Find Nonprofit and Small Business Grants

Advance Search

Only Available for Paid Subscribers
Clear Filters
Search Filters

Arts Build Communities (ABC) Grant Program

Grants to Tennessee Nonprofits, Agencies, Schools,
and Libraries for Community Arts Activities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

Add to My Calendar 

Tennessee Arts Commission

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

07/01/19 11:59 PM CT


Request a Grant Writer

Grants ranging from $500 to $2,500 to Tennessee nonprofit organizations, government agencies, schools, and libraries to support a broad range of arts projects. The goal of this program is to expand access to arts opportunities, improve community quality of life through arts initiatives, or strengthen asset-based cultural enterprises.

ABC funds may be used to:
-Provide innovative arts experiences that are new or unfamiliar to community residents
-Offer arts programs that are designed to help affect positive change in community social issues
-Develop arts programming that strengthens social networks through community engagement
-Undertake cultural arts initiatives that enhance a community’s identity and/or economic development
-Offer training that helps experienced or emerging artists/arts administrators develop entrepreneurial skills or innovative strategies for building sustainability.

The Commission offers the ABC program through a decentralized decision-making and distribution process in partnership with regional designated agencies. Through ABC, the Commission seeks to build communities by nurturing artists, arts organizations (including local arts agencies), and arts supporters in each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.

Appropriate Activities:

The following are examples of activities and expenditures that are consistent with the funding philosophy for ABC:
-Projects that involve and promote Tennessee artists
-Visiting artists conducting master classes
-Festival coordination and programming
-Public performances, productions and exhibitions produced by the applicant
-Exhibitions of art by Tennessee artists and artists from outside Tennessee
-Promotion, publicity and newsletters
-Administrative and artistic staff support
-Research and documentation as part of a project or program development
-Touring projects that bring professional performers to communities across the state
-Improved program accessibility for underserved constituencies, such as at-risk youth, economically disadvantaged individuals, people living in rural communities or isolated settings, people with disabilities, people of color and senior citizens
-Art in public places
-Extensions of literary projects, journals with continuing publication or juried anthologies
-Apprenticeship programs
-Computer software/training that builds or enhances creative workforce skills
-Technical/production support

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180772

Estimated Size of Grant:

Awards range from $500 to $2,500.

Term of Contract:

The proposed project must take place and grants funds must be used between August 16, 2019 and June 15, 2020.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligibility Requirements:

Any organization awarded Major Cultural Institution, Cultural Education Partnership or Partnership Support funding for FY2020 (July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020) is not eligible to apply for an ABC grant.

Financial assistance may be requested by an organization for arts activities if it meets all applicable requirements described in these guidelines. Individuals are not eligible to apply for ABC funding.

DUNS Number: All applicants are required to have a DUNS number.

An organization is eligible to apply for funding support of its arts activities if the organization meets one of the following qualifications:

-The organization is a nonprofit organization legally chartered in Tennessee and in possession of a determination letter from the Internal Revenue Service declaring the organization exempt from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Private educational institutions must be a nonprofit and meet these tax-exempt requirements.


-The organization is an entity of government (such as city/county government departments, public libraries, public schools, etc.)

Colleges and universities are eligible only for activities that clearly serve the needs of surrounding communities or the State and are designed to involve a broad audience. Activities that are credit-producing or are oriented primarily to collegiate students and the academic community are not eligible.

Requirements for 501(c)(3) Applicants:

All 501(c)(3) applicants must upload their most recent copy of the organization’s By-laws into their organizational profiles in the Online Grants System.

Nonprofit applicants’ 501(c)(3) statuses will be verified independently prior to being reviewed by a designated agency panel. Any applications from organizations with lapsed or unconfirmed nonprofit determination will be disqualified.

Funding Restrictions:

ABC funds may NOT be used:
-To support a project already funded by the Commission
-For capital improvements (buildings or construction), for equipment purchases or for the elimination of an accumulated deficit. Such expenditures that relate to the proposed project may be used as matching expenses up to $2,500
-As “seed money” for starting new organizations
-For in-school, curriculum-based projects. Projects may target youth as participants and can occur within school facilities outside of regular school hours
-To begin, match, add to or complete any type of endowment campaign or program
-For out-of-state travel expenses

Please note:
-All events sponsored in part or entirely with ABC funds must be open to the general public
-Applications from colleges or universities or other institutions of higher education, whether public or private, must emphasize non-academic community involvement in the planning and implementation of the project

Inappropriate Activities:

The following are examples of activities and expenditures not fundable through ABC:
-Insurance premiums
-Office space rental
-Janitorial service and general physical plant maintenance
-Food and hospitality
-Permanent equipment purchases
-Payment of accumulated deficits
-Capital improvements
-New periodicals, books, etc. (such as vanity publications)
-Out-of-state travel
-Scholarly arts-related research and writing
-Cash awards
-Purchase of local public art
-Legal fees
-Planned fundraising events
-Events to which the general public is not invited
-Payments to members of the organization’s board
-Consultant fees for technical assistance

Pre-Application Information:

ABC requires at least a one-to-one (1:1) dollar match. “One-to-one dollar match” means the applicant must cover at least half the cost of a project or program through other income sources. Matching funds may be listed in multiple expense categories.

Designated agencies are trained to assist ABC applicants with identifying eligible activities, providing feedback on draft applications, administering local grant review panels, and helping grant recipients track the success of funded activities. Prior to submitting an application, qualifying organizations are encouraged to discuss the program or project proposal with your designated agency representative.

Applications must be submitted online by Monday, July 1, 2019 , by 11:59 p.m. (CST). Applications can be accessed beginning at 8:00 a.m. (CT) on April 1, 2019 through the Commission’s Online Grants System. Applicants accessing the new Online Grants System for the first time must register their organizations and create an organizational profile.

To identify the appropriate designated agency, look for the applicant’s home county by clicking here:

Before applying for a grant, all applicants are responsible for reading the Legal Requirements for Tennessee Arts Commission funding:

Scoring Rubric:

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

If you need help, please contact:

Shannon Ford, Director of Community Arts Development
(615) 532-9796

You may also contact one of the designated agencies:

Contact: Rodney Van Valkenburg
301 E. 11th St., #300, Chattanooga, TN 37403
Phone: (423) 777-4214
County Served: Hamilton

Arts and Culture Alliance of Greater Knoxville
Contact: Suzanne Cada
PO Box 2506, Knoxville, TN 37901-2506
Phone: (865) 523-7543
Counties Served: Anderson, Blount, Campbell, Knox, Loudon, Monroe, Morgan, Roane, Scott, Sevier, Union

Contact: Colleen McCartney
575 South Mendenhall, Memphis TN 38117-4215
Phone: (901) 341-0407
Counties Served: Fayette, Lauderdale, Shelby, Tipton

Clarksville Arts & Heritage Development Council
Contact: Ellen Kanervo
PO Box 555, 200 South Second Street
Clarksville, TN 37041-0555
Phone: (931) 551-8870
Counties Served: Cheatham, Dickson, Houston, Humphreys, Montgomery, Robertson, Stewart

First Tennessee Development District
Contact: Mark Stevans
First Tennessee Development District
3211 N. Roan Street, Johnson City, TN 37601
Phone: (423) 928-0224
Counties Served: Carter, Greene, Hancock, Hawkins, Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, Washington

Greater Nashville Regional Council
Contact: Rasheedah Pardue
501 Union St., Floor 6, Nashville, TN 37219-1705
Phone: 615-891-5868, x. 246
Counties Served: Rutherford, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, Wilson

Jackson Arts Council
Contact: Melinda Hearn Reid
314 East Main St., Jackson, TN 38301-6226
Phone: (731) 423-2787
Counties Served: Chester, Decatur, Hardeman, Hardin, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, McNairy

Metro Nashville Arts Commission
Contact: Ian Myers
P.O. Box 106300, Nashville, TN 37219-6300
Phone: (615) 862-6744
County Served: Davidson

Northwest Tennessee Development District
Contact: Tim Belton
124 Weldon Drive, Martin, TN 38237
Phone: 731-587-4213
Counties Served: Benton, Carroll, Crockett, Dyer, Gibson, Henry, Lake, Obion, Weakley

Rose Center
Contact: Candy Durman
PO Box 1976, 442 West Second North Street, Morristown, TN 37816-1976
Phone: (423) 581-4330
Counties Served: Claiborne, Cocke, Grainger, Hamblen, Jefferson

South Central Tennessee Development District
Contact: Sarah Elizabeth McLeod
101 Sam Watkins Blvd., Mt. Pleasant, TN 38474-4024
Phone: (931) 797-0520
Counties Served: Bedford, Coffee, Franklin, Giles, Hickman, Lawrence, Lewis, Lincoln, Marshall, Maury, Moore, Perry, Wayne

Southeast Tennessee Development District
Contact: Melissa Mortimer
1000 Riverfront Parkway, Chattanooga, TN 37405-2103
Phone: (423) 423-4266
Counties Served: Bledsoe, Bradley, Grundy, Marion, McMinn, Meigs, Polk, Rhea, Sequatchie

Upper Cumberland Development District
Contact: Tasha Schwenn
1225 South Willow Ave., Cookeville, TN 38506-4158
Phone: (931) 476-4168
Counties Served: Cannon, Clay, Cumberland, DeKalb, Fentress, Jackson, Macon, Overton, Pickett, Putnam, Smith, Van Buren, Warren, White

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Tennessee