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Operating Support Grant

Grants to Minnesota Arts Nonprofits in Eligible
Counties for Ongoing Organizational Support

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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East Central Regional Arts Council (ECRAC)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

03/01/19 Submitted before 11:59 PM


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Grants ranging from $3,000 to $5,000 to Minnesota nonprofit arts organizations in eligible counties for general organizational expenses. Funding is intended to provide ongoing operating support for established, high quality arts organizations in Isanti, Kanabec, Chisago, Pine, and Mille Lacs Counties. Eligible expenses include, but are not limited to, small capital expenses, equipment and supply purchases, training, facility rental, general advertising, and insurance.

The ECRAC General Operating Support grant program provides general operating 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 groups that make arts learning available to regional individuals of all ages and abilities. The grant program offers funding to qualified organizations to maintain their ongoing organizational operating needs. This 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 any emphasis on new initiatives or programs as justification for funding.

General Operating Support Grant proposals may include the following expenses based on the organization's identified needs and proposed outcomes:

- General operating expenses (e.g. – facility rental (not purchase) costs, operational insurance, directors and officer’s insurance, office or art supplies and equipment, utilities, general (not project specific) advertising, and phone or internet service, etc.)
- Board and staff training in non-profit or art best practices.
- Long range planning consultations (except fundraising).
- Purchase of equipment* or small capital expenses necessary to the mission of the arts organization. (Three quotes and an equipment use plan are required for all capital expenses over $500.)
- Expenses related to ADA compliance, or upgrades, in the facility used.
- Memberships in organizations such as a local chamber of commerce, GPS 45:93, or the Minnesota Council of Non-Profits, etc.. Travel (within Minnesota) for staff and board members to attend meetings, conferences, or trainings of these membership organizations.

*Requests from organizations for equipment purchase must include a detailed plan for the use of the equipment, and a statement certifying they will not sell the equipment without prior ECRAC approval. In addition, all equipment purchases of over $500 are required to have 3 price quotes in the grant application.

The mission of the East Central Regional Arts Council is to support the arts and bring the life enhancing values they afford to Region 7E residents. The vision is that all Region 7E residents have the opportunity to participate, appreciate, create, and invest in the arts.

Review Criteria:

- The merit and artistic quality of the organization’s projects or programs.
- The ability of the organization to accomplish the organization’s goals as stated. This is demonstrated by providing evidence of qualifications of artistic and administrative personnel, program brochures, catalog and materials, and previously successful efforts.
- Applicants must demonstrate a demand/need for the organization in the community served.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 141422

Estimated Size of Grant:

The funding amount for ECRAC General Operating Support Grants is $3,000 to $5,000.

Term of Contract:

Operating Support Grant amounts will cover the time period of July 1, 2019 (grant start date), to June 30, 2020 (grant end date).

The start date for an ECRAC grant is defined as “the point at which the project is set in motion (e.g. ordering and/or paying for supplies or printed materials, rent payments, etc.).” Payment of any debts incurred before the grant begins or outside of the grant start and end dates cannot be approved.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

ECRAC serves the non-profit arts organization community in the five Region 7E Minnesota counties of Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine. Eligible organizations must be located in one of these counties and must be a Minnesota private, non-profit arts organization which has obtained, for at least a year, 501(c)3 tax-exempt status under the Internal Revenue Code and have registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State and Department of Revenue.

An applicant organization must also meet all of the following requirements:

1. The organization must be a 501(c)3 tax exempt organization physically located in Region 7E (in East Central Minnesota).
2. Programming, services, or activities must take place in Region 7E in Minnesota, and must primarily serve and engage Region 7E audiences and participants.
3. The organization must be an arts organization defined as producing arts, presenting arts, a community arts school, or an artist service agency. For the purposes of this program, public or private pre-K-12 schools, colleges, or universities; radio and television stations; libraries; friends of the libraries; zoos; children’s museums; historical societies or museums; natural history museums; civic organizations; human service organization; or other community service agencies do not meet the definition of “arts organization.”
4. The organization must have a history of at least two years of arts programming and services prior to applying and at least one year as a designated 501(c)3 non-profit per your IRS determination letter.
5. The organization must be a regional arts organization. Local chapters of state or national organizations are only eligible to apply if they are administratively independent or receive little or no funding from their parent group.
6. The organization cannot have an annual organizational budget over $166,000.
7. Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grantees are not eligible for this funding

This grant program is not intended to fund any specific arts projects or events.

Not Funded:

- Applications that do not have an arts and/or culture related focus.
- Applicants not located in or grant activities that do not take place in Region 7E or for activities that would relocate the applicant outside of Region 7E or Minnesota.
- Any travel outside of Minnesota.
- Activities of a for-profit project, organization, or business or from other direct recipients of the Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund.
- Requests for new building construction, purchase of real property, or endowment funds.
- Fundraising events.
- Administrative staffing or contract employee expenses.
- Organizations that are not open to the entire public or are not ADA accessible.
- Religious organizations or projects that are for the religious socialization of participants or audience.
- Activities that engage in political lobbying or intend to influence public policy.
- Projects when artists are required to pay excessive entry or exhibition fees in order to exhibit or perform at the organization seeking funds.
- Organizations that will not use the proper ECRAC funding credit line (in a legible font) and that don’t use both the ECRAC logo and the ACHF Clean Water Land and Legacy logo, as required. Also, projects that will not take responsibility for their own publicity, media coverage, and public relations, or won’t provide timely promotion.
- Projects that try and substitute traditional sources of funding with an ACHF grant. The Minnesota Constitution requires that arts and cultural heritage fund dollars must be used to supplement not substitute for traditional sources of funding. All recipients of ACHF dollars must ensure that they are in compliance with this constitutional requirement.
- Projects unwilling to track and report costs appropriately. ACHF grant dollars must not be spent on administrative costs, indirect costs, or other institutional overhead charges that are not directly related to and necessary for the specific projects or activities that will be funded with Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund dollars. If awarded Arts and Cultural Heritage Funds, a grantee must track and be able to clearly document what portion of ACHF funds is spent on direct program or project costs and what portion of ACHF funds is spent on administrative costs, indirect, or overhead costs that are “directly related to and necessary” to carry out the programs or projects that are supported with ACHF dollars. In order to ensure this, ECRAC requires that proof of all grant related costs are submitted with the final report.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Grant Info Sessions will be held on the following dates:

- Wed, December 12, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Isanti County Historical Society, 33525 Flanders St NE in Cambridge, MN
- Wed, December 19, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
Princeton Community Library, 100 4th Ave S, Princeton, MN
- Thu, December 20, 5:30pm – 7:30pm
North Branch Area Library, 6355 379th St, North Branch, MN

Grant Info Workshops for Nonprofits will be held on the following dates:

- Thu, January 17, 2019, 10:00am – 11:30am
East Central Regional Arts Council, 112 Main Ave S, Braham, MN
- Tue, February 12, 2019, 5:30pm – 7:00pm
East Central Regional Arts Council, 112 Main Ave S, Braham, MN

To register, please call the East Central Regional Arts Council office at (320) 396-2337 x 1, or email

Pre-Application Information:

The grant application materials will be posted the first week in February for a March 1, 2019 deadline. Completed applications must be submitted online before 11:59 p.m. on the deadline date. You cannot submit any grant application materials by mail, in person, or by email.

When you submit an application, please be aware that it will take about a month and a half before a final decision is reached.

The scheduled grant deadline dates for FY 2018 and 2019 are as follows:

Technical Assistance Deadline: February 15, 2019
Grant Application Deadline: March 1, 2019
Grant Start Date: July 1, 2019
Grant End Date: June 30, 2020

If a deadline date falls on a weekend or holiday, the deadline will be 11:59 p.m. on the next working day.

Technical assistance is guaranteed if you contact ECRAC staff before the technical assistance deadline. After that date, assistance will be offered based on staff availability.

Applicants should attend an ECRAC Grant Workshop Information Session annually. This is not currently a grant requirement, but it is strongly recommended by ECRAC. (See Pre-Proposal Conference above.)

An organization may be awarded a General Operating Support grant and still be eligible to apply for and receive funding from other ECRAC project grant programs, as appropriate.

Only one General Operating Support grant is available to organizations annually and the grant is approved for an ECRAC fiscal year (July 1 to June 30).

The grant program will not fund requests from applicants that contact ECRAC members/panelists regarding the proposal before final grant approval.

Contact the ECRAC office via the ECRAC phone number or email address to determine the availability of funding and which of the grant areas your proposal fits into. You may also contact the ECRAC Executive Director via email or phone.

For online application information:

ECRAC Calendar:

To view the Grant Portal Tutorial:

Contact Information:

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

Online application portal:

For questions:

Mary Minnick-Daniels, Executive Director
(320)396-2337 x 3

Katina Eklund, Grant Program Officer

112 Main Avenue South
PO Box 294
Braham, MN 55006
Phone: (320) 396-2337

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Minnesota: Chisago, Isanti, Kanabec, Mille Lacs, and Pine Counties