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Grassroots Arts Program Subgrants

Grants to North Carolina County and Regional Arts
Nonprofits for Diverse Cultural Programming

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North Carolina Arts Council

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Grants to North Carolina nonprofit arts organizations to develop diverse cultural arts programming. Funding priority is given to arts organizations (theaters, galleries, choral societies, festivals), arts in education programming conducted by qualified artists, and other community activities, including concerts, dance productions, Native American powwows, art classes, and African drumming circles. The Grassroots Arts Program (GAP) provides per capita-based funding for arts programming to all 100 counties across North Carolina.

Grassroots funds are distributed through the following types of partnerships:
- Designated County Partners: In most counties, local arts councils have been nominated by their county governments and approved by the N.C. Arts Council as Designated County Partners (DCPs) to manage Grassroots Funds.
- Provisional County Partners: In counties without DCPs, the N.C. Arts Council has selected an organization to serve as the Provisional County Partner (PCP) to oversee the distribution and management of Grassroots funds on a temporary (year-to-year) basis. Some PCPs subgrant Grassroots funds, and others conduct arts programs with their county’s allocation. PCPs are allowed to use up to 20% of the grassroots allocation for operating support.
- Regional Arts Partners: Regional Arts Partners manage the distribution of Grassroots Arts Program funds in multiple counties. These organizations are established arts councils that collaborate with neighboring counties to program, administer, and manage grassroots funds. Often the Regional Arts Partners collaborate with the school systems, community colleges, or local municipalities in their partnering counties. DCPs are invited by Arts Council staff to apply as a Regional Arts Partner.

Local arts councils are also eligible to apply for funds to support artists in their communities.

To ensure that Grassroots arts programs reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of North Carolina, each DCP is required to spend a representative percentage of its annual county allotment on programs that reflect the diverse cultures (specifically African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American) of its county’s population.

The first priority of the Grassroots Arts subgrant program is to provide operating or program support to qualified arts organizations not already receiving or eligible to receive support from the N.C. Arts Council. These include theaters, symphonies, galleries, art guilds, choral societies, dance companies, folk arts societies, writers’ groups and arts festivals, among others.

The second priority of the Grassroots Arts subgrant program is to support arts learning and arts in education programs conducted by qualified artists. These can be artist residencies in schools, afterschool or summer camps or adult arts learning classes.

The third priority of Grassroots Arts subgrants is to community, civic and municipal organizations. These programs must be conducted by qualified artists.

Typical uses of Grassroots money include:
-Program expenses such as artists’ fees and travel, space rental, advertising, marketing and publicity, website and electronic media, scripts, costumes, sets, props, music and equipment rental.
-Operating expenses such as salaries, telephone, office supplies, printing, postage, rent, utilities, insurance and equipment rental.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 145360

Estimated Size of Grant:

DCPs serving as Regional Arts Partners receive grants ranging from $5,000 to $15,000, depending on the scope and quality of services offered and the number of counties served.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility for Subgrants:

Organizations must have been in operation for at least one year. While nonprofit 501(c)(3) status is preferred, organizations that are nonprofit in nature may also receive Grassroots Arts Program subgrants.

Designated County Partners:
- Provide support for quality programming in the performing, visual, literary and traditional arts. Programming choices are responsive to community needs and demonstrate improvement and innovation. Programming choices also engage constituents across geographic, cultural, social and economic strata.
- Foster collaborative relationships with and provide services and support for county arts organizations and arts resources.
- Support individual artists in the county through services and opportunities including appropriately compensating artists for services. Promote and participate in the Regional Artists Project Grant program.
- Conduct or support arts in education programs led by qualified artists for pre-K-12 students. A DCP shows commitment to comprehensive arts education opportunities for county’s youth.
- Demonstrate a commitment to racial and cultural equity in programming, board representation, governance, and administrative practices.
- Demonstrate stability and fiscal responsibility through effective board and staff leadership, sound administrative practices and strategic planning. If staffed, arts councils must provide appropriate salaries and benefits.
- Track economic impact and actively participates in county tourism and economic development efforts.
- Maintain a history of managing the Grassroots grant responsibly and according to requirements, including meeting the deadlines for applications, fulfilling the subgranting and multicultural requirements and completing final reports.

DCPs may use up to 50 percent of their grant funds for general operating support; the remaining 50 percent must be used for arts programming as follows:
- DCPs with county populations above 50,000 are required to subgrant at least 50 percent of their allocations to other organizations to conduct arts programs.
- DCPs with county populations below 50,000 must use 50 percent of their funds for arts programs that they conduct or for grants to other organizations to conduct arts programs.

Responsibilities of Regional Arts partners include: 1) preparing or overseeing preparation and submission of each partner county’s Grassroots application by the deadline; 2) preparing or overseeing preparation and submission of each partner county’s Grassroots final report by the deadline; 3) developing a plan to meet the GAP multicultural requirement for each partner county; and 4) ascertaining that partner organizations are in compliance with N.C. Arts Council, state, and federal reporting requirements.

Individuals are not eligible to apply for Grassroots Arts funds.

Additional Funding Policies
-Tribal organizations that receive grassroots funds must represent state or federally recognized tribes.
-Colleges, universities and libraries may receive grants for arts programs that are community based or generate regional arts involvement. Grants may not support their internal programs, administration or operation expenses (library books, band boosters, equipment purchases).
-Subgrants may not be awarded to individuals or to organizations for prizes, competitions, tuition, or financial rewards.
-Religious organizations or churches may not receive grassroots funds unless the programs are presented outside regular church services, engage the larger community, and do not contain religious content.
-Grassroots funds may not be used for activities associated with a school’s internal arts programs such as in-school student performances, the purchase of art supplies, or student arts competitions and publications.
-Municipalities (City/County governments) may receive grants for arts programs that use qualified artists to conduct programs that involve the greater community. Grants may not support internal programs, administration or operating expenses.

Not Funded:
- Art, music, and dance therapists
- Artifacts
- Purchase artwork
- Purchase equipment or art supplies
- Capital expenditures or equipment
- Contingency funds
- Deficit reduction
- Fundraising events
- Food or beverages for hospitality or entertainment functions
- School band activities or equipment
- School choral activities
- Lobbying expenses
- Oral history and history projects
- Tuition for academic study
- Interest on loans, fines, or litigation costs

Grassroots funds are not generally awarded to arts organizations that receive funding through the Arts Council’s State Arts Resources (SAR) Program. SAR organizations must receive prior approval from Arts Council staff before applying for Grassroots funds.

Grassroots funds may not be used for activities associated with a school’s internal arts programs such as in-school student performances, the purchase of art supplies, or student arts competitions and publications.

Pre-Application Information:

Subgrantees are encouraged to match their grant amounts dollar for dollar. The funds must come from other public or private sources. Other N.C. Arts Council funds cannot be used as a match. For DCPs serving as Regional Arts Partners, a one-to-one match is encouraged but not required.

DCPs submit a full application for Grassroots funds every three years. In the off years of the three-year cycle, DCPs submit an update application. Provisional County Partners and Regional Arts Partners must submit an application annually.

The 2019-20 deadline is Friday, March 1, 2019. Applicants will submit the form electronically through the application portal.



Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

Leigh Ann Wilder
Creative Economies Director
(919) 814-6508

North Carolina Arts Council
213 North Main St.
Roxboro, NC 27573

Staff directory:

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Geographic Focus:

USA: North Carolina