When we first announced the Crusade Engagement Grant, we did not know what to expect. This is really the first of its kind – funding for a program to help connect new audiences to photography. As always, we are focused on helping photographers figure out what to do with their work after it has been created. The thought behind the grant was this:  the money would motivate photographers to think about their work, their target audience, and how to engage them – something we feel is not happening as a regular practice.

And we found that the grant really stumped people. Although the guidelines clearly state that we are not looking for proposals to make new work, many of the applications were project statements. The feedback we got from photographers was that they had no idea what to submit – this was not like any artist grant they had ever applied for. Exactly. This was working.

In the end, we were inundated with applications, and the reach was so much farther than we had hoped or expected. While we have our work cut out for us to narrow down some truly innovative and inspirational ideas to ten finalists, we are looking forward to May 15 when we will share them with you.

Next steps – We select ten finalists who will then be invited to fill out a secondary application that asks for more detailed plans, budgets, and timelines. While the applicants are working on that, we will be highlighting each of their ideas on our website. And then! While the selection committee is deliberating, we will give you a chance to weigh in. Website visitors can vote on their favorite idea, and the winner of this popular vote will receive $1000 (whether or not they ultimately become the recipient of the $10,000 grant).

So check back soon and often. This is going to be a wild ride.

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