Fiscal Sponsorship

What Is Fiscal Sponsorship?

Fiscal Sponsorship allows your non-commercial project to apply for funding from organizations that require non-profit status. Non-profit tax-exempt status is required by many foundations, corporations and government agencies in order to be eligible for funding since many do no accept application proposals from individuals. Additionally, 501(c)(3) status allows you to receive charitable deductible contributions from individuals'a major incentive for individuals considering making a donation to your project.

As your fiscal sponsor, Scribe acts a non-profit tax-exempt umbrella organization that accepts and administers contributions made to your project. Fiscal sponsorship does not provide grants or do research for individual project funding.

Scribe's fiscal sponsorship policies have been set by Scribe's Board of Directors, who consult with staff in making the fiscal sponsorship selections. We hope these Policies and Guidelines will answer your questions about our fiscal sponsorship program. In addition, Scribe staff are available to speak with the prospective applicant about project specifics and applications.

The selection process requires the project director/producer to go through a number of steps, including becoming a member of Scribe Video Center,  submitting to Scribe a formal, written application with supporting materials. There is no application form and no required format for the written application or supporting documents, but the application must include all the information suggested by these Policies and Guidelines. There is no specific deadline for an application, but the project director should contact Scribe (215-222-4201 or email before beginning to prepare the application. In even a short conversation, we can usually get a good sense of the project and give the prospective applicant some help for preparing the application.

We suggest that the application include the following:

Applicant's Name and Contact Info



How this project fits within Scribe's mission

Project Stage and Timeline

Fundraising Strategy


Work Sample

A succinct — but complete — application is better than a long one, and it should be presented to Scribe in a format that makes it easy for us to share with the selection committee. The applicants work sample should be uploaded to an on-line platform. Please provide the password, if necessary. When Scribe has agreed to sponsor an independent project, Scribe staff will meet with the project producer or director to discuss the project in detail and to work out the specific terms of the sponsorship agreement. Then Scribe will prepare a formal and legally binding contract that must be signed by Scribe and the producer or director of the project. We want to make clear that these Policies and Guidelines are not intended to be and are not a sponsorship agreement and that the final agreement will contain very specific terms that govern the sponsorship obligations of Scribe and the project director.

So, please read the following Policies and Guidelines carefully. Then, give us a call, email, or come in to see us so we can discuss your next steps toward fiscal sponsorship. And thanks for your interest in Scribe Video Center.

Polices And Guidelines For Applicants

Each year, Scribe Video Center agrees to serve as fiscal sponsor for a small number of independent media arts projects. Scribe does this in keeping with its mission, which is to explore, develop and advance the use of video, film, audio and interactive technology as artistic media and as tools for progressive change.

As fiscal sponsor to an independent media arts project Scribe administers some portion of the funds raised to support the project. This means that, by agreement between Scribe and the project director, Scribe agrees to accept, hold and disburse a portion of the funds raised for the project. It does this in accord with contract, budget and other terms and documents that Scribe and the project director agree to follow. It is important to note that Scribe does not act as fiscal sponsor for the entire project, but only for the agreed-on portion of the project funding. Scribe does not have any responsibility to raise funds for the project. Scribe assumes no liability for debts incurred by the project or project director. Scribe does not employ the project director or crew.

What Are The Project Director's Obligations?

The director agrees to use his or her best efforts to produce the project, including using those best efforts to raise all the funds that the project will require.

  • The subject conforms to Scribe's mission.
  • It explores significant aesthetic, cultural, community or political concerns relevant to the Philadelphia region.
  • It supports progressive social change.
  • It conveys an individual' personal artistic expression.
  • It supports a group that wants to use media to address a community issue.
  • The producer resides in the Philadelphia region (i.e., the City of Philadelphia, Southeastern Pennsylvania, Southern New Jersey or Northern Delaware), or, if the producer resides outside the region, then
    • the subject conforms to Scribe's mission, and
    • the project relates to or will benefit the Philadelphia region, and
    • no less than half the project crew is from the region (as defined above).

What Qualifications Must The Project's Independent Producer Have?

The project director must be a member of Scribe Video Center and have the ability to complete the project, as demonstrated by previous experience and a clear work plan for the project being proposed. The project director must have a clear and realistic strategy for completion, including fundraising and a production schedule.

Who Decides Which Projects Scribe Will Sponsor?

A selection committee made up of Scribe staff and board members reviews and decides on sponsorship applications. While Scribe's policies permit up to ten active sponsorships a year, Scribe is not obligated to take on ten sponsorships and reserves the sole discretion to accept or decline the request to sponsor a project.

How Long Does A Fiscal Sponsorship Last?

The sponsorship lasts one year (but it may be renewed). 

What If The Project Is Not Completed Within The Agreed-On Period?

If the project is not completed, then the project funds must be returned to the funder/s; but Scribe retains its fee.

May A Project Director Apply More Than Once To Scribe For Sponsorship?

The project directorr may apply to Scribe more than once, even for a project for which Scribe served as sponsor and which the producer did not complete during the term of a previous sponsorship.

What Are The Budget Requirements?

In general they are as follows:

  • The written application must include both a detailed project budget and a detailed budget for the portion of the project funds that Scribe will administer.
  • The project director must be strictly adhere to the project budget that accompanies the application. Changes to the budget are subject to Scribe's prior review and approval and to the prior approval of the funder.
  • The project director must agree to follow Scribe's accounting practices. When the project is selected for sponsorship, Scribe staff will meet with the producer to review the accounting practices in detail, but at a minimum the application should be prepared to use per-approved accounting codes for all invoices and requests for payment and to use vendors who have social security numbers and/or current Federal business tax identification numbers. Payments are made within 21 days of receipt of invoice and tax number identification form (w-9) of payee.
  • A project which expects to receive grants that total more than 25% of Scribe's annual budget must be reviewed and approved by a majority of Scribe's board.
  • If more than 10 percent or $500 of project funds, whichever is greater, are to be disbursed directly to the producer or project director as a fee or salary payment, then the producer or director must notify the funder in writing and must demonstrate to Scribe that the funder has agreed to the payment.
  • If more than 20% or $1000 of project funds, whichever is greater, is to be applied toward the purchase of permanent equipment (i.e., equipment that can be used more than three years after the project is complete), then the producer or director must notify the funder in writing and must demonstrate the funder's approval to Scribe before Scribe will release funds for the purchase.

Does The Project Director Have To Submit Reports To Scribe?

The project director must submit periodic financial and narrative reports to Scribe.

Does Scribe Charge The Project For Fiscal Sponsorship?

As do virtually all fiscal sponsors, Scribe charges a modest fee to cover the costs of its bookkeeping, administration and other activities.

Who Owns The Completed Work?

The project director generally holds the copyright on the completed work, subject to federal copyright and other laws.