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Arts Challenge Grant/General Operating Support Grants

Grants to South Carolina Nonprofit and Governmental
Arts Organizations for General Operating Support

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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South Dakota Arts Council (SDAC)

Deadline Date:

03/01/18 12:00 PM (Midnight) CT


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Grants to South Carolina nonprofit and governmental arts organizations to support general operations. The purpose of this program is to offer a base of support to qualifying organizations that present a season of arts activities in any discipline. Programming supported through this grant must serve the general public or meet the specific needs of the applicant organization.

Grant Categories:
-Category #1: Organizations with annual budgets of $120,000 or more
-Category #2: Organizations with annual budgets between $20,000 and $119,999

Grant guidelines for each category are the same. Each applicant’s category will be determined by the size of the organization’s actual cash operating expenses from its most recently completed fiscal year as documented by the organization’s year-end budget information. Applicants with cash operating expenses of $120,000 or greater will apply in Category #1; applicants with cash operating expenses from $20,000 to $119,999 will apply in Category #2. Each category will be reviewed by a separate Multi-Disciplinary panel whose makeup will reflect the various artistic disciplines of the applicants.

The funding category is designed to
-Create and sustain partnerships with South Dakota arts organizations that share the public values and support the long range goals of the South Dakota Arts Council.
-Sustain arts organizations by offering general operating support.
-Recognize and assist arts programming and services that contribute to the quality of life in the applicant’s community or region.
-Reward arts organizations that produce creative and innovative arts activities.
-Encourage long range planning efforts of nonprofit arts organizations.

Criteria for Awarding Grants:

Applications are reviewed by arts discipline panels and SDAC with consideration given to:
-Complete description of the organization’s history, background and purpose, and specific programs and services an SDAC grant will support.
-How the applicant’s programs and services impact the arts and quality of life in the applicant’s community or region.
-Organizational and fiscal management as demonstrated by a fiscal year-end financial statement with diversified income from both private and public sources and a realistic operating budget for the current fiscal year
-Evidence of quality long range planning by the organization.
-Quality within the art form(s) as demonstrated by artistic and/or other supplementary documentation.

Panels will also consider the applicant’s demonstrated ability to assist the SD Arts Council in achieving its long range goals to:
-Increase public awareness and support of the arts.
-Advance the arts as essential to learning.
-Raise the standards for access and inclusion in the arts.
-Support artists through inclusive programs and networks.
-Strengthen arts organizations as partners in education, community, and economic development.
-Position the arts as essential to South Dakota Tourism.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 171283

Estimated Size of Grant:

Applicants may request up to 10% of their total eligible cash operating expenses from the most recently completed fiscal year as verified on the financial statement submitted with the application. Due to SDAC’s budgetary limitations and the competitive application process, grant awards may be less than the applicant’s request.

Term of Contract:

Arts Challenge Grants will be awarded on an annual basis for a 2 year period (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019, and July 1, 2019 through June 30, 2020.); therefore, funded organizations will not apply again until January 2018 for the upcoming 2 fiscal years.

Although Challenge Grants are awarded for a 2-year period, applicants should base their requests on a single fiscal year. Pending federal and state appropriations, Arts Challenge grant recipients will receive the same award each year of the 2-year grant cycle. Should appropriations be increased, reduced or eliminated, second-year grant awards may reflect such action.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Arts Challenge Grants may be awarded to organizations, including local arts councils:
-Whose legal address is South Dakota.
-That have existed for a minimum of 4 years.
-That have their own board of directors.
-Whose annual operating budget is at least $20,000.
-That are designated as federally tax-exempt under the IRS Section 501(c)(3) or are permanently under the auspices of a qualified nonprofit organization [see more below], or are units of government.
-Whose mission statements clearly identify themselves as ARTS organizations.
-Whose seasons include a series of at least 4 arts activities open to the general public.

Organizations that for logical reasons share a tax ID number with another nonprofit organization are eligible to apply for an Arts Challenge Grant provided that:
-The relationship between the organizations is real and not contrived merely for the purpose of each writing a separate grant proposal. [Appropriate examples include but are not limited to (1) an organization that functions independently but has a legal working relationship with a parent company whose tax number it shares; (2) a consortium of separate organizations each with its own board of directors which for fiscal purposes share the same tax number.]
-The financial records relating to any and all SDAC grant activities are separately maintained and demonstrate each organization’s autonomous, financially independent status.

Arts organizations unable to meet all of the above criteria should consider applying for a Project Grant even if they are seeking funds for more than one activity. Organizations that do qualify for an Arts Challenge Grant may elect to apply for a Project Grant in support of one particularly innovative or creative project rather than apply for a Challenge Grant to support an entire season. No organization, however, may receive both a Challenge Grant and a Project Grant. If you are unsure about which grant to apply for, contact the South Dakota Arts Council office. The staff will be glad to assist you with your grant proposal.


Organizations that do not meet the nonprofit eligibility standards outlined above are ineligible to apply.

Schools, colleges, universities, and historical museums are not eligible to apply for Arts Challenge Grants; however, these institutions or departments within them are eligible to apply for Project Grants in support of appropriate arts programming.

Arts Challenge Grant recipients are ineligible to apply for Project Grants.

Pre-Application Information:

The deadline for Arts Challenge Grant applications will be March 1st of even-numbered years.

The next grant application will be available January 1 through March 1, 2018.

Applications must be submitted online using the Council’s e-grant system no later than 12:00 midnight Central Time.


Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Department of Tourism
711 E Wells Ave
Pierre, SD 57501

P: 800-952-3625
F: 605-773-5977

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: South Dakota