Apply for BVA Services

Arts and Business Council of Chicago

Since its establishment in 1985, the Arts & Business Council of Chicago has trained and placed over 300 board members and thousands of business volunteers on management consulting projects for more than 600 nonprofit arts groups. This effort has provided over 100,000 hours of pro-bono consulting valued at over 14 million dollars.

As of April 2024, this legacy of service and innovation will now continue under the banner of Lawyers for the Creative Arts. We will steward everything from legal counsel to capacity-building workshops, mentorship opportunities, and the continuation of Business Volunteers for the Arts. By offering all our programs under one roof, we can leverage our collective expertise and resources to create a stronger, more unified support system for Illinois’ arts ecosystem.

Business Volunteers for the Arts

Business Volunteers for the Arts® (BVA) connects skilled consultants and business professionals with IL based nonprofit arts organizations in need of business, management, and operational assistance.

Our BVA consultants are rigorously vetted, highly qualified individuals with subject-matter expertise and a strong dedication to the arts.

Ready for a Project?

BVA Projects are tailored to nonprofit arts organizations facing specific challenges or organizational transitions. Our consultants work in groups of 2-5, offering expertise in various business-related areas, including:

  • Strategic Planning

  • Communications & Marketing

  • Income Generation

  • Human Resources

  • Business & Financial Planning

  • Data Analysis

  • Board Structure & Operations

  • Retreat Facilitations

Before the project begins, the arts organization, LCA, and the Business Volunteer team agree on deliverables and an anticipated completion date. Project duration varies, typically lasting between 2-6 months.

If you are seeking professional development workshops, explore our educational seminars and workshops calendar.


If you're unsure about your organization's needs or which project would benefit your business, please contact Elsa Hiltner, Director of Programs, at or 312-649-4111.

Please note that BVA does not provide the following services: Executive Searches; IT; Website Development; Fundraising and Contributed Revenue Planning.

Submit a BVA Project Proposal

Eligibility Requirements:

  • Applicant must be an arts organization (literature, TV/film, visual arts, performance, music, teaching arts, or arts service).

  • Applicant must be incorporated as a nonprofit in the state of Illinois for at least 2 years and be in Good Standing with the state of Illinois.

  • Applicant must have either: IRS 501(c)(3) status and up-to-date on current 990 filings; 501(c)(3) determination pending; or be fiscally sponsored.

  • The organization’s budget for FY2024 may not exceed $750,000.

  • The organization must have General Liability Insurance of at least $1M.

  • The organization’s board must meet at least quarterly.

  • At least one senior staff person and/or board officer must be able to commit to being the contact person for this project.

If your organization has questions or needs assistance meeting these eligibility requirements, please contact Elsa Hiltner, Director of Programs, at or 312-649-4111.

When reviewing proposals, we prioritize projects that:

  • Will have a lasting impact on the applying organization.

  • Are actionable and attainable based on the applying organization’s internal capacity.

  • We also consider the population and geographic area(s) served by your organization.

Proposal Deadline: TBD

Get Ready to Apply

Before filling out the BVA application form, ensure you have copies of the following documents:

  • IL Nonprofit Articles of Incorporation

  • IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter (if applicable)

  • Declaration of General Liability Insurance

  • Current or Most Recent Operating Budget

  • List of Staff and Board Members

The estimated completion time for the application is 20-30 minutes.

Submit a BVA Application:

Opening TBA

Processing Fees:

No fees are payable until LCA staff reviews your application, completes the intake process, and confirms your qualification under LCA & BVA guidelines. After reviewing your application, we will reach out to discuss your business concerns and provide details on the payment process for the applicable fee.

Corporations, established entities, or groups of two or more persons are subject to a non-refundable $75 fee.


Feel free to contact Elsa Hiltner, Director of Programs, at or 312-649-4111.