The Capacity Building Project

Funded by the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust


The William R. Kenan Jr. Charitable Trust funded The Capacity Building Project is a grant program for mid-sized cultural organizations to foster professional practices and growth. Through The Capacity Building Project, The Cultural Council will provide an organizational assessment to determine the most needed areas of professional development and capacity building. The Cultural Council and chosen cultural organization will design a customized training plan to address those needs.

A mid-sized cultural organization is defined by the budget size, annual audience size, proficiency and stability of the staff and board leadership. Mid-sized cultural organizations are selected through a competitive process and may currently be funded under the Category CII Grant Program for Mid-sized organizations.


The Capacity Building Project is designed to support cultural organizations from Palm Beach County with stable budgets that provide outstanding cultural programming and meet specific criteria necessary to complete both phases of this grant program.

Phase I consists of an Organizational Assessment and Prioritization. Phase II consists of Customized Capacity Building.


At the end of the grant period, successful grantees will be on track to grow into a major cultural institution in Palm Beach County. The Cultural Council’s mission of service to the community is carried out by assisting and improving the capacity of the cultural organizations. This grant program provides an opportunity for these organizations to examine, learn and take action to develop sustainable solutions to the challenges they face in the cultural industry.


Cultural organizations that meet the eligibility requirements will complete the application. The Capacity Building Project Panel will select 2-3 organizations for this grant program. The mid-sized cultural organizations selected for this program will create an action plan and timeline with the Cultural Council. During the grant period, which will be determined, Next Level Grant Program grantees will participate in an assessment and customized capacity building activities. This program may address one or more areas of concern: Governance, Management, Finance, Development, Human Resources, Contractors/Volunteers, Programming and Marketing. Upon completion, grantees will be expected to complete a final report.


The Capacity Building Project is open to established nonprofit cultural organizations located in Palm Beach County who meet the minimum requirements:

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission of arts & culture
  • In operation for at least five (5) years in Palm Beach County
  • Current member of the Cultural Council’s Annual Membership Program
  • Operating budget between $200,000 and $1 million
  • Demonstrate board and staff commitment
  • Demonstrate the need for organizational capacity building
  • Demonstrate the willingness to participate in an intensive training that may last up to 2 years

Note: Next Level Grants do not exclude cultural organizations from applying for other Cultural Council grant programs.


The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County, through the generous support of the William R. Kenan, Jr. Charitable Trust, will work one-on-one with the cultural organizations to determine the grant award. The grant award will be based on the individual assessment and the customized capacity building activities up to a maximum award of $12,500. The Cultural Council and grantee organization will work together to determine the actual award based on assessment and capacity building expenses. Please Note: The Cultural Council will pay for the Nonprofits First, Inc. certification tool as part of the assessment and the fee should be included in the budget request.

Requirements for Phase I – Organizational Assessments and Prioritization

  • Must be conducted by an outside professional consultant who is skilled and experienced in implementing an effective organizational assessment process.
  • Must involve both board leadership as well as staff in the assessment process.
  • Must assess each of the following six key areas of organization infrastructure to identify strengths and challenges or areas for improvement.
    • Mission, Vision and Strategy – Does the organization have a clear mission and are the strategies in alignment with this mission?
    • Governance and Leadership – Does the organization have strong governance and foster leadership?
    • Fund Development – Is the organization financially sustainable?
    • Internal Operations and Management – Does the organization have a strong internal system?
    • Strategic Relationships – Does the organization have strong and positive relationships with external stakeholders and message to the community-at-large?
    • Program Delivery and Impact – Is the organization effective in its delivery of programs and services, and is evaluation of impact integral to the organization?

    The assessment must include a review of organizational documents (legal documents, financial documents, and other important management documents) in addition to gathering key stake holder input.

Requirements for Phase II – Customized Capacity Building

Consultant Qualifications and Criteria

An outside consultant is required for organizational assessment grants and must be selector prior to the application. The Cultural Council does not endorse or recommend any particular consultants or consultant firms. If the cultural organization should need assistance in identifying a consultant, the Council will provide a list of consultants.

Each consultant conducting organizational assessments under this grant program are expected to meet the following criteria:

  • Comply with the State of Florida regulations and licensure requirements
  • Has a minimum of three years of nonprofit experience (as staff, board, volunteer or consultant)
  • Has a minimum of two years of recent experience in a nonprofit consulting role
  • Has demonstrated skill in conducting comprehensive organizational assessments for nonprofits
  • Has demonstrated effectiveness in working in a consulting role with nonprofits

In addition, the Cultural Council has created a guide that details its perspective on working with consultants as well as resources that can assist organizations in managing the process of engaging and working with consultants.

The Consultant will produce a written document that describes the process completed and recommended areas for improvement and defines the focus for Phase II– Customized Capacity Building work, including:

  • Short-term and or no/low cost improvements and activities. These include one-time activities than have specific purposes or preparation or planning activities that must be done in order to tackle the more complex capacity building work.
  • Long-term and /or higher cost improvements and activities. These include capacity building activities that are complex in nature and will require a significant investment of time and/or financial resources to undertake.
  • All recommendations with in each of these sets should be organized by priority and level of impact.

Expectations of Grantees

The Council’s philosophy is that nonprofit capacity building work is not easy work and there is no single solution. However, the return on investment to the organization is a direct result of the time and effort invested by the cultural organization. Grantees are expected to approach this work with the understanding that, even with the use of a consultant, staff and board members should be adequately prepared for their role and responsibilities to ensure the benefits are realized.

Grant Progress Meetings

Cultural organizations that are selected to participate in this program will be expected to meet with the Council staff to discuss the grant at these times during the life of the grant:

  • Beginning of Phase I – Discuss Organizational Assessment Consultant
  • Middle of Phase I – Discuss Organizational Assessment Outcomes
  • End of Phase I/Start of Phase II – Discuss Prioritization and Plans for Phase II
  • Middle of Phase II – Discuss Capacity Building Progress
  • End of Phase II – Program Wrap Up

Application Process and Timeline

Before applying, please verify your organization’s eligibility by reviewing this checklist.

Application deadline has passed.