Stream Grants provide up to $2,500 to eligible nonprofit organizations. For a project to be eligible it must be an arts activity conducted for the benefit of the public.

About PPA Project Stream Grants 

Online Application

Deadline: 2021 Deadlines TBD

PPA Program Stream Grants 

PPA Program Stream Grants offer ongoing support to arts programs of nonprofit organizations that have an annual budget of less than $200,000. Nonprofit organizations eligible to receive PPA Program Stream Grants have an established history of being awarded PPA Project Stream Grants for three or more years. Once a nonprofit organization is eligible they are invited to apply to this stream of funding.

About PPA Program Stream Grants 

Online Application 

Deadline: 2021 Deadlines TBD

Preserving Diverse Cultures: Community-Based Engagement Projects

Application Deadline: Letter of interest due February 1, 2021

Who May Apply: Nonprofit organizations whose mission and artistic work are rooted in and reflective of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) art, culture, history and heritage. Additionally, the applicant's programs and staff are representative of those communities.

Uses: To bring communities together through artist-led community-based arts and culture projects. Community projects may include but are not limited to: exhibitions, performances, artist-in-community residencies, and murals.

Funds: Up to $3,500 total for planning and programming. Applicants may receive project support for up to four years.

More Information and Application

Preserving Diverse Cultures: Strategies for Success

Application Deadline: March 15, 2021

Who May Apply:  Nonprofit organizations whose mission and artistic work are rooted in and reflective of BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) art, culture, history and heritage. Additionally, the applicant's programs and staff are representative of those communities. Unincorporated organizations must apply through a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that will act as a fiscal sponsor.

Uses: Organizational development for groups in BIPOC communities. There are three levels of support within Strategies for Success: Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.

Funds: Basic Level awards up to $7,000 per year in non-matching funds. Intermediate Level awards up to $12,500 per year. Advanced Level awards implementation grants of up to $20,000 per year.

More Information and Application


Congratulations to the 2020-2021 PPA Program Stream
grant recipients

Erie Arts & Culture maintains a longstanding partnership with the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts (PCA), a state agency located in the Office of the Governor. Through the partnership, Erie Arts & Culture administers the Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts (PPA) Grant Program through two funding opportunities, Project Stream and Program Stream, for qualifying artists and organizations across a five-county footprint. The counties include Erie, Crawford, Warren, Mercer, Venango, and Lawrence Counties. 

Unfortunately, due to budgetary constraints resulting from the public health pandemic, Project Stream grants have been postponed until fiscal year 2021-2022. However, through the 2020-2021 cycle of Pennsylvania Partners in the Arts Program Grants, 24 organizations in Erie Arts & Culture’s six-county service region were awarded funding totaling $58,000. These funds support organizations whose mission include leveraging the power of the arts and humanities to positively impact the region through creative and cultural programs. 

Each organization below received $2,000 in funding.

Erie County

  • Corry Area Arts Council
  • Dafmark Dance Theater
  • Downtown Edinboro Art and Music Festival
  • Edinboro University of PA, Bruce Gallery of Art
  • Edinboro University of PA, Edinboro Highland Games
  • Edinboro University of PA, Chamber Players
  • Edinboro University of PA
  • Erie Center on Health and Aging, dba LECOM Center for Health and Aging
  • Erie Dance Conservatory Company, Erie Contemporary Ballet Theatre
  • Erie Dance Consortium
  • Erie Homes for Children and Adults, EHCA Foundation
  • Film Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania
  • The Goodell Project, Inc., 
  • JazzErie
  • Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park
  • North East Arts Council
  • Pennsylvania State University – Logan Series, Music at Noon
  • Young Artists Debut Orchestra

Crawford County

  • Allegheny College, Allegheny College Art Galleries
  • French Creek Community Theatre
  • Meadville Council on the Arts
  • Second Saturday Community Market, Meadville Council on the Arts

Warren County

  • Crary Art Gallery
  • Warren Civic Orchestra dba Warren Philharmonic
  • Warren County Summer Music School
  • Venango County
  • Franklin Civic Operetta Association - The Barrow Civic Theatre
  • Oil Region Ballet

Mercer County

  • Area Community Theatre of Sharpsville
  • George Junior Republic

Lawrence County became a new service area for Erie Arts & Culture in 2020, and unfortunately no organizations from this county received grant funding this year. 


A DipJar is a portable donation tool designed specifically for non-profits. The DipJar allows donors to “dip” their credit card into the mobile electronic card reader; enabling one-step collection that is quick and easy. Each DipJar can be set to a dollar amount of your choosing, with a minimum of $3 and a maximum of $1,000 per dip. DipJars do not require wifi and the devices keep financial information safe and secure. 

To benefit the region’s creative and cultural non-profit organizations, Erie Arts & Culture has four DipJars that can you reserve for your next event or fundraiser. These devices are a great tool for collecting donations when your supporters are experiencing, in-person, the impact of your organization’s mission. Local success stories include the Martin Luther King Center raising nearly $6,000 at their 10th annual MLK Awards Dinner and the Inner City Neighborhood Art House raising approximately $1,500 in less than two hours at an annual showcase of their programs and services. 

Erie County is full of passionate people, and we know that there is a tremendous amount of generosity that flows through our region. It is important that we reinforce the fact that philanthropic giving is not necessarily about making major gifts in thousand dollar increments. It’s about each donor making a contribution that is significant and meaningful to them. For many in our community, that occurs at the $5, $10, $25, and $50 levels. Erie Arts & Culture believes that access to a DipJar provides those in our cultural and creative community with an opportunity to convert audiences to donors in a manner that is intuitive, quick, and reflects technology and consumer trends.

How Can My Organization Borrow the DipJars?
Funds donated through a DipJar are collected by Erie Arts & Culture and then administered to your organization, less service fees, as an unrestricted grant. Please contact Patrick Fisher at

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Erie Arts & Culture serves as the fiscal sponsor for multiple projects and organizations, offering our legal and tax-exempt status.

If you have a project in need of fiscal sponsorship please reach out to Patrick Fisher at or by phone at (814) 452-3427 x105.

Previous and current fiscal sponsorships include:

Erie Asian Pacific American Association
The Erie APAA is a volunteer-led, organization dedicated to promoting and raising awareness of the diverse Asian Pacific cultures present in the greater Erie community through educational activities and cultural events.

Visit the website

Grounded Print and Paper Shop
Grounded Print and Paper Shop is an interdisciplinary, contemporary print and paper making studio located in Erie, PA. Their mission is to offer a safe, sustainable, collaborative, and inclusive creative space.

Visit the website

Footlights Theater
The Footlights Theatre Program was initiated in 1974 (back then it was called Students Summer Theater) by The Erie School District and City of Erie Parks and Recreation Department. It was developed as a vehicle to teach area youth about musical theatre through the production of a full-length musical show. The program is now produced by All An Act Theatre Productions and collectively sponsored by The City of Erie Parks and Recreation Department,  The Erie School District, and All An Act Theatre Productions.

Visit the website

TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. TEDxErie, where x = independently organized TED event. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At our TEDxErie event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group.

Visit the website

Erie County Poet Laureate 
Erie County Government, in cooperation with Edinboro University, Gannon University, Mercyhurst University and Penn State Behrend, started the Poet Laureate Initiative in 2009. Already it has received recognition for its impact on the arts in our region; receiving the Pennsylvania County Commissioners Association County Arts Award in 2011 and the National Association of Counties National Arts Award in 2012.

Visit the website


Photo credit: Eric Dye


Erie Arts & Culture

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