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What has five syllables, is difficult to pronounce but is an easy way to learn more about the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation? Prolegomenon, of course, (pronounced pro-leh-GAH-meh-non), which means an introductory discussion. GDDF held our inaugural Prolegomenon for new applicants on Monday, June 23, as part of our expanded Gen Ops Plus strategy to support Chicago’s arts organizations with budgets under $1 million. Knowing that organizations often have questions when filling out an application for the first time, we wanted to help answer those questions in a comfortable in-person exchange.

Representatives from nineteen Chicago small arts organizations gathered around the GDDF conference table to learn more about our guidelines, review the on-line application, and ask questions of Chicago Program Director Arthur Pearson and Chicago Program Officer Ellen Placey Wadey. Our plan is to hold a Prolegomenon approximately six weeks before each of our two application deadlines.

Part of our larger effort to provide grantees and new applicants more opportunities to meet with GDDF staff, Prolegomenon is meant to help make the grant application process less anonymous. As part of this effort, our staff and reviewers regularly attend grantee performances—our aim is to double the number of performance visits in the next year—and they are available for additional discussion time to help groups identify capacity building resources throughout the year.

The next Prolegomenon will occur in February 2015. Please check our website for further details as the time approaches.

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