FUNDING FOR ORGANIZATIONAL PROJECTS
The Project Support program provides flexible funding to help organizations complete short-term projects addressing a wide variety of goals and objectives through two types of project grants: General Project and Creative Economy Project. General Project grants support a broad range of activities, including the routine programming of first-time applicants, one-time special events or initiatives, agency-wide capacity building endeavors, and unforeseen opportunities for new work over and above organizations’ regular programming. More ambitious projects may be funded through a Creative Economy Project grant at either the planning or implementation stage. These highly competitive grants support projects that create jobs and income, revitalize communities or downtowns, and draw cultural tourists. Creative Economy Project grants must leverage the assets of the creative sector—artists, arts and cultural organizations, and arts-related businesses—that are intrinsic to Ohio communities to improve a community’s economic conditions and quality of life.
Applicants to both programs must demonstrate excellent artistic, educational, and cultural value; responsiveness to their community; credible planning and evaluation strategies; and rigorous financial and managerial accountability. Fulfillment of these attributes ensures that funded projects make significant contributions to their communities’ health and vitality in significant ways.
Application Deadline: April 1
View a list of application questions for Project Support-General Projects.
View a list of application questions for Project Support-Creative Economy Projects.
View a list of Project Support FAQs.
WHAT THE PROGRAM SUPPORTS
The Project Support program provides one-year grants in two content areas: General Project and Creative Economy Project. Funds may be used to support a single activity or a suite of related activities that are not already supported through a current OAC grant. Both new applicants and current OAC grantees may be eligible to apply (details below).
Allowable Expenses – General Project
General Project grants may be used for a wide variety of expenses in support of a short-term project, such as:
- Unforeseen opportunities for current operating support grantees (in Sustainability under $1.75 million or Arts Access) for the production of new programming, improved program design, one-time initiatives, or other special situations which allow new activities to advance artistic or community priorities. These applicants must clearly demonstrate that the proposed project is separate from ongoing programming.
- Arts programming presented by organizations that have never received an OAC grant, have not received at least two OAC grants in the past four years, and/or are not currently receiving operating support in the Arts Access or Sustainability programs. Project Support grants enable these organizations to grow and develop their programming while gaining the OAC grant history necessary to become eligible to apply for operating support in the future.
- Capacity building work (for new applicants or current grantees) designed to develop organizational skills in areas such as internal governance, planning, professional development, financial management, resource development, marketing, program development, evaluation and assessment, and information technology.
Creative Economy Project grants must have:
- A systematic approach to cultural development with a persuasive vision for change.
- Clearly defined economic goals and objectives.
- An action plan aligned with the project vision and economic goals.
- A funding plan that is appropriate, feasible, indicates strong community support, and includes a well-conceived long-term sustainability strategy.
- A partnership among at least three stakeholder groups explicitly identified in the application.
Allowable Expenses – Creative Economy Project
Creative Economy Project grants must be used to support long-term economic or community development initiatives through the arts at either the planning or implementation stage:
Planning grants will be awarded to projects that identify, study, or improve economic or community development objectives. This includes planning processes, research, data collection, consultant services or other activities necessary to inform the design of projects that will support the cultural component of the Creative Economy and drive economic development.
A planning grant need not precede an implementation grant, although funded implementation projects will show evidence of thorough planning and clearly defined goals and objectives.
Implementation grants will be awarded to projects that:
- Maximize the economic impact of the arts and cultural industry in a community or region.
- Raise awareness of local cultural products and stimulate increased participation and engagement by residents and visitors.
- Position a community or region as a unique cultural destination to attract new visitors and their spending.
- Build a solid, sustainable infrastructure of arts and cultural organizations and events as a component of a community’s or region’s economic development efforts.
- Improve a community’s or region’s quality of life and educational opportunities through resulting arts and cultural events.
All Creative Economy Project applications must come from dynamic partnerships among at least three stakeholder groups that are prepared to lead the project over time and are explicitly identified in the
application narrative. One of the partners must be a nonprofit arts or cultural organization that is incorporated in Ohio. Other partners may include: nonprofit organizations, for-profit businesses, educational institutions, and state and federal agencies.
For clarification, the primary or lead partner must serve as the main project contact for the OAC and have fiscal responsibility for the grant. A partnering organization is involved in making decisions about the future direction of the project on a regular and ongoing basis.
Priority status will be given to Creative Economy Project grants that are developed in partnership with local and/or regional economic development officials, have a high degree of potential for replication in other parts of the state, and/or support efforts in areas where there are high levels of unemployment.
Successful applicants will be required to distribute, collect and compile results from the OAC Economic Impact Survey.
Both General Project and Creative Economy Project funds may be used for a wide variety of project expenses. Organizations may choose to dedicate funds to artistic or administrative costs. Other allowable expenses include research, marketing, program planning, outside fees, production, and evaluation. Please refer to the Funding Restrictions section of the OAC Guidelines for a list of activities the OAC cannot fund.
There are two types of Project Support grants:
General Project applicants may request up to $5,000. All Project Support grants require a 1:1 match, preferably in cash. In-kind donations may also be used to supplement a match. Funded applicants must document all in-kind donations needed for their match when they complete their final report at the conclusion of the grant period.
Creative Economy Project
Creative Economy Project applicants may request up to $5,000 for planning grants and up to $20,000 for implementation grants. All Project Support grants require a 1:1 match, preferably in cash. In-kind donations may also be used as a match. Funded applicants must document all in-kind donations needed for their match when they complete their final report at the conclusion of the grant period.
WHO MAY APPLY
Eligibility Requirements for General Project Support:
Applicants may be:
- Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations in any discipline (community arts, literature, performing arts, traditional arts, visual arts, etc.); OR
- Other nonprofit organizations that provide arts programming (government entities, social service agencies, etc.); OR
- Educational organizations (colleges, universities, etc.) that demonstrate a commitment to arts programming in a larger community setting.
Eligibility Requirements for Creative Economy Project Support:
Organizations that are eligible for funding include: not-for-profit entities incorporated in Ohio and public sector entities.
- Organizations are eligible to apply for only one Project Support grant per fiscal year.
- Organizations that receive support through the Sustainability (over $1.5 million) program are not eligible to receive support through the General Project category, but may apply for a Creative Economy Project grant.
- Organizations identified as a project partner in a Creative Economy application are not eligible to apply separately for a Project Support award within the same fiscal year.
HOW TO APPLY
Please refer to the Grant Process for Organizations section of the OAC Guidelines for a step-by-step guide to the entire process of applying for and managing an OAC grant.
Applicants are encouraged to contact their regional program coordinator to discuss the program’s grant guidelines and application process. All applications to the Project Support program must be submitted via the OAC’s OnLine Grant Application system (OLGA). No paper applications are accepted. Applicants are strongly encouraged to submit a draft application through OLGA at least 30 days before the final deadline date. To submit a draft, follow the instructions on the final page of the online application.
Applicants must submit their application electronically via OLGA by 5 p.m. on the final deadline date. If the application is not submitted electronically, it will not be accepted. Your organization will be notified via e-mail (sent through OLGA to the primary contact listed in the application) when your application is received. For assistance with OLGA, call 614/728-4449 between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. on weekdays, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
To complete an application for this program, applicants must submit one set of support materials to the OAC. Applications that do not include support materials will not be accepted.
Each OAC grant program has specific support material requirements. To learn which materials are required for this program, as well as other materials that are optional but may strengthen your application, refer to the Support Materials Grid for Organizations of the OAC Guidelines. You may choose to direct panelists to review some support materials online rather than sending them in hard copy form; please refer to the Online Support Material Submission form for further information and submission instructions.
The signature page and support materials must be received in the OAC office by 5 p.m. seven calendar days following the final application deadline date (regardless of postmarked date). If the signature page and support materials do not reach the OAC within this timeframe, the application will not be accepted. Your organization will be notified via e-mail (sent through OLGA to your primary contact person) when your support materials are received.
The timeline below presents a general outline of the grant application process for the Project Support program. Please note that if a deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or state holiday, the deadline will be extended until the next business day.
|Application available in OLGA
|Draft application deadline
|Final application deadline
|Support material deadline
||7 calendar days following the application deadline
|Grant award announcement
|Signed grant agreement deadline
||July 1 - June 30
|Final report deadline
EVALUATION AND SCORING
A panel of reviewers with broad knowledge in the arts, arts education, and community and economic development will evaluate and score Project Support grant applications and support materials. Panel meetings are open to the public and representatives from your organization are encouraged to attend to hear the panel’s comments about your application. Many panel meetings are streamed live on the Internet to make them more accessible to applicants and the general public; contact your program coordinator or visit the Deadlines and Panel Meetings page for details and instructions for participating.
At the panel meeting, an evaluative discussion will take place for each application. Following the discussion, a vote will be taken to determine whether the application advances to the scoring round. If an application moves to the scoring round, it will be given a score based on how well it meets the review criteria. After the panel meeting, this score and the organization’s request will be used to determine the funding award recommendation. Funding recommendations must be approved by the OAC board, the only body authorized to make final funding decisions.
The review process is competitive; not all applications are funded. Applicants not voted into the scoring round will not be funded. A cutoff point in the scores will be determined so that applications below a certain score are not funded.
Applicants will be given a numerical score based on how well their application meets the criteria in the following evaluation categories: 1) Artistic/Educational/Cultural Value; 2) Community Participation and Accessibility; 3) Planning, Evaluation, and Documentation; and 4) Organizational and Financial Management. Evidence of meeting the criteria will be found in the application’s narrative, budget information, support materials, and website. There is a maximum of 100 points across the four categories.
The highest score for this category is 30 points.
Community Participation and Accessibility
- Applicant’s proposed project demonstrates artistic, educational and cultural value for the community being served;
- Applicant’s proposed project aligns with and advances the organization’s mission;
- Applicant’s proposed project involves qualified artistic and educational personnel;
- If applicant participates in K-12 in-school educational programming, that programming must address the new Ohio Fine Arts Academic Content Standards;
- Creative Economy Project: Applicant strengthens the cultural sector in its community or region.
The highest score for this category is 20 points.
Planning and Evaluation
- Applicant understands and is responsive to the needs of the community;
- Applicant has identified and minimized barriers to cultural participation, including but not limited to barriers that prevent participation by people with disabilities;
- Applicant’s relationships within the community strengthen its ability to fulfill its mission;
- Applicant effectively publicizes and promotes its activities to the community it serves;
- Creative Economy Project: Applicant defines strategies to reach a broad and definable audience using a detailed marketing plan.
The highest score for this category is 30 points.
Organizational and Financial Management
- Applicant’s planning process is comprehensive and clearly described with realistic goals;
- Applicant’s evaluation strategies are appropriate for participants and activities;
- Applicant clearly describes the ways in which the project is new to the organization, over and above normal programming, or a one-time only project (if applicable);
- Creative Economy Project: Applicant engages in planning and has developed clearly defined and realistic economic goals;
- Creative Economy Project: Applicant contributes to stated local and/or regional economic development goals;
- Creative Economy Project: Applicant has a detailed evaluation component that includes the measurement of the economic impact of its activities.
The highest score for this category is 20 points.
- Applicant demonstrates the ability to manage resources and other assets appropriately;
- Applicant’s staff, board and/or volunteers are qualified and demonstrate the capacity to complete the proposed project.;
- Applicant’s budget is realistic, complete and aligns with application narrative;
- Applicant’s budget reflects a broad base of revenue and support from earned, unearned and in-kind sources;
- If applicable, applicant has a viable plan to reduce any accumulated deficit;
- Creative Economy Project: Lead applicant demonstrates evidence of sound fiscal management and organizational capacity commensurate with its role in leading project partnership;
- Creative Economy Project: One of the partnership organizations has proven expertise in economic development;
- Creative Economy Project: Partnership has clearly defined roles and expectations among appropriate organizational partners.
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You must also read Appendix A: Legal Requirements if you plan to apply for OAC funding.