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Operating Support Grants

Grants to Minnesota Arts Nonprofits for
Ongoing Programs, Services, and Facilities

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Southwest Minnesota Arts Council (SMAC)

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

10/16/19 4:30 PM


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Grants to Minnesota established and financially stable nonprofit arts organizations for ongoing programs, services, and facilities. A pre-application is required prior to submission of a full application. Nonprofits must be located in Big Stone, Chippewa, Cottonwood, Jackson, Kandiyohi, Lac qui Parle, Lincoln, Lyon, McLeod, Meeker, Murray, Nobles, Pipestone, Redwood, Renville, Rock, Swift and Yellow Medicine Counties.

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, rather than specific projects. Operating Support funding enables qualifying organizations to maintain their ongoing programs, services, and facilities without special emphasis on new initiatives as justification for funding.

There are two levels of grants available:

Level One: Organizations with average annual expenses (excluding major equipment, building or facilities improvement projects) under $25,000 may request up to 35% for year one and 35% for year two.

Level Two: Organizations with average annual expenses of $25,000 to $165,999 may request up to 15% for year one and 15% for year two.

Nonprofits may not include operating expenses (administrative overhead) in other SMAC grant program budgets if applying for this grant.

This grant is not intended for specific projects or new initiatives.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 159271

Estimated Size of Grant:

Operating Support Grants are two-year awards based on the average eligible expenses of your organization over the past two fiscal years as verified by your pre-application Financial Statement form. Capital expenses such as major equipment purchases and facilities improvement projects, previous SMAC Operating Support grants, and any fiscal agent pass-through monies are excluded from your average eligible expenses. The Financial Statement form will help you calculate this (available on the SMAC website and within the grant application).

Level One: Organizations with average eligible annual expenses under $25,000 may request up to 35% of that average for year one and 35% for year two.

Level Two: Organizations with average eligible annual expenses of $25,000 to $173,999 may request up to 15% of that average for year one and 15% for year two.

For both levels, a competitive grant round may result in awards less than the requested amount.

Term of Contract:

Grants are for two year periods. The earliest project start date is January 1, 2020. The start date for a SMAC operating support grant is the beginning of the applicant organization’s next fiscal year. The project end date is two years after the start date or June 30, 2022, whichever comes first.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Organizations are eligible to apply if:
- The organization is located in and serves the people in the SMAC service area.
- The organization's purpose and mission statement is focused clearly and solely on the arts
- The organization has produced or sponsored arts projects, events, or opportunities for the public during each of the past three years
- The organization is a non-profit, tax-exempt arts organization with Articles of Incorporation on file with the State of Minnesota and documented 501(c)3 tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service for a minimum of three years
- Total annual expenses are less than $174,000

For ineligible applicants and projects, please see:

Organizations that qualify for Minnesota State Arts Board operating support funds are not eligible for this program.

In addition to the restrictions listed in SMAC’s general grant guidelines, following organizations and uses of funds are not eligible for Operating Support grants:
- Organizations receiving funding from the McKnight Foundation in the form of any operational support grant
- Organizations that are eligible to receive funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board in the form of any operational support grant. (In fiscal year 2020 arts organizations with two-year averaged annual expenses of $174,000 or over are eligible to apply for a Minnesota State Arts Board Operating Support grant.)
- SMAC operating support funds used as a match for other SMAC grants
- SMAC operating support grant recipients including pro-rated general operating costs in the budget for any other SMAC grant request covering the same time period as the operating support grant
- Activities that are primarily educational projects within a school system.
- Projects where artists are required to pay excessive entry or exhibition fees in order to exhibit or perform in the project for which funds are sought.

Pre-Application Information:

- Pre-Application Deadline: September 18, 2019. (Pre-applications must be emailed to SMAC staff.)
- Application Deadline: October 16, 2019
- Panel Review: November 9, 2019
- Board Action: November 26, 2019
- Earliest project start date: January 1, 2020

Pre-applications are required to determine request amounts for full applications.

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

Organizations may not include operating expenses (administrative overhead) in other SMAC grant program budgets if applying for this grant.

Video Tutorial for Online Grant System:
Additional Materials:

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:

SMAC staff

Caroline Koska, Financial & 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

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