Black Arts Annual Operating

Application deadline March 14, 2024

For questions about this program, contact Timaj Garad, Senior Manager, Outreach & Access

The Black Arts Annual Operating Program is a new funding initiative created to support Black-led, Black-focused and Black-serving[1] organizations seeking support with operating expenses. For the purpose of this program, “Black” refers to African descendant people across the diaspora including but not limited to African Canadian, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latinx, East African, West African, Southern and Central African, Afro-Arab, Afro-Indigenous, etc. This funding program is intended to support the development, continuation, and flourishing of Black arts organizations.


What does this program support?

The Black Arts Program provides Annual Operating support non-profit Toronto Black arts organizations (both incorporated and unincorporated). Organizations qualifying for funding will be Black-led, Black-focused, and Black-serving; with the requirement for a majority of the leadership (including but not limited to board members, founders, and staff) to identify as Black (Black-led), the primary goals of the organization to meaningfully support the Black community (Black-focused), as well as a significant portion of program activities prioritizing serving the Black community (Black-serving). Funding through this program supports both operations and programming.  The City of Toronto supports this program through a funding allocation approved annually by Toronto City Council.

TAC recognizes the need to respond to barriers that Black arts communities face due to anti-Black racism. The program seeks to address these barriers by providing pathways to sustainable support to Toronto’s Black-led arts organizations serving Black artists. This program also seeks to encourage the development and sustainability of Black arts communities by increasing availability of dedicated resources and support provided to Black artists and communities through Black arts organizations.

What activities does this program fund?

Professional, Black-led arts organization that supports the work of professional Black artists in a variety of arts disciplines. This can include:

  • multidisciplinary arts organizations that serve and support artist-members with a focus on Black artists-members
  • organizations whose primary purpose is to support the professional practice of Black artists

Who can apply?

To be eligible for this Annual Operating funding, an applicant must:[2]

  • be a non-profit professional arts organization;
  • be Black-led, Black-focused, and Black-serving
  • have professional artistic leadership and pay appropriate professional fees to artists;
  • be located in the City of Toronto and have a significant portion of its activities occurring within the City;
  • have a recent history of sustained arts activity of at least two years;
  • have a viable administrative structure;
  • demonstrate a range of revenue sources on an annual basis, which may include earned, government and private sector revenues;
  • provide audited financial statements or internally prepared statements including a balance sheet, statement of income and expenses (if audited financial statements or review engagement is unavailable) 
  • be governed by a majority Black-led Board of Directors or other body responsible for the organization. 

Please consult with the Program Manager to discuss your organization’s eligibility.

1Black-led: majority of leadership at all levels are Black; Black-focused: primary goal of the organization is to meaningfully support and engage Black communities; Black-serving: a significant portion of program activities prioritize serving Black communities

TAC recognizes that due to systemic barriers within the broader arts community (e.g. limited mainstream presentation opportunities for artists for Black artists) that some flexibility may be required in interpreting eligibility criteria to take into account equivalent professional experience and contexts. Potential applicants are encouraged to discuss their eligibility with the Program Manager in advance of submitting an application.

Frequently Asked Questions can be accessed here.

  • Schools, tuition-funded training programs and curriculum-based programs are not eligible to apply to this program.
  • Organizations must conduct their activities on an annual, ongoing basis either throughout the year or on a seasonal basis. Organizations, whose level of activity varies from season to season, in keeping with their mandate, must describe their production cycle.  
  • Organizations may receive only one grant per calendar year through the Black Arts program and may not apply to other TAC operating programs. However, organizations who receive a Black Arts Operating grant below $20,000 may still apply to other discipline programs as well as strategic initiatives programs that TAC offers. In this case, the organization may receive up to one project grant in each funding stream and two project grants total per calendar year. Organizations receiving a Black Arts Operating grant above $20,000 can only apply to grants in the strategic initiatives programs. In this case, the organization may receive up to one project grant in addition to their operating grant per calendar year. 

Please download the full Program Guidelines for complete program details and application specifics. 

Black Arts Program Development

Over the past year, TAC has been consulting with Black arts communities across Toronto to support the development of a community-driven funding program to support Black artists and Black arts organizations in Toronto. Over 300 Toronto-based artists and arts workers joined the conversation. Here is what came out of those conversations, which informed the development of this program:

Black Arts Funding for A Black Arts Future:
Recommendations for Toronto Arts Council

Black Arts Program Townhall – July 6, 2021

Community Co-Design

​Following the report 'Black Arts Funding for a Black Arts Future,' TAC implemented recommendations from Black arts communities through a community co-design process, and increased the overall budget for the first year from $300,000 to $500,000. During the co-design process Black artists and arts workers shared their feedback about the program design, program guidelines, and application process. While the first consultation focused on community needs, this process focused on how the program would best address those needs through the program design.

We will be releasing a follow-up report soon outlining how community recommendations were implemented into the program through the co-design process. 

We want to thank all the Black artists and arts workers across the city who participated in the consultation and co-design process for their contributions to the development of this program.


Please contact Timaj Garad, Senior Manager, Outreach & Access
416-392-6802 x 209 or

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