2024-25 Arts Workforce Empowerment (AWE)


AWE funds are awarded to specifically reimburse salaries and benefits only.


Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs


Jan 12, 2024 - 11:59 pm




General questions about AWE may be directed to ben.espinosa@lacity.org between December and January. Answers to the most general questions submitted by email will be responded to via email. Appointments to speak with the DCA Grants staff can be arranged on the following two days:

  • AWE inquiry date #1: Thursday, December 21, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • AWE inquiry date #2: Wednesday, January 3, 11:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.


The Arts Workforce Empowerment (AWE) grant category is a transformation of DCA’s former Operating Projects category. AWE will provide targeted support for staff salaries at minority-defined DCA grantee organizations that have already received either an Artistic Project Grant or an Outdoor Festival/Parade grant through DCA’s Cultural Grants Program in the prior fiscal year (currently active) and remain in good standing with current reporting. Mid-size nonprofit arts organizations and nonprofit community organizations that hire and sustain a unit of workers already sponsored by DCA to produce a signature outdoor festival, are eligible to apply. The salaried employees named in each proposal must reflect the exact kind of racial and/or social-equity that is promised by the organization’s mission plus programs. AWE support is specifically intended to uplift workers and programmatic success within organizations that combat community poverty due to racial as well as other social discriminations.

DCA respects that nearly all arts organizations are dedicated to lifting up. Applause to all our grantee-clients for their strength and perseverance. AWE is designed to support those organizations who perform the hardest work, best described by the black feminist slogan — LIFTING WHILE YOU CLIMB. Applicants for AWE will demonstrate double or triple power to push up, through multiple oppressions, and climb while lifting others out of poverty.

Competitive applicants for AWE will be able to demonstrate all three of the following attributes:

A) the organization’s mission/programming serves a population which is specifically impacted by poverty as well as other systemic discriminations,

B) the organization is embedded in its neighborhood/community in order to serve as a beacon of hope as well as a partner in community-empowerment with other non-arts businesses that uplift the same fragile population(s), and

C) the organization is dedicated to salaried-employment of staff members who personally represent (in in the best case come from and live within) the same fragile population(s) served by the agency’s programs.

AWE applicants must also meet the following three qualifications:

  • Headquartered within the City of Los Angeles.
  • Sited in a community-context that connects their mission to their audience.
  • Awarded a grant from DCA as a mid-size applicant in any artistic discipline including outdoor festivals/parades.



Applicant-organizations with budgets between $400,001 and $800,000 may request $10,000 of AWE support for one (1) part-time or full-time staff member salary.

Applicant-organizations with budgets between $100,000 and $400,000 may request $20,000 of AWE support for two (2) part-time or full-time staff members’ salaries.

AWE funds are awarded to specifically reimburse salaries and benefits only, not other program costs, even though the programmatic/and administrative success of the employees described in your proposal is judged as part of the process detailed below.


Scoring Overview

The one or two workers and the projects they produce will be judged against other proposals in relation to the City’s renewed commitment to racial and cultural equity. Before starting the application, please re-read the complete AWE program guidelines above and preview the specific AWE Application Questions and Format outlined beginning on the following page.


Due Date

AWE applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on Friday, January 12, 2024.


Application Overview

The AWE category will be posted each October online, within an easy-platform called SlideRoom. Results will be communicated in May-June of the following year.

Application Materials

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