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TN Military, Veterans and the Arts (TNMVA)

Grants to Tennessee Nonprofits and Agencies for
Arts Activities Serving Military Members and Veterans

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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Tennessee Arts Commission and Tennessee Department of Veteran Services (TDVS)

Deadline Date:

08/21/18 11:59 PM CST


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Grants of up to $10,000 to Tennessee nonprofit organizations and government agencies for arts activities that benefit military members, veterans, and their families. Projects must address at least two of the following outcome areas: health and wellness, engagement, reduced isolation, self-expression, and improved communication.

The Tennessee Arts Commission in partnership with the Tennessee Department of Veteran Services is offering a funding opportunity called TN Military, Veterans & the Arts (TNMVA). The purpose of the initiative is to encourage organizations serving Tennessee’s military members, veterans and their families to use the arts as part of the many ways they achieve their goals and provide services to military audiences, and to encourage arts organizations to engage military audiences in outcomes based activities that enhance Tennessee’s communities.

The TNMVA initiative will provide one-time funding for innovative projects using the arts that support the needs of, or address an opportunity for Tennessee’s military members, as well as veterans or their families and caregivers. Successful projects will engage active-duty troops, reservists, veterans and/or their families through the arts and strive to meet the published outcomes while leveraging the assets from the community in which they exists.

Outcomes include increased direct arts engagement that results in skills building and/or arts learning; using the arts for improved health and wellness; strengthened communication of participants, either verbal or nonverbal; or reduced isolation and increased social and community connections which include increased positive attitudes and perceptions between community and service members, veterans and their families. See details following.

Engaging public and private partners is often critical to the success of TNMVA activities through the arts. To increase the likelihood of success and sustainability, the Commission encourages communities to involve public, private (including nonprofit organizations) and institutional partners in the development of a TNMVA grant proposal. Successful projects should demonstrate partnerships that have the potential for sustainability. Substantive letters of detailing involvement are required of all partners. The “lead” organization listed as the applicant must be 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization or an entity of local government.

Fundable applications should demonstrate the involvement of military service members, veterans, their families, or organizations supporting these communities in the planning and execution of stages of the project.

Outcomes and Project Examples:

Key requirements for successful applicants include the ability to demonstrate a project that addresses a need and/or opportunity; has an effective and clear project design; has the potential for sustainability; uses the arts to connect military members, including reservists, veterans, and their families with the communities in which they live; has volunteers, staff, or other personnel to implement the project; and has the ability to achieve results in two or more of the following outcome areas:

-Engagement – Provides opportunities for direct arts engagement, skills building, and arts learning for military service members (active duty and/or reservists), veterans, and their families. Examples could include active participation in a performance or series of workshops or classes that result in the transfer of knowledge in artistic disciplines including visual arts, woodworking, metalsmithing, or writing. Participation in activities that include skills building.

-Health & Wellness – Promotes interventions through the arts that improve health and well-being outcomes among military service members (active duty and/or reservists), veterans, and their families. Examples include music programs that help improve the cognitive skills of people with memory loss or dance programs which may improve balance and gait in people with conditions that affect motor abilities.

-Self-Expression/Improved Communication of Participants (verbal or nonverbal) – Develops creative expression of military service members (active duty and/or reservists), veterans,  and their families by promoting greater sense of self, and creating opportunities to tell one’s story in different ways, including nonverbal means of expression. Examples include using theatrical training to improve cognitive (problem-solving, word recall, & listening) skills; or fine arts, music, or poetry class/workshops that give participants unique ways of telling their stories, rediscovering their creativity or connecting with their families.

-Reduced isolation and increased social and community connections – Builds a community connection and diminishes feelings of isolation, both by making art in a group setting and also by instigating a public discussion about topics relevant to military service members (active duty and/or reservists), veterans, and their families. Examples include activities that bridge between the military community into the broader community, or using storytelling with peers to increase social and emotional engagement, or a “Military Kid” art show that raises awareness of the “military kid” subculture and its life-long impact on individuals and communities.

The examples attached to each outcome are illustrations and are not intended to represent all of the potential programs that could be developed.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 183957

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $10,000

Term of Contract:

Funded projects must take place between October 15, 2018 and June 15, 2019 under a grant contract with the State of Tennessee, Tennessee Arts Commission.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Eligible “lead” organizations include local and regional government entities and nonprofit organizations legally chartered and headquartered in Tennessee. State agencies are not eligible to apply, but are welcome as partner organizations. See “eligibility requirements” for more details.

Organizations are eligible to apply if the organization meets one of the following qualifications:

-The applicant 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; or

-The organization is an entity of local government or regional governmental entity (development district, human resource agency, etc.).

501(c)(19) and 501(c)(23) organizations that benefit veterans are not eligible to apply as lead applicants. An organization that provides services to past or present members of the United States Armed Forces; an auxiliary unit or society of such post or organization; or other veteran organizations including social welfare organizations, social clubs, fraternal beneficiary societies, and domestic fraternal societies that provide programs described above should and are encouraged to partner with an eligible, “lead” organization.

Colleges and universities are welcome to act as partners in proposals, but are not eligible to serve as lead applicants. Projects should not be insular to the college or university or credit producing.
Only one application per project, per lead organization, will be accepted and partners cannot apply for the same project. All TNMVA grants will be awarded and disbursed to lead applicants only.
Projects should benefit members of the military (active duty and/or reservists), veterans and their families or caregivers.

Unallowable Expenses:

Ineligible project expenses for the TNMVA grant category include any portion of current projects already receiving Commission funding, marketing and promotional materials, and standard funding restrictions (see more details at

Examples of non-fundable projects and/or activities and/or expenses include: currently funded Commission projects that already engage military service members, reservists, veterans and their families; for-profit organizations acting as lead applicants; start-up funding to establish nonprofit status; meals, food, or transportation expenses; capital expenses/equipment; fees for out-of-state artists and performances; travel, hotel, conference, or other related expenses; and other examples as determined by Commission staff.

All proposals, including projects that expand programs and activities already offered by an organization, must demonstrate how the new or augmented activity will benefit military service members, retirees and their families, and the level of participation military service members, including reservists, veterans and their families have had in the development and implementation of the proposed activities. If the project is an expansion of already existing work, the application should clearly demonstrate need, change and impact beyond general operating support.

Projects, programs, or other activities deemed inappropriate by the Commission.

Examples of ineligible projects include:  Currently funded Commission projects that already engage members of the military service members (active duty and/or reservists), veterans, and their families; for-profit organizations; start-up funding to establish nonprofit status; meals, food, or transportation expenses; capital expenses/equipment; fees for out-of-state artists and performances; travel, hotel, conference, or other related expenses; and other examples as determined by Commission staff.

Pre-Application Information:

This grant does not require a financial match. However, applications that demonstrate the commitment to continue the project through sustainable, local funding sources, partnerships and community support may increase the competitiveness of the submission.

Online applications for this grant open June 21, 2018 and will be due by August 21, 2018 at 11:59 PM, CST.

Applications will be available on the Commission’s online grants system. Prior to applying, organizations that have not previously done so must register in the online grants system before filling out an application. Only one application is allowed per organization and/or project.

Grant awards will be announced on or around October 1, 2018.

About the Online Grant System:

Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

Hal Partlow, Commission’s Associate Director for Grants

You may directly contact the program director appropriate to your project:

Literary Arts:
Lee Baird

Performing Arts:
Jared Morrison

Visual Arts:
Krishna Adams

Arts Access:
Kim Johnson

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Tennessee