The Department of Environment and Planning's Division of Planning provides financial assistance and strategic focus and direction to Erie County’s cultural sector to promote the economic and cultural benefits of the County’s tourism, arts, culture, and heritage industry.

Learn about how planners use arts and culture strategies to achieve economic, social, environmental and community goals.

The County's Arts & Cultural Advisory Board accepts applications in late winter/spring. View Important Dates and News below.

If you would like to be contacted by email when the new application is available, please email with your name, organization, and position.


Program and Service Objectives

  • Gather, analyze and assess information on cultural organizations funded by the County.
  • Process all cultural funding contracts and invoices in a timely and accurate manner.
  • Coordinate with tourism, arts, culture and heritage promotion agencies and organizations to market and enhance cultural tourism in Erie County.
  • Assist cultural organizations to leverage financial support, gain new audiences, increase management capacity, identify strengths and challenges, inform decision-making and realize their mission.

Recent Cultural Funding Grantees

Important Dates




February 14, 2020

The applicant briefing is available here

A second Applicant Briefing has been scheduled for Tuesday February 25th, 2020 at 5:30pm at the Chestnut Ridge Park Casino.

Clarification on some items:

  • Organizations should submit to the EACAB/DEP the same Financial Report as they submitted to NYS. Due to the alignment of the application levels with the NYS financial reports, we expect that most Level 1 applicants will submit an Annual Report/Financial Report, most Level 2 applicants will submit a Financial Report with CPA review, and most Level 3 applicants will submit a Financial Report with CPA audit. However, if your organization is submitting an application outside of the level it would fall under according to its annual budget, the organization should submit a copy of the document that was submitted to NYS - NOT create a new document.
  • Grants are for General Operating Support, limited to current operating expenses including salaries, program costs, fringe benefits, rents, utilities, office supplies and equipment. Grant funds may NOT be used for or applied toward any capital project or improvement, nor as a set-off against accounts receivable. No funds received shall be used for any service provided or activity performed outside Erie County.
  • PLEASE NOTE THAT FUNDING REQUESTS ARE NOT GUARANTEED. All applications will continue to be reviewed based on their financial management, governance, and programming, with funding distributed in accordance with available funds for the 2021 calendar year (funds are not expected to be any higher than usual, but the applications should be easier to complete).


February 10, 2020

The process and funding structure for the Cultural Funding program has been updated for the 2021 cycle. These changes have been designed with cultural organizations in mind and seek to make the process more intuitive and less burdensome.

Chief among these updates is the restructuring of the funding levels and applications. The short form and long form have been eliminated and replaced by  Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3 forms. Level 2 and Level 3 are most similar to the old short and long form. Level 1 is new to the 2021 funding cycle. The following table describes the thresholds for each level:











Annual Report/ Unaudited Report


>$250,000 - $750,000



Report w/ CPA Review



No set limit however, requests greater than 20% may be detrimental to an organization’s score.


Report w/ CPA Audit

1 If any of these thresholds are surpassed, you must complete the next level application. For example, if your organization meets the Level 1 threshold for operating budget but is requesting more than $50,000, you must complete the Level 2 Form. 

Reports submitted to NYS Attorney General per NYS Executive Law §172-B

Other updates include the following:

  • Conflict of Interest and Whistleblower policy templates can be found in the Resources [GS1] section
  • Reduction in the required number of years as a 501(c)(3) from three years to one year. Organizations must have submitted a 990, 990-N, or 990-EZ to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) by the application deadline and must be able to provide a copy.
  • The Level 3 forms requires detailed financials to be submitted. This information can now be provided on an Excel Worksheet and uploaded to the application site. The Excel Worksheet will be provided to applicants.
  • Organizations are now able to submit the same financial reports they submitted to the NYS Attorney General pursuant to NYS Executive Law §172.
  • The application has been modified to “flow” better and enable smaller organizations to apply.