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Advancement Grants (AG)

Grants to Maryland Arts and Humanities Nonprofits
in Eligible Counties for Organizational Development

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

02/21/20 11:59 PM


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Grants to Maryland nonprofit arts and humanities organizations in eligible counties for projects that promote long-term organizational stability. Funding is intended to support organizations that work in a variety of fields including performing arts, media arts, visual arts, literary arts, folk, and traditional arts. Grants also provide funding for the humanities, including history, literature, and philosophy. Eligible organizations serve the residents of Montgomery County.

By awarding Advancement Grants, the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) seeks to:

  • Assist arts and humanities organizations in maintaining fiscal stability and long-term viability;
  • Support arts and humanities organizations in their long-term planning, planning for capital improvement projects, and/or technology improvements critical to their mission; and
  • Encourage the use of intentional strategies for achieving equity, diversity, inclusion and access in the field.

To be eligible, the Advancement Grant proposal must meet the following requirements:

  • Contributes to the organization’s fiscal stability and long-term viability;
  • Addresses long-term planning, planning for capital improvement projects, or technology improvements critical to an organization’s arts or humanities mission.
  • Heightens the applicant's ability to provide services that directly benefit Montgomery County constituents.

Examples of eligible proposals include, but are not limited to:

  • Purchase of equipment or software intended to upgrade the organization’s technological capacity or management efficiency
  • Board or staff training, in an area such as financial management
  • Creation of a long-term business plan
  • Identification and implementation of organizational strategies to achieve greater Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and/or Access (DEIA)
  • Studies and plans related to new and replacement machinery, research and development and the production of new services, and other major capital expenditures. This is also called investment appraisal, or capital budgeting.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 139555

Estimated Size of Grant:

The award amounts for Advancement Grants range from $10,000 to $100,000. Grant requests below $10,000 will not be accepted, and grant requests above $100,000 will not be accepted.

Term of Contract:

Advancement Grants for FY21 cover activities occurring from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Advancement Grants (AG) are available to non-profit arts and humanities organizations located in Montgomery County, MD, that have annual cash expenses of at least $50,000 for the most recently completed fiscal year.

An organization has to have met all the following criteria for at least the previous three consecutive fiscal years immediately prior to the application deadline:
- Has its primary mission the exhibition, presentation, production or performance of, and/or education in, an arts and/or humanities discipline; and/or provides support services for artists and/or scholars and for arts and/or humanities organizations;
- Has a balanced budget and annual documented cash operating expenses/income of no less than $50,000;
- Demonstrates 501 (c)(3) status through one of the ways stated in the guidelines on page 4;
- Has its primary office in Montgomery County, as demonstrated by the IRS Letter of Determination;
- Is governed by an independent, legally liable Board operating under a mission statement for the organization;
- At least 40% of the applicant’s board members reside and/or work in Montgomery County as of the grant application deadline;
- Has at least one paid staff person working a minimum of 5 hours a week to support the organization’s Board, comply with the grant requirements, and maintain ongoing programming. Requests over $25,000 require at least one paid staff person working a minimum of 20 hours a week to support the organization’s Board, comply with the grant requirements, and maintain ongoing programming;
- Offers at least 51% of its programs and services in Montgomery County, as demonstrated by previous, current, and projected years’ activities/programming.

For additional eligibility requirements, see:

For a list of budget limitations, see:

Grant requests for more than one Advancement Grant per fiscal year will not be accepted. Grant requests for more than one project per Advancement Grant will not be accepted. An organization that received an Advancement Grant in FY19 and FY20 is not eligible to apply for an FY21 Advancement Grant.

For additional grant limitations, see:

Pre-proposal Conference:

Workshops and webinars allow grant-seekers to ask AHCMC grants staff specific questions about the grant guidelines, application, and FluidReview online grant portal. At each workshop and webinar, grants staff will review major eligibility requirements, present an overview of the grant category, and offer technical assistance for the application process and use of the FluidReview online grant portal.

Workshops at AHCMC:
Monday January 27, 2020 from 4:00-5:00 p.m.
Registration coming soon

Friday January 24, 2020 from 3:00-4:00 p.m.
Registration coming soon

All AHCMC webinars will be hosted through the Zoom platform.

Grants Webinars & Workshops

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline to apply is Friday, February 21, 2020, 11:59 PM.

First-time applicants are highly encouraged to contact Grants Program staff.

A panel review will take place in April 2020, and grant awards will be announced in late June 2020.

An organization may apply for only one Advancement Grant each year. Each applicant can only request funding for one project.

Organizations applying for $25,000 to $50,000 MUST submit an FY19 audit, or a review of FY19 financial statements if an audit is not available. Requests for over $50,000 require an FY19 audit. For audit eligibility requirements see:

To be eligible, the applicant must provide a cash match for the Advancement Grant request of one dollar for every dollar of grant funds awarded.
- Sources of the matching funds may include gifts from new donors and increased gifts from current donors.
- At least 50% of the cash match must be from donors that are new to the applicant or gift increases from current donors. Donors who have not given before June 30, 2019 are considered new donors. Applicants must submit documentation explaining the gifts from new donors and gifts increases from current donors.
- Except as restricted below, the remaining match may be from any source, including reserves, ticket sales, tuition, or state and federal grants.

The match may not include:
- In-kind contributions or donated services;
- Any earned revenue from County government; or
- Grants or appropriations from County government sources.

Personal appointments are available for those who need assistance, but cannot attend a webinar or a workshop. Appointments are available for assistance with the content of the application and/or with the online grant application system. Personal appointments must be held at least two weeks prior to the application deadline. To schedule an appointment, contact Karen Judsgon, Grants Program Manager.

Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

AHCMC Grants Team:

Karen Judson, Grants Program Manager
(301) 565-3804

Ana-Alicia Feng, Grants Program Coordinator
(301) 565-3805 x21

Takenya LaViscount, Senior Grants Program Manager
(240) 839-4519

801 Ellsworth Drive
Silver Spring, MD 20910
T: 301-565-3805
F: 301-565-3809

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Maryland: Montgomery County

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