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Operating Grant

Grants to Mississippi Nonprofit Arts
Organizations for Organizational Support

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Mississippi Arts Commission (MAC)

Deadline Date:

03/08/21 11:59 PM


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Grants to Mississippi nonprofit organizations and community arts agencies for organizational support. Funding is intended to help enable these organizations to improve and expand their programming and increase their operational capacities. Funding may be used for a broad range of general operating expenses in the program areas of folk and traditional arts, arts industry, and arts based community development.

Operating Grants are specifically available for arts focused institutions as these organizations are crucial partners with MAC in providing increased access to the arts in Mississippi. Operating grants serve as a way to assist these core organizations maintain their financial stability, build their organizational capacity, improve their artist programs, and broaden their programs throughout the community. Eligible organizations should have the arts as their primary focus and mission. 

For further information about each of the eligible program areas, see the URL for Full Text below.

Operating Grants can support a wide range of expenses. Funds can be used by arts focused organizations to support any of their general operating expenses, including salaries, marketing, rent, insurance, or artistic fees.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163595

Estimated Size of Grant:

The amount an organization is eligible to apply for is based on its previous year’s total income:

- Volunteer-run organizations: 25% of last completed fiscal year’s income, not to exceed $7,500.
- Staffed organization with an annual budget of at least $30,000: 25% of the last completed fiscal year’s income, not to exceed $20,000.
- Staffed organization with an annual budget of more than $250,000: up to 10% of the actual cash revenue for operating expenses of the last completed fiscal year, not to exceed $30,000.

Statewide arts service organizations that have missions compatible with one of MAC’s four program areas may apply for up to $15,000 through the Operating Grant program.

Term of Contract:

MAC allows veteran Operating grantees to apply for two-year Operating Grants. This is open to Organizations who score high during their two year panel and have successfully previously completed a one-year MAC Operating Grant. Grant review panels must make a recommendation for two-year funding and this recommendation must also be approved by MAC’s Commissioners. Two-year Operating Grant funds are given on a year-to-year basis.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

A Mississippi-based arts organization may apply for an Operating Grant if it has been incorporated in the state of Mississippi as a nonprofit organization with tax-exempt status under section 501(c)3 of the IRS code for at least two years and:

- Has a mission and ongoing activities that are focused on arts development and presents performances, exhibitions, arts education programs, or other arts services to the public as its primary function;
- Has a governing board empowered to form policies and execute programs;
- Demonstrates a close working relationship with local government agencies, artists, schools, and community organizations;
- Has a board-adopted, basic long-range plan that shows how the organization intends to grow artistically, manage for the future, and serve the community;
- Reflects the demographics of its community in the planning, implementation and evaluation of its programs;
- Demonstrates ongoing fiscal responsibility by maintaining financial records that meet generally accepted accounting principles;
- Is not receiving operating funds from another line of the Mississippi state government’s budget; and
- Is not primarily educational and does not award academic credit.

Local arts agencies applying for an Operating Grant in the Arts Based Community Development program area must provide at least two of the following services:
- Arts-based community development programs for local residents;
- Re-granting and services to local artists or arts organizations;
- Serves as a source of information on local cultural events, activities, and programs;
- Facility management (such as a gallery or performance center) services;
- Arts education;
- Advocacy for the arts;
- Arts presenting or
- Arts instruction.

Major divisions of nonprofit organizations that are engaged solely in arts activities and meet the requirements are also eligible to apply. However, branches or divisions within eligible arts organizations may not apply.

Statewide arts service organizations that have missions compatible with one of MAC’s four program areas may apply. The organization may be staffed or volunteer. See the URL for Full Text below for MAC's definition of a statewide arts service organization.

To apply as a staffed agency, the applicant organization must have at least one full-time, year-round paid professional staff person working for the organization at the time that the application is submitted.

For ineligible expenditures, see the FAQs page listed in Pre-Application Information below.

Pre-Application Information:


- March 8: Operating Grant application deadline.
- April: Review of applications by the grant panel. (The specific panel date will be available by late March.)
- June: MAC Board meets and makes final funding decisions on all applications.
- July: Applicants are notified whether their application was funded or not.

Online applications will only be accepted beginning on February 1. To be considered for funding, applications must be submitted and authorized by 11:59 p.m. on March 1.

A DUNS number is required to apply for this grant.

First-time applicants to the Operating Grant Program are strongly encouraged to contact MAC Program Staff about the viability of this type of grant for their organization before submitting an application.

Applicants must request a review of their application by contacting MAC staff at least two weeks ahead of the grant deadline if they require assistance.

Long-Range Strategic Plan: An organization’s ability to develop an effective long-range plan and utilize it to track its performance over time is crucial to achieving long-term success. Therefore, a long-range plan (that covers three to five years) is a required component of MAC’s Operating Grant application. (See

A note to Community Development organizations: MAC traditionally awards Operating Grants to one local arts agency from any given municipality. When two local arts agencies serving the same geographic area apply for Operating Grants in the same year, both of the organizations’ applications should directly address how the work of the two groups complement (and does not replicate) each other.

Operating Grants require a dollar-for-dollar cash match.

Eligible organizations are limited to applying for a Project Grant OR an Operating Grant each fiscal year.


Evaluating projects and programs:

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 more information on applying for an Operating Grant, contact the MAC Program Director who oversees the area most closely tied to your organization’s main goals:

- Arts-Based Community Development, Leslie Barker, 601.359.6529,
- Arts Education, Charlotte Smelser, 601.359.6037,
- Arts Industry, Kristen Brandt, 601.359.6075,
- Folk & Traditional Arts, Maria Zeringue, 601.359.6034,

Mississippi Arts Commission
501 North West Street
Suite 1101A Woolfolk Building
Jackson, Mississippi 39201
(601) 359-6030

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Mississippi

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