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Operating Support Grant

Grants to Virginia Arts Nonprofits in Eligible
Regions to Support General Operations

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

04/14/21 Midnight


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Grants of up to $50,000 to Virginia nonprofit arts organizations in eligible locations to support organizational operations. Funding is intended to assist local organizations and help them develop and maintain their services, programs, and facilities. Eligible applicants are based in Fairfax County, the city of Fairfax, or the city of Falls Church.

ArtsFairfax’s Operating Support program advances the arts in Fairfax County by supporting the goals and objectives of the county’s arts organizations, helping them maintain and develop their programs, services, and facilities. ArtsFairfax embraces the county’s One Fairfax racial and social equity policy, and artists and arts organizations receiving ArtsFairfax grants must intentionally examine their operations, programs and services, and incorporate equity, diversity, access, and inclusion in decision-making, development and deployment of policies, programs, and services.

Operating Support Grants maintain organizational stability as a platform for becoming more resilient, adaptable, and nimble for sustainability, change, and growth. As ArtsFairfax’s largest grant program, Operating Support funds generate recognition for a broad spectrum of the county’s cultural organizations.

Through the Operating Support Grant Program, ArtsFairfax seeks:

  1. To provide support for established and emerging arts organizations;
  2. To encourage wide participation in the arts by expanding exposure to, and incorporating Fairfax County’s diverse voices and traditions in cultural programming that is available to all residents of Fairfax County;
  3. To promote opportunities for a diversity of cultural workers, leaders, individual artists, and arts organizations to create, present, and celebrate their artistic endeavors and traditions;
  4. To be a catalyst for increased resiliency, transformation, and expanded resources to support arts organizations through public funding.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 165364

Estimated Size of Grant:

Operating Support grants range from $1,000 to $50,000.

Term of Contract:

Generally, activities supported by the Operating Support Grant Program grants may be carried out for one year, between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Nonprofit arts organizations based in Fairfax County, the city of Fairfax, or the city of Falls Church are eligible to apply for Operating Support grants.

An organization is eligible to apply to the Operating Support Grant Program if:
1. It has as a core mission the creation, exhibition, presentation, production, or performance of and/or education in an arts discipline, and it operates as a stand-alone nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization with current or pending status.
2. It has regular activity in a minimum of four different months in the year or 120 days of the year.
3. The organization must have an address of record within the geographical boundaries of Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, or the City of Falls Church and satisfy TWO of the following four criteria for at least one year:
a) Present at least 51% of public artistic activities within the geographical boundaries of Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, or the City of FallsChurch.
b) Meet, rehearse, exhibit, and operate within the geographical boundary of Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, or the City of Falls Church.
c) Have 51% of board of directors’ members work or reside in Fairfax County, the
d) Verify that 51% of attendees at performances, exhibits, events, and activities reside in Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, or the City of Falls Church evidenced through acceptable statistical data including but not limited to ticket analysis, subscription data, box office surveys, and audience surveys.
4. An eligible organization must:
a) Be in compliance with all local, state, and federal laws; and
b) If an organization does not hold 501(c)(3) status in its own right, a fiscal sponsor that holds 501(c)(3) status may apply on its behalf. The fiscal sponsor must manage all grant funds and ensure compliance with the terms of the grant if an award is made.
c) An organization must have independently prepared financial statements such as an audit ora treasurer’s report (audit required for organizations with expenses of $600,000 and above).
d) The applicant must have submitted all required final reports for any grants received from ArtsFairfax during the previous fiscal year.

The following are not eligible organizations:
a) Arts divisions, and organizations with an arts program within a larger nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization, are not eligible for Operating Support and can apply only for Project Support grants (not Operating Support, Organizational and Professional Development, or Fast Track grants.)
b) Organizations that receive line-item funding from Fairfax County or the State of Virginia; or
c) Departments of George Mason University, and non-profit organizations and foundations that support county agencies are not eligible for ArtsFairfax grants.

Operating Support Grant Program grants cannot be used for:
a) Fundraising activities, such as capital campaigns or endowment campaigns;
b) Construction or renovation projects;
c) Political advocacy costs;
d) Activities not open to the general public;
e) Debt retirement;
f) Pre-grant Costs;
g) Proselytizing and faith-based activities.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Operating Support Grant Online Information Session Registration
4 March 2021
Noon-1 PM EST
Via Zoom
Register at:

Pre-Application Information:

Key Dates:
- March 4, 2021 at noon: Operating Support Grant Information Session.
- April 14, 2021: Operating Support Grant application deadline.
- May 25-27, 2021: Operating Support Grant panels.
- Late July early August 2021: Operating Support Grant announcement.
- August, 2021: Final reports from organizations awarded FY 2021 Operating Support Grants are due.

Please note: Applications close at midnight on the due date.

For more information, see

Contact Information:

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

Apply at

If you have any questions, call (703) 642-0862, or email

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Virginia: Fairfax County, the City of Fairfax, and the City of Falls Church


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