Sunday, February 25, 2024

Rubric for Project Fund Review

Once ACT staff reviews an application for eligibility and completeness, it is reviewed by a Project Fund panelist.

Panelists are Providence-based cultural practitioners who are affiliated with organizations that have received Project Fund grants in the past as well as funders, grant-makers, and other experts in the nonprofit cultural fields. ACT convenes five panelists each spring and fall to discuss funding allocations for Project Fund applications. The panelists review all applications, but focus on just a few (the panelists “portfolio”). 

Panelists begin with the assumption that each application is deserving of funding. They use the following allocation system to a raw score out of 100 points to each one in their portfolio. The system is based on ACT’s grant-making and programmatic priorities. 

Panelists have broad leeway to use this point allocation system to help them make decisions about giving total or partial funding. In some cases, applications that make it to panel are deemed ineligible for or undeserving of funding, but such determinations are exceptional and rare.

CLARITY (40 pts total)

The application clearly states:

  • what will be done (10 pts)
  • when things will take place (5 pts)
  • where things will take place (5 pts)
  • why the project should be supported with public funds (5 pts)
  • how the applicant will go about organizing the project (5 pts)
  • how the applicant will manage the project (5 pts)
  • how the applicant will evaluate the project (5 pts)

ACHIEVABILITY (20 pts total)

Information is provided that helps make a convincing case that this project will succeed because:

  • the budget is clear, detailed, and accurate (15 pts)
  • there is evidence that what is proposed is achievable by the applicant, on their own or in partnership with others (5 pts).

ACCESS (10 pts total)

Application speaks to ways that a proposed project will not only include, but foreground access for artists and audience members shaped by differences of ability and language. 

  • If the application only references one or two kinds of access the program provides to differently abled or linguistically diverse audiences, the total for this section is 2 pts.
  • If the application only references the ways that the proposed program has been developed through dialogue or consultation, and with the support of, differently abled or linguistically diverse stakeholders, the total for this section is 4 pts.
  • If the application only addresses the ways that the core artistic team represents and advocates for differently abled or linguistically diverse stakeholders, the total for this section is 6 pts.
  • If the application addresses how differently abled or linguistically diverse stakeholders are incorporated into program design, not merely through tokenizing gestures, or simplistic/stereotypical representations, the total for this section is 8 pts.
  • If the application addresses how differently abled or linguistically diverse artists and audiences are thoroughly integrated from conception, to production, and on to marketing of the project, the total for this section is 10 pts.

CULTURAL EQUITY (10 pts total) 

Application speaks to the specific populations of Providence’s culturally under-resourced neighborhoods and communities.

  • If the application references one or two under-resourced neighborhoods or cultural communities that it seeks to serve, the total for this section is 2 pts.
  • If the application explicitly references the ways that the proposed program has been developed through dialogue or consultation, and with the support of, practitioners from under-resourced neighborhoods or cultural groups, the total for this section is 4 pts.
  • If the application addresses the ways that the core artistic team represents and advocates for residents from under-resourced neighborhoods or cultural groups, the total for this section is 6 pts.
  • If the application addresses how different perspectives and life experiences of residents from specific under-resourced neighborhoods or cultural groups are incorporated into program design, not merely through tokenizing gestures, or simplistic/stereotypical representations, the total for this section is 8 pts.
  • If the application addresses how residents from underserved neighborhoods or cultural groups are thoroughly integrated from conception, to production, and on to marketing of the project, the total for this section is 10 pts.

CHANGE AND TRANSFORMATION (5 pts total) 

Application speaks to how the proposed project will enable the applicant to take on new challenges, build capacity, or develop professionally by addressing:

  • specific institutional or artistic challenges that the program is meant to address (1 pt)
  • ways that the program will build capacity for the organization or artist/s (1 pt)
  • professional development goals that the program will help the applicant artist/s or organization achieve (1 pt)
  • artistic or creative goals that the program will help the applicant artist/s or organization achieve (1 pt)
  • how these goals will potentially move beyond the project period (1 pt)

RESPONSIVENESS (5 pts total)

Application addresses specific current challenge and goals of underserved neighborhood-based and/or cultural communities. In this section, one point is awarded per challenge or goal addressed, up to 5 total points.

IMPACT (5 pts total)

Project benefits a significant number of artists; or a small number of artists significantly and serves a large audience or a small audience in a significant way. 

  • If the budget reserves a significant portion of funds for one or two key artists and/or a general marketing budget, the total for this section is 1pt.
  • If the budget reserves a significant portion of funding for between 2-5 artists and/or its marketing budget is specifically tailored to address specific under-resourced audiences, the total for this section is 2pts.
  • If the budget reserves a significant portion of funding to support between 6-10 artists, the total for this section is 3pts.
  • If the budget supports 6-10 artists at a high level ($25/hr for artistic and creative labor or greater), the total for this section is 4pts.
  • If the budget supports 6-10 artists at a high level and direct marketing to specific underserved cultural communities/neighborhoods that these artists are connected to, the total for this section is 5pts.  

CAPACITY TO PROMOTE CITY OF PROVIDENCE AS AN ARTISTIC/CULTURAL DESTINATION (5 pts total) 

Applicants address how their projects will be legible and interesting to non-local audiences, as well as how they will speak in marketing and publicity materials to those audiences by:

  • considering issues that concern non-locals like proximity to amenities such as public transportation, parking, restrooms, and food (2pts)
  • having a robust marketing plan that reaches beyond Providence, including a relationship with our local visitor distribution channels (3pts)
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