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Arts Organization Start-Up Grants

Grants to Minnesota Arts Organizations
to Apply for Nonprofit Status

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC)

Deadline Date:

04/01/21 4:30 PM - Application deadlines are the 1st of each month from January 2021 to April 2020 or until funds are expended.


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Grants of up to $2,000 to Minnesota arts organizations to develop organizational material and obtain legal organizational status. Funding is intended to support the development of organizations by financing the costs to create by-laws and articles of incorporation, as well as for assistance to apply for nonprofit status. Applicant organizations must be located within the eighteen counties of the SMAC service region (Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties) or on tribal lands within the service area.

The grant review panel will take the following points into consideration when scoring applications:

  • The outcome evaluation plan for the project
  • The feasibility of the project
  • The impact of the project on the organization
  • The merit of the organization and the artistic quality of its programs

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 139087

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $2,000

Term of Contract:

Earliest project start date: 1st day of the following month after the deadline. The start date for a SMAC grant is defined as the point at which the project is set in motion. No funds can be expended prior to the project start date. Projects must be concluded no later than June 30, 2022.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Organizations whose mission is focused primarily on the arts, who are located in the SW MN Arts Council (SMAC) region and wish to develop articles of incorporation, by-laws, and apply for their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, may apply.

Arts organizations must have completed at least two years of programming at the time of application.

Applicants for Arts Organization Start-Up grants must have a fiscal sponsor that is a nonprofit organization as described in Section 501 (c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code with Articles of Incorporation on file with the State of Minnesota or an official unit of a city, county, or state government of the State of Minnesota.

A signed agreement spelling out the relationship between the applicant and the fiscal sponsor must be submitted with the application. A fiscal sponsor, if used, must sign the application and, if funded, sign the grant contract. The fiscal sponsor is legally responsible for the completion of the project and for the proper management of grant funds.

Ineligible projects:

Proposals for staff salaries or contracted staff are not eligible for grants.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Arts Organization Start-Up grant workshop webinar: November 18, 2020, noon to 1 pm.

Register at

Pre-Application Information:

This program is a first-come, first-served monthly deadline until all funds have been expended. Application deadline is January 2021 - April 2021. Board action will take place at the next scheduled board meeting.

To request a review of the application prior to submission, contact staff at least two weeks prior to the deadline.

There is a limit of one grant per organization.

Before beginning an application, applicants are strongly encouraged to contact SW MN Arts Council to determine if this grant program is appropriate.

Video Tutorial for Online Grant System:

Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

To schedule time with Caroline Koska, the Grants Administrator:

Southwest Minnesota Arts Council
114 North 3rd Street
PO Box 55
Marshall, MN 56258
Toll-Free:+1 800 622 5284
Telephone:+1 507 537 1471

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota: Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift, and Yellow Medicine counties or on tribal lands within the funding source's service area.


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