Giving Opportunities

Click the button below to see a list of funds at the SWFL Community Foundation that you can donate to. DONATE TO A FUND



Arts & Culture Organization Guidelines




The City of Fort Myers recognizes the importance of the arts to the cultural, educational, and economic well being of its diverse population.  In order to enhance access by all its residents to a full range of cultural experiences, the City of Fort Myers provides funding for arts and cultural programs, administered by the City of Fort Myers Public Art Committee.


Through grant making and other activities and services, the City of Fort Myers strives to:

  • Develop stable, well-managed arts & culture organizations and institutions, through fair distribution of funds
  • Encourage artistic quality and program innovation, including “seed money” for organizations and projects
  • Develop new audiences and challenge existing audiences
  • Promote lifelong arts and cultural education
  • Promote multicultural inclusion in all aspects of the City’s cultural life
  • Stimulate increased private support for the arts & culture
  • Promote economic development and tourism in the City of Fort Myers
  • Promote and encourage art and culture in all communities and neighborhoods
    of the City
  • Create a nurturing environment in which artists can flourish

The grant allocation process is administered by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation through a Letter of Understanding with the City of Fort Myers.  The Southwest Florida Community Foundation establishes a committee to review and make recommendations for grant allocations.  The City provides a liaison to the Committee to assist in answering questions and providing background information as needed.  The City Manager presents recommendations for grant awards to the Mayor and City Council.

Only one grant per organization or artist will be funded per year.



  • Non-profit organizations that produce and/or present a cultural program or festival within the City of Fort Myers’ corporate limits.
  • Have documented IRS nonprofit, tax-exempt status as a 501c(3) nonprofit organization.
    Applicants with pending 501c(3) status are not eligible.
  • Have completed one year of fiscal operation as a non-profit organization and can provide board-approved financial statements.
  • Be able to provide most recently completed IRS Form 990.
  • Be able to match amount requested on a dollar-for-dollar basis.
  • Operating budget to dedicate 10% or more in marketing expense for proposed activities.
  • Applicant organizations may submit only one application.
  • If the organization has received a City of Fort Myers Art & Culture Grant at any time in the past then a Post Grant Final Report must have been submitted for that Grant.
  • Units of city or municipal government are ineligible for City of Fort Myers Art & Culture Grants.
    (i.e. public school, library, city special events department, etc.)
  • Religious Organizations and Churches are ineligible for City of Fort Myers Art & Culture Grant


Grants will be available only for individuals and organizations making a meaningful contribution to the arts and culture of the City.  The maximum funding for each arts and culture grant is $10,000 for Operating Grants for organizations and $5,000 for Project & Program Grants for organizations.

Applicants are required to show a match to the requested funds from earned income, foundations, individual and corporate contributions, government agencies and other organizations. These matching funds can include in-kind goods and services as well as volunteer and professional time, as a part of the cash match.


Please click here to review grant portal registration instructions:


Project & Program Grants support arts & culture activities, projects and programs that take place within the City of Fort Myers. Your description should include:

  • overall goal(s) regarding your project or program,
  • objectives or ways in which you will meet the goal(s),
  • specific activities for which you are seeking funding,
  • who will carry out those activities,
  • time frame in which the activities will take place,
  • how the proposed project or program will benefit the community of the City of Fort Myers, being as clear as you can about the impact you expect to have and long-term strategies (if applicable) for sustaining this effort.

Operating Grants support non-profit organizations based in the City of Fort Myers that are exclusively dedicated to art and culture. They are awarded to offset a portion of annual operating costs. Your description should include:

  • the opportunities, challenges, issues or needs currently facing your organization,
  • overall goal(s) of the organization for the funding period,
  • objectives or ways in which you will meet the goal(s),
  • activities and who will carry out these activities
  • time frame in which this will take place
  • long-term funding strategies



Although the review process varies according to grant category, the process always involves a qualitative evaluation of some kind.

Applications are submitted on the Southwest Florida Community Foundation grant portal.

Application materials are distributed to the Arts and Culture Grants Review Committee, composed of artists, arts & culture administrators, and community arts & culture representatives for individual review and ratings according to review criteria stated below.

Review Committee meetings are scheduled for discussion and ratings are averaged to reach each applicant’s overall rating.

After the Arts and Culture Grants Committee has rated the applicants, the panel makes funding recommendations which are forwarded by the Southwest Florida Community Foundation staff to Public Works Administration’s staff.  Public Works Administration staff  prepares a Council Agenda Item (Greensheet) for presentation to the Mayor and City Council for approval.  Awards will be announced in April or May and checks will be sent within 3 weeks of receipt of a signed agreement from the Artist or Organization.

Applications for financial support from the City of Fort Myers Arts & Culture Grants will be reviewed applying these criteria:

  • Organization, individual & project/program artistic merit – 35 points
  • Community outreach – 25 points
  • Art-related educational value for Fort Myers residents – 25 points
  • Administrative ability – 15 points

Organization, individual & project/program artistic merit refers to:

  • High standard of quality & merit
  • Responsiveness to current and future art & culture needs
  • Innovation and creativity
  • Vision and leadership of staff and volunteers
  • Activity furthers applicant’s stated mission

Community outreach refers to:

  • Effectiveness of community involvement as shown by diversity of audience
    (i.e. affecting a variety of social, economic and ethnic populations)
  • Effectiveness at furthering understanding of an art and culture form to diverse audience, representing a variety of social, economic and racial populations
  • Representation and participation by special audiences, including economically deprived, children, the elderly, the disabled and geographically underserved neighborhoods
  • Innovation in programming to reach new and special audiences, including collaborative programs with other groups
  • Effectiveness of marketing efforts

Art-related educational value refers to:

  • Organizations and Projects & Programs that promote the arts and culture in education
  • Organizations and Projects & Programs that expand youth involvement in and access to arts and culture
  • Organizations and Projects & Programs that provide educational opportunities for arts and culture to youth and adults
  • Organizations and Projects & Programs that enhance art and culture appreciation for all citizens

Administrative ability refers to:

  • A continuing history of growth, stability and vision
  • A long-range and/or short-range plan
  • Evidence of effectiveness and efficiency of organization
  • Evidence of leadership of administrative staff, when applicable
  • Evidence of ability to deliver services effectively
  • Clarity and completeness of financial information and general application information
  • Presentation of a clear and realistic itemized budget, including explanation of any requested information

Interim and Post-Grant Final Report
An interim report will be due mid-way through completion of the grant process on November 30, 2019. A Post-Grant Final Report is due at the end of the granting period and must be received in order to be eligible to apply for a grant in any future grant cycles for this program. The post-grant final report will be due May 31, 2020.