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Arts Service Organizations: Operating

Grants to Ontario Arts Nonprofits Providing
Support Services to Artists and Arts Organizations

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Ontario Arts Council (OAC)

Deadline Date:

03/01/18 1:00 PM ET


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Grants to Ontario nonprofit arts service organizations to support ongoing operations. First-time applicants must contact program staff prior to applying. Qualifying arts service organizations may have a regional, local, provincial, or national mandate. There are five categories:

-National Arts Service Organizations
-Provincial Arts Service Organizations
-Regional Arts Service Organizations
-Local Arts Service Organizations
-Community Arts Councils

The program's priorities are to support organizations that demonstrate a consistent commitment to:
-Providing high-quality services to professional artists, arts professionals or arts organizations in Ontario
-Providing services for members who are or who are mandated to support OAC priority groups: artists of color, Deaf Artists and artists with disabilities, Francophone artists, Indigenous artists, new generation artists (18-30 year old), and artists living in regions outside Toronto

Arts services include:
-Professional development
-Support for building capacity
-Raising public awareness for the value of the arts
-Advocacy work
-Setting fees and standards
-Dissemination of information about your sector’s or region’s artists and arts organizations
-Providing networking opportunities
-Other services and programs to support professional arts communities

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 153161

Term of Contract:

OAC operating grant programs provide Annual and Multi-Year funding. Applicants to both funding types are assessed by an advisory panel in year one of a three-year funding cycle. In years 2 and 3, applications for multi-year funding are reviewed by the program officer. Applications for Annual operating grants are assessed each year by an advisory panel.

An arts organization that received a multi-year grant will be invited to apply for multi-year funding at the next application deadline. An arts organization receiving annual funding may be invited to apply for multi-year funding at the next Year One deadline if their grant was not reduced as a result of assessment in the previous year.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible applicants are Ontario-based, not-for-profit corporations, or national not-for-profit corporations with the head office in Ontario.

Organizations must have:
-At least $75,000 in total revenues for the last fiscal year, and in projected revenues for the current and requested years (for applicants not currently receiving funding from this program)
-At least two years of sustained, regular, ongoing programming, as of the application date. If your organization does not meet this requirement, consider applying for project funding
-A range of revenue sources
-An active board of directors/governing body

Arts Service Organizations must:
-Have a primary mandate to provide services to artists and/or arts organizations
-Serve professional artists, arts professionals and/or arts organizations. The arts professionals and arts organizations you serve must be eligible to apply to another OAC program.
-Have at least one (full- or half-time) paid staff member. If your organization does not currently have any paid staff, a written plan proposing how the organization will move toward having paid staff within the next year or two is required.

To apply for operating support your organization must:
-Be led by professional personnel
-Have completed at least two years of sustained, regular, ongoing programming in its community as of the application date. (An organization that does not meet this requirement may instead apply for project funding.)
-Have a range of revenue sources such as private and government
-Be governed by a board of directors or an advisory body solely responsible for the organization
-Have community support and involvement demonstrated through one or more of the following: membership, fundraising and volunteer involvement
-Have proof of sound financial management
-Be registered through the Canadian Arts Database/Données sur les arts au Canada (CADAC)

Ineligible Applicants:
-Non-arts organizations
-Municipalities, colleges and/or universities More about eligibility for OAC’s operating programs

Operating Program Restrictions:
-The OAC will not accept applications to an operating program from: organizations whose reports for previously awarded OAC grants are overdue or incomplete; municipalities, universities or colleges, school boards, First Nations or schools administered by a First Nation or an Indigenous administered school
-Arts organizations are eligible to receive only one OAC operating grant. An organization cannot apply to another OAC operating grant program unless they have been notified that their application was not successful.
-Operating grant recipients are not eligible to apply to a project grant program if their final report for a previous grant is overdue. 
-Operating grant recipients may apply to the Compass and Touring Projects programs, and may be eligible to apply to other project programs. Refer to the project program web pages for details.
-Operating grant recipients may receive a maximum of two project grants in a year. The two-grant limit is based on the date of the application deadline, not on the date the grant payment is received.

Pre-Application Information:

New applicants must contact the program officer to discuss eligibility.

In 2018 this program is in year one of a three-year cycle and is accepting new applicants. 2021 is the next deadline open to new applicants to this program.

Financial and statistical reports must be submitted through Canadian Arts Data / Données sur les arts au Canada (CADAC) before the deadline.

The deadline to apply is March 1, 2018, 1:00 PM ET. Applications are available in Nova, the online grants system, approximately two months before the deadline.

Grant notification will be available in July 2018.

Guide to OAC Operating Programs:

Guide to OAC Assessment:

Nova Online Application User Guide:

Guide to OAC Support Materials:

Support for Deaf Artists and Artists with Disabilities:

Contact Information:

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

Apply online through Nova:

Maura Broadhurst, Associate Officer
Phone: 416-646-7467
Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​1-800-387-0058 ext. 7467

Nina Charest, Program Administrator
Phone: 416-969-7417
Toll-free in Ontario: ​​​​​​​​​​1-800-387-0058 ext. 7417

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

Canada: Ontario