Arts & Culture

←Return to Planning page


Funding Overview

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. 

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

Return to Top

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.

Return to Top

Eligibility Requirements
  • Be located and provide services in Erie County
  • Be a 501(c)(3) organization with tax-exempt status prior to July 2016 (must be able to provide at least 3 years of the financial documents and information as a 501c3 organization)
  • Have a board-approved strategic plan (Long form: Attachment I; Short form: Essay questions Part 3)
  • Have at least ONE of the following definitions of a Cultural Organization as a primary mission of the organization:
    • An organization that operates on a countywide or recognizable community level, which by the nature of its cultural activities and/or collections, is unique, distinctive and of significant quality
    • An organization that provides visitors with access to programs and displays of the performing, visual, literary and media arts, and/or to exhibits and collections, which preserve and interpret our cultural, natural and scientific heritage
    • An organization that particularly serves the cultural needs of significant segments of the County population, thereby contributing to the quality of life in Buffalo and Erie County
Additional Requirements
  • New York State Non-Profit Revitalization Act
    • The New York State Non-Profit Revitalization Act became effective July 1, 2014. There have been additions and clarifications issued by NYS since then. It is every organization’s responsibility to stay current with the provisions, knowing also that the law is the minimum standard for good governance. As this Act pertains to all 501(c)(3) organizations, Erie County expects all organizations to certify compliance with the NYS Non-Profit Revitalization Act. Organizations should be prepared to provide evidence of compliance with specific components of the Act.
  • Sunshine Provision
    • Please be advised that any information you provide may be subject to public discussion as well as disclosure pursuant to New York State Public Officers Law.
  • Pay Equity Certification
    • Please be advised that if your Organization is awarded funding, you must sign the Erie County Equal Pay Certification, stating that your organization is in compliance with federal law, including the Equal Pay Act of 1963, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, Federal Executive Order 11246 of September 24, 1965 and New York State Labor Law Section 194 (together “ Equal Pay Law”).
    • View the Executive Order
  • Recognition for County Grants
    • Please also be advised that if your Organization is awarded funding, you must commit to acknowledging Erie County as a funding source on your organization’s website, marketing materials, and/or other publications. The 2017 Application expanded Attachment G with the addition of a required questionnaire.
    • The County Seal can be found here. If you require a larger file for large scale printing, etc., please contact Mariely Ortiz at (716) 858-1916 or
  • Best Practices:
    • All applicants are required to have the following documents regardless of number of employees or budget size:
      • Bylaws
      • Conflict of Interest Policy
      • Whistleblower Policy
      • Proof of tax filing

 Return to Top

Process Timeline

Process Dates

Updated for 2020 funding process; upcoming years may differ slightly.

Please review the Latest News section above, the Arts & Culture page, or our for information before contacting us.

Application Release February 22, 2019 
Applicant Briefing February 27, 2019 
Short Forms due April 24, 2019 
Long Forms due May 1, 2019 
Application Review period May - Early July
EACAB Recommendations to County Executive No later than early August 2019 
Feedback letter distribution Tentative: September 2019
Proposed 2020 County Budget release Tentative: October 2019
Legislative Budget hearings Tentative: November 2019
2020 County Budget Adoption Tentative: December 2019 
2020 Contracts Distribution Tentative: late February 2020 
2020 Grants Disbursement Instructions and dates provided in 2020 Contracts

Follow these instructions before contacting us: 

The only way to find out if your organization has been awarded funding for a certain year is through the Erie County Budget process. The Budget Books are available here: The Proposed Budget ("Draft") is provided by the County Executive in the fall and the Adopted Budget ("Final") is approved by the Legislature in December. Arts & Cultural Funding is located under Budget Book A: Operating Funds, under Erie County Department of Environment and Planning.


Short Form applications must be received by WEDNESDAY, APRIL 24, 2019.

Long Form applications must be received by WEDNESDAY, MAY 1, 2019.

  • Assistance with the submission will be available until 4:30pm on each due date.
  • Late or incomplete applications will negatively affect your score.
  • Do NOT contact us to confirm your application was received. If your application is submitted correctly through the submission website, you will receive the following message: "Thank you, your submission has been received." and a confirmation email. 
      • If you do not receive these messages, read through the submission website, follow the directions/instructions, and resubmit. 
      • If your application is incorrect or incomplete, we will contact you as soon as possible to correct it.

Return to Top

Latest News
      • REMINDER: The only way for an applicant to confirm whether they have been granted funding for the next calendar year is through the Erie County Budget process. The Budget Books are available here: The Proposed Budget ("Draft") is provided by the County Executive in the fall and the Adopted Budget ("Final") is approved by the Legislature in December. Arts & Cultural Funding is located under Budget Book A: Operating Funds, under Erie County Department of Environment and Planning.

Return to Top


Cultural Funding Application and submission site

Return to Top

Additional Resources 


Return to Top

Definitions and Descriptions

Return to Top

      • For information on prior grantees, please see the Erie County Adopted Budgets, Book A under the Department of Environment & Planning section.

Return to Top

Erie County Seal

If your organization has received cultural funding from Erie County and would like to download a high-resolution image file of the Erie County Seal for use on your website and marketing materials, please click one of the Seals below.

Erie County Seal Erie County Seal with white square background



Erie County Seal only Erie County Seal only (No background)

ECLogoBandW Erie County Seal with white square background, greyscale

ECSealNoBack-bw Erie County Seal only (No background), greyscale

Return to Top

Contact & Feedback

Cultural Funding Program recipients are encouraged to either:

Return to Top

Last updated: February 5, 2020 10:58am