Recap: CFA Opportunities for the Creative Economy

Photo credit: Ken Kozak, Kendo Design

On Monday, June 4th, a packed house of Creatives took part in a workshop entitled “CFA Opportunities for the Creative Economy,” and got a chance to hear from and ask questions of members of the New York State Council of the Arts (NYSCA), Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), and Empire State Development (ESD) about the millions of dollars of state funds made available through the Consolidated Funding Application (CFA) process (yes, that’s a lot of acronyms!). The application process can be daunting for newcomers and experienced organizations and companies alike, so this unprecedented chance to hear from those who’ll be reviewing scores of applications was beneficial to all parties involved.

Philip Morris — a member of the REDC and CEO of several CFA grants for Proctors, Cap Rep, and Universal Preservation Hall — recommended that grant requests be “real — don’t make something up just to fit the guidelines. The panelists can tell if it’s a project that’s really true to your mission.”

Melissa auf der Maur, founder of Basilica Hudson, which was awarded two CFA grants last year, recommended that applications be “relevant to both your local community and to the region” and recommended that applicants “really make a strong financial case” about how much is invested and what all of the outcomes of your project will be.

Mike Yevoli of Empire State Development recommended that applicants review CFA guidelines as well as the REDC’s goals before applying.

Andrew Meader of the REDC encouraged people to not be put off if their projects aren’t funded the first time out, citing the Park Theater project in Glens Falls, which was funded on its third try.

Sunita Iqbal of NYSCA recommended that applicants contact NYSCA with questions before the July 9th “inquiry deadline.”

The Capital Region has received $521.9 million from the state to support 718 projects through the Consolidated Funding Application since 2011, but all of the panelists emphasized that the application process itself is extremely rigorous, as are the reporting demands that take place after receiving a grant, and that not every organization and project will benefit from the amount of work that the CFA grants require.

For other questions about the CFA process, visit the CFA site or contact ESD at (518) 270-1130.