Connecticut Arts Endowment Fund (CAEF)


The Connecticut Arts Endowment Fund (CAEF) was established by the Connecticut General Assembly to stimulate the development of private sector funding and to ensure the long-term stability of Connecticut’s arts industry by providing funding to organizations.

The Fund is managed by the Office of the State Treasurer and the program is administered by the Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA). Interest earned on the Fund's principal is distributed annually to arts organizations that qualify by raising more than $15,000 in donor contributions from private-sector, non-governmental sources for two (2) consecutive fiscal years.

CAEF grants are “unrestricted,” that is, organizations may apply funds toward program¬≠ming, administrative or operational costs, capital projects, equipment purchase, or to build their own endowments.


An applicant must be a Connecticut Arts Organization that meets the definition below.   NOTE:  First-time applicants are required to confirm eligibility before applying by contacting Rhonda Olisky at

An arts organization is defined as an organization whose core mission, vision, focus and legal purpose, as stated in its Articles of Incorporation and bylaws, articulate a commitment to create, perform, present or promote artistic activities* AND at least 51 percent of its annual fiscal expenditures are allocated specifically to support artistic activities, arts programs/services and arts-based initiatives.

*Artistic activities include, but are not limited to, music, theater, dance, painting, sculpture, literature, films, and allied arts and crafts.

Additional criteria required:

  • Raised more than $15,000 in donor contributions from private-sector, non-governmental sources* for two (2) consecutive fiscal years;
  • Filed, prior to the application due date, an IRS Form 990 or IRS Form 990-EZ that substantiates total donor contributions;
  • Have tax-exempt status under Section 501 (c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code;
  • Be incorporated in Connecticut as a not-for-profit for at least two (2) years prior to the application due date;
  • Primary place of business and operations in Connecticut; and
  • Have a current Certificate of Good Standing (aka Certificate of Legal Existence) from the Connecticut Secretary of State's Office.

* A non-governmental source is a private-sector organization, foundation, corporation, partnership, single proprietorship or association or person making a contribution to an arts organization.

Required Forms

Applicants are required to submit the organization's IRS Form 990 or IRS Form 990-EZ to substantiate total donor contributions.  Form 990-PF, Return of Private Foundation, and 990-N (e-Postcard) are not acceptable. 

The IRS forms must be completed, signed and filed with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) prior to the application due date of  December 15, 2019If an IRS form has not been filed, it cannot be used to qualify for the FY20 CT Arts Endowment Fund. 

Funding Formula

Applicants do not specify a grant request amount.  Grant awards are calculated solely on the following formula:

Year 1 "Prior Fiscal Year"For the portion of donor contributions which is equal to $15,000 or more but does not exceed the total donor contributions for the prior fiscal year, there shall be a match of 25% of such amount, capped at $250,000. 

Year 2 "Most Recent Fiscal Year" For the portion of the total donor contributions that exceeds the total donor contributions for the prior fiscal year, there shall be a match of 100%, capped at $1 million. 

If the total amount of grants to be paid exceeds the investment earnings of the Arts Endowment Fund, all grants shall be reduced on a pro rata basis.