The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is expanding a loan fund it created as a resource for Chicago-area arts and culture organizations facing cash flow challenges. MacArthur provides $7 million in support annually to 200 arts and cultural organizations in Chicago and the region.
MacArthur’s support for arts and culture is an expression of civic commitment to the city where the Foundation has its headquarters and John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur made their home. Groups receiving assistance include theaters, dance groups, music organizations, visual arts programs, film centers, museums, and libraries. Most of MacArthur’s arts and culture grants are for general operations to provide the flexible support organizations need most. This grantmaking is carried out in partnership with the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation and the Prince Charitable Trusts, which administer grants from MacArthur to small and mid-sized groups.
The Working Capital Loan Fund for Arts and Culture offers a helpful tool in response to cyclical cash flow challenges arts organizations often encounter. The Fund provides both short-term loans and longer-term lines of credit to help meet the cash flow and working capital needs of small to mid-sized arts organizations. MacArthur launched the Fund with a $1 million grant in 2009 and will now provide an additional $500,000. Already, the Fund has supported 16 local arts and culture groups.
To apply to the Fund, organizations must (a) be a current grantee of the Foundation’s arts and culture program, either directly or through one of the MacArthur Funds at the Prince Charitable Trusts or the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation, and (b) have an annual budget between $250,000 and $3 million. Approximately 100 organizations meet these eligibility criteria.
Executive Service Corps of Chicago, a non-profit consulting organization, conducts an initial assessment of eligibility and helps organizations prepare the financial documents to apply for the loan. Executive Service Corps also provides advice and counsel to potential borrowers on financial management questions related to these loan applications.
MacArthur’s grantmaking in Chicago extends far beyond arts and culture. Over the past 30 years, MacArthur has invested nearly $800 million in Chicago. Grants have supported about 1000 organizations and individuals in the region. Between 2002 and 2012, MacArthur is investing more than $200 million to support community and economic development efforts in 16 low-income Chicago neighborhoods. This includes a foreclosure prevention and mitigation project to help families stay in their homes and to put foreclosed houses back into productive use. The Foundation has played a major role in helping to ensure that Chicago’s historic plan to transform public housing high-rises into mixed-income communities is successful. In collaboration with partners in the region, MacArthur also seeks to preserve and expand the stock of affordable rental housing.