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Operating Support Grant Program

Grants to Minnesota Arts Nonprofits
to Meet Operational Needs

Agency Type:


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Minnesota State Arts Board

Deadline Date:

01/22/21 Before 4:30 PM


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Grants to Minnesota nonprofit arts organizations to meet operational needs. Funding is intended for applicants working to provide arts programming, activities, and services throughout the State. The goal of the program is to provide resources to sustain eligible organizations in the arts sector.

Operating Support provides general support to high quality, established arts organizations that produce, present, or exhibit works of art; to organizations that provide a broad range of services to artists; and to community arts schools and conservatories that make arts learning available to Minnesotans of all ages and abilities.

The program recognizes that organizations with an established record of programmatic service and administrative stability should have access to funds to support their organizational goals and objectives, and to maintain their ongoing programs, services, and facilities without special emphasis on new initiatives as justification for funding. 

Program Outcomes: By ensuring that sufficient resources as available to sustain the arts and arts organizations, the Operating Support program is dedicated to achieving the following Arts Board long-term strategic outcomes:

  • Minnesotans learn, grow, or change because they participate in quality arts experiences;
  • Minnesotans are more likely to participate in the arts because arts experiences are relevant and accessible;
  • Minnesota communities are stronger or more vibrant because of art’s impact on social, civic, or economic life;
  • Arts organizations effectively manage and strategically apply resources to maximize impact for Minnesotans.

Operating Support grants include two components: Formula Awards and Merit Awards. For more information, see

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 136384

Estimated Size of Grant:

Varies; minimum award amount is $15,000.

Operating Support grants include two components: formula award and merit award. The formula award will vary, depending on the overall number of grantees and the total dollars available for this program, and will be based on the applicant's qualifying expenses, averaged over fiscal year 2018 and fiscal year 2019. The merit award will vary based on the number of grantees in the applicant's assigned budget group that are recommended for merit awards, the merit dollars available for this program, and the merit score assigned by the advisory review panel.

During any year, a grantee may receive no more than 50 percent of its total operating expenses from the Arts Board.

Term of Contract:

The Operating Support grant program uses a four-year grant cycle.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

To be eligible for the Operating Support program, applicants must be structured in one of the following ways:
- A nonprofit 501(c)(3) tax-exempt arts organization with an arts-focused mission; or
- An arts affiliate, operating as a distinct arts-focused program hosted within a Minnesota public or nonprofit 501(c)(3) nonarts institution

And must be one of the following:
- An arts producing organization,
- An arts presenting organization,
- A community arts school or conservatory, or
- An artist service organization

All applicants must:
- Be physically located in Minnesota. The majority of an applicant’s arts programming, services, or activities must take place in Minnesota, and must primarily serve and engage Minnesota audiences and participants;
- Have been in existence and actively providing arts programming in Minnesota for two consecutive full years before applying to the Operating Support grant program for the first time;
- Have two-year qualifying expenses, averaged over fiscal years 2018 and 2019, of $174,000 or more;
- Receive at least ten percent of its total unrestricted revenue from charitable arts support, averaged over fiscal years 2018 and 2019;
- Have at least one paid, professional, administrative staff person in a contract or salaried position (i.e., someone to whom the organization issues a W-2 or 1099 form).

For additional eligibility information and ineligible applicants, see

Pre-Application Information:

- Application deadline: Before 4:30 p.m. on Friday, January 22, 2021. Applicants are encouraged to plan ahead and begin
applications well in advance of the deadline.
- Panel review: May 2021
- Board approval: July 2021

All applicants must be registered as users in the WebGrants system in order to apply to any Arts Board program. New users must register before they may begin an application. Register early. Registrants will receive a WebGrants user ID and password within one to two business days

First-time applicants are encouraged to carefully review the Program Overview and Application Instructions and then call the program officer prior to beginning an application.

There are two types of application reviews: Full application review and interim application review. For more information, see

Informational Webinar:
How to register as a WebGrants user:
How to use WebGrants:

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

For questions about the content of the application form or narrative, please contact:
Richard Hitchler, program officer
(651) 539-2653 or

For questions about the required financial documents, please contact:
Dave White, director, finance and grants administration
(651) 539-2669 or

For questions about the technical aspects of the application form, or questions about electronic submission, please contact:
Justine Pearson, WebGrants manager
(651) 539-2663 or E-mail is preferred.

All staff can be reached toll-free at (800) 866-2787.

Minnesota State Arts Board
540 Fairview Avenue North, Suite 304
Saint Paul, MN 55104

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota

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