Grassroots Arts Program (GAP) Grants

Reminder: Please review General Grant Information and Eligibility Requirements before proceeding.

About

The Grassroots Arts Program (GAP) provides per capita-based funding for arts programming to all 100 counties across North Carolina ensuring opportunities for citizens to experience the arts in their own communities. Grassroots funds are typically awarded to local arts councils.

Grassroots partners in North Carolina as of 2022

Grassroots funds are distributed in every county in North Carolina through the following types of partnerships:

  • Designated County Partners
    In most counties, local arts councils have been nominated by their county governments and approved by the N.C. Arts Council as Designated County Partners (DCPs) to manage and program Grassroots Funds. DCPs are required to submit a Full Designated County Partner Application on a three-year rotation (view the full application schedule), or an Update Application
  • Provisional County Partners
    In counties without DCPs, the N.C. Arts Council has selected an organization to serve as the Provisional County Partner (PCP) to oversee the distribution and management of Grassroots funds on a temporary (year-to-year) basis.

A complete Grassroots Arts Program Guidebook is available for download.

Application dates

  • Open: January 5, 2024
  • Due: March 1, 2024

Grant amount

Requirements

Multicultural requirements

To ensure that GAP reflects the racial and ethnic diversity of our state, each DCP is required to spend a representative percentage of its annual county allotment on programs that reflect the diverse cultures (specifically African American, Asian American, Latino, and Native American) of the county’s population. The minimum amount a DCP must spend on multicultural programming is provided on an allocation chart broken down by county, which is available on the Local Arts Council Resources page on our website.

Matching the Grassroots grant

The Grassroots Arts Program legislation requires that county allotments must be matched dollar for dollar with cash from local sources during the applicable fiscal year. Grassroots applicants may match the entire county allotment from within their own budget, or they may use the cash match from subgrantees to fulfill the requirement. A Designated County Partner may also partner with another organization in the county to allow its arts expenditures to be designated as a match. 

If a DCP chooses to fulfill its match with a partnering agreement, the DCP must obtain a letter from that partner stating the source, amount, use and fiscal year of the expenditures and giving the partner’s approval to designate it as a match for the Grassroots allotment. The partner should be aware that its records become part of the Grassroots contract, and should there be an audit of the Grassroots award, it must be willing to allow its records to be reviewed.

Neither Grassroots allocations nor the matching funds may be used to match any other N.C. Arts Council grant. All matching funds must be documented as part of the final report at the end of the fiscal year. 

Tab/Accordion Items

Designated County Partners (DCPs) must meet the following standards  to maintain their designated status:

  • Provide support for high-quality programming in the performing, visual, literary, and traditional arts. Programming choices are responsive to community needs and demonstrate improvement and innovation. Programming choices also engage constituents across geographic, cultural, social, and economic strata.
  • Foster collaborative relationships with and provide services and support to county arts organizations and other arts resources.
  • Support individual artists in the county through services and opportunities, and compensate artists appropriately for their work. Promote and participate in the Artist Support Grant program.
  • Conduct or support arts-in-education programs led by qualified artists for pre-K–12 students. A DCP must show commitment to comprehensive arts education opportunities for the county’s youth.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEAI) in programming, board representation, governance, and administrative practices.
  • Demonstrate stability and fiscal responsibility through effective board and staff leadership, sound administrative practices, and strategic planning. If staffed, arts councils must provide appropriate salaries and benefits.
  • Demonstrate leadership in the arts by actively participating in tourism, economic development, and community development efforts in the county that the DCP represents. 
  • Maintain a history of managing the Grassroots grant responsibly and according to requirements, including meeting the deadlines for applications, fulfilling the subgranting and multicultural requirements, and completing final reports.   

Scope and allowable expenses

DCPs may use up to 50 percent of their grant funds for general operating support. They must use the remaining 50 percent in the following ways:

  • DCPs with county populations above 50,000 must subgrant at least 50 percent of their allocations to other organizations.
  • DCPs with county populations below 50,000 must use 50 percent of their funds for self-conducted arts programs or for subgrants to other organizations.

Grassroots arts program subgrant system overview

DCPs with county populations above 50,000 are required to subgrant at least 50 percent of their allocations to other organizations in their county to conduct arts programs. If the DCP is not required to subgrant, but chooses to, these same guidelines must be followed.

Eligibility for Subgrants

Organizations must have been in operation for at least one year. While nonprofit 501(c)(3) status is preferred, organizations that are nonprofit in nature but lack the IRS designation may also receive GAP subgrants.

Priorities for Funding

  1. The first priority in awarding subgrants is to provide program or operating support to qualified arts organizations. Examples are theaters, symphonies, galleries, art guilds, choral societies, dance companies, folk arts societies, writers' groups, and arts festivals. To receive operating support from a subgrant, an arts organization may not also receive operating support directly from the N.C. Arts Council. 
  2. The second priority in subgranting Grassroots funds is to support arts learning and arts-in-education programs conducted by qualified artists. These can be artist residencies in schools, after-school summer camps, or adult arts learning classes. Grassroots funds may not be used for activities associated with a school’s internal arts programs, such as in-school student performances, the purchase of classroom supplies, or student art competitions and publications.
  3. The third priority in awarding GAP subgrants is to support community, civic, and municipal organizations that provide high-quality experiences for the greater community. Qualified artists must conduct these programs.

DCP full application questions

Submit your application through the GO Smart grant portal. The following questions and documents will be required for the application.

These questions should be answered as they relate to the entire scope of the organization, not just its role as a DCP. Organizations will be asked to provide operating income and expense information for the last, current, and upcoming fiscal years, as well as an itemization of local government support for the current fiscal year.

Profile questions

In addition to contact information, you will be asked to submit your organization’s mission statement, an organizational history, and both an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number.

Grassroots allocation

  1. 2024–25 tentative Grassroots allocation amount: Please consult the Grassroots Arts Program – Base County Allotments for Fiscal Year 2024-25 Table to determine your allocation amount. 
  2. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will spend for operating support?
  3. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will spend on arts programming? 
  4. Describe the programs you will conduct with your 2024–25 Grassroots funds.
  5. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will subgrant to other organizations to conduct arts programs?

Note: The sum of lines 2, 3, and 5 must equal the amount entered in line 1.

County overview

  1. Briefly describe the county you serve, including population and demographics. Describe any notable economic, social, and cultural changes in your county over the past three years. Describe how your organization contributes to the local and state economy. Include employment, visitor statistics, and other forms of economic impact you track.

Programs and services

  1. Describe the key artistic programs and activities your arts council has planned for 2024–25. Indicate whether these programs occur annually and how they serve the geographic diversity of your county. Describe how your program choices demonstrate improvement or innovation. List and describe the artists selected for these programs.
  2. Describe the services you provide to arts organizations in your county and how you partner with them.
  3. Describe the services you provide to individual artists in your county and your participation in the Artist Support Grant program.
  4. Describe the overall process your organization uses to subgrant Grassroots funds to other groups in your county. Include information on how you publicize the availability of funds; the timeline of your process; the assistance you offer to applicants; your application review system; and the composition of your subgrant panel.
  5. Describe the arts-in-education programs you conduct and/or fund that benefit children and youth in your community.
  6. Describe how your organization engages populations in your county who have limited opportunities to experience arts programs because of factors such as educational background, geography, ethnic or cultural diversity, or economic constraints. Include outreach or artistic programs you conduct and fund for the aforementioned communities.

 Organizational strength

  1. State the names, titles, and responsibilities of key staff members. Provide salary ranges and benefits for staff positions. Describe the board of directors' system for evaluating organizational leadership.
  2. Describe your board of directors and their key responsibilities, including committee participation requirements. Describe your organization’s board rotation policy and how new members are recruited and trained. 
  3. Describe your organization’s planning process. Briefly summarize the key goals and objectives of your current long-range plan.
  4. Briefly describe the facilities in which your organization conducts its primary operations. Indicate whether you own or lease space or occupy donated space.
  5. Describe your organization's financial condition. Include information about any debt, deficits, endowments, surpluses, or cash reserves. Describe how your organization exercises effective fiscal control and accountability.
  6. Describe your organization’s fundraising strategies. Include information on your annual fund campaign and fundraising events. Specify the percentage of annual revenue these activities contribute to your operating budget. 
  7. Describe your organization's marketing strategies. Include information on how you use your website and social media for promotion. Explain how you evaluate the success of your efforts.

Uploads

  1. Upload a list of current board members, with contact information and board terms. 
  2. Upload a financial statement or audit for your most recently completed fiscal year (FY22–23).
  3. Upload a list of your FY22–23 subgrants. Include the organization's name, the amount of the subgrant, and a brief project description that names the artists involved.
  4. Upload a list of your FY22–23 subgrantees and/or programs that document how you met the multicultural requirement. Include the multicultural artist or organization, the amount paid, and race. 

Support materials

Applicants have the option to submit additional support materials to strengthen their grant proposal and provide evidence that builds a strong case for the application. Here are a few examples of support materials to consider:

  • Current strategic plan
  • Bios and resumés of key staff and partners for a new project
  • Sample brochures or marketing materials of new initiatives
  • Reviews or credentials of artists

Staff contact

Janelle Wienke
Arts in Communities Regional Director
(919) 814-6506
janelle.wienke@dncr.nc.gov

Sam Gerweck
Arts in Communities Regional Director
(919) 814-6523
sam.gerweck@dncr.nc.gov
 


Grant Application Assistance

North Carolina Arts Council staff are here to assist with grant applications. Visit our application assistance page for resources and grants staff contact information. 

Accessibility

For accessibility questions or accommodation requests, please contact the North Carolina Arts Council's Music and Dance Director, Accessibility Coordinator Jamie Katz Court at jamie.katzcourt@dncr.nc.gov or (919) 814-6502.

Designated County Partners (DCPs) must meet the following standards  to maintain their designated status:

  • Provide support for high-quality programming in the performing, visual, literary, and traditional arts. Programming choices are responsive to community needs and demonstrate improvement and innovation. Programming choices also engage constituents across geographic, cultural, social, and economic strata.
  • Foster collaborative relationships with and provide services and support to county arts organizations and other arts resources.
  • Support individual artists in the county through services and opportunities, and compensate artists appropriately for their work. Promote and participate in the Artist Support Grant program.
  • Conduct or support arts-in-education programs led by qualified artists for pre-K–12 students. A DCP must show commitment to comprehensive arts education opportunities for the county’s youth.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion and accessibility (DEAI) in programming, board representation, governance, and administrative practices.
  • Demonstrate stability and fiscal responsibility through effective board and staff leadership, sound administrative practices, and strategic planning. If staffed, arts councils must provide appropriate salaries and benefits.
  • Demonstrate leadership in the arts by actively participating in tourism, economic development, and community development efforts in the county that the DCP represents.
  • Maintain a history of managing the Grassroots grant responsibly and according to requirements, including meeting the deadlines for applications, fulfilling the subgranting and multicultural requirements, and completing final reports.   

Scope and allowable expenses

DCPs may use up to 50 percent of their grant funds for general operating support. They must use the remaining 50 percent in the following ways:

  • DCPs with county populations above 50,000 must subgrant at least 50 percent of their allocations to other organizations.
  • DCPs with county populations below 50,000 must use 50 percent of their funds for self-conducted arts programs or for subgrants to other organizations.

Grassroots arts program subgrant system overview

DCPs with county populations above 50,000 are required to subgrant at least 50 percent of their allocations to other organizations in their county to conduct arts programs. If the DCP is not required to subgrant, but chooses to, these same guidelines must be followed.

Eligibility for Subgrants

Organizations must have been in operation for at least one year. While nonprofit 501(c)(3) status is preferred, organizations that are nonprofit in nature but lack the IRS designation may also receive GAP subgrants.

Priorities for Funding

  1. The first priority in awarding subgrants is to provide program or operating support to qualified arts organizations. Examples are theaters, symphonies, galleries, art guilds, choral societies, dance companies, folk arts societies, writers' groups, and arts festivals. To receive operating support from a subgrant, an arts organization may not also receive operating support directly from the N.C. Arts Council.
  2. The second priority in subgranting Grassroots funds is to support arts learning and arts-in-education programs conducted by qualified artists. These can be artist residencies in schools, after-school summer camps, or adult arts learning classes. Grassroots funds may not be used for activities associated with a school’s internal arts programs, such as in-school student performances, the purchase of classroom supplies, or student art competitions and publications.
  3. The third priority in awarding GAP subgrants is to support community, civic, and municipal organizations that provide high-quality experiences for the greater community. Qualified artists must conduct these programs.

DCP update application questions

Submit your application through the GO Smart grant portal. The following questions and documents will be required for the application.

These questions should be answered as they relate to the entire scope of the organization, not just its role as a DCP. Organizations will be asked to provide operating income and expense information for the last, current, and upcoming fiscal years, as well as an itemization of local government support for the current fiscal year.

Profile questions

In addition to contact information, you will be asked to submit your organization’s mission statement, an organizational history, and both an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number.

Grassroots allocation

  1. 2024–25 tentative Grassroots allocation amount: Please consult the Grassroots Arts Program – Base County Allotments for Fiscal Year 2024-25 Table to determine your allocation amount.
  2. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will spend for operating support?
  3. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will spend on arts programming?
  4. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will subgrant to other organizations to conduct arts programs?

Note: The sum of lines 2, 3, and 4 must equal the amount entered in line 1.

Application narrative

  1. Provide operating income and expense information for the last, current, and upcoming fiscal years.
  2. Does your organization have an accumulated deficit totaling 5 percent or more of your last year’s operating budget, or are you showing a shortfall for the last, current, or upcoming year?
  3. Briefly describe how the organization is addressing the accumulated deficit or current or projected shortfalls.
  4. Describe any significant changes in your organization (i.e., changes in staff, facilities, financial condition, or organizational structure) that have occurred since your last application.
  5. Provide a description of the programs you will conduct with your 2024–25 Grassroots funds. Include information about the artistic content of each program (e.g., the artists involved, how and why they were chosen, and the rate of payment for their services).

Uploads

  1. Upload a financial statement or audit for your most recently completed fiscal year (FY22-23).
  2. Upload a roster of current board members, with contact information and board terms.
     

Staff contact

Janelle Wienke
Arts in Communities Regional Director
(919) 814-6506
janelle.wienke@dncr.nc.gov

Sam Gerweck
Arts in Communities Regional Director
(919) 814-6523
sam.gerweck@dncr.nc.gov
 


Grant application assistance

North Carolina Arts Council staff are here to assist with grant applications. Visit our application assistance page for resources and grants staff contact information.

Accessibility

For accessibility questions or accommodation requests, please contact the North Carolina Arts Council's Music and Dance Director, Accessibility Coordinator Jamie Katz Court at jamie.katzcourt@dncr.nc.gov or (919) 814-6502.

In counties without Designated County Partners (DCPs), the N.C. Arts Council invites an organization to serve as a Provisional County Partner (PCP) to manage the distribution of Grassroots Arts Program (GAP) funds. PCPs must submit an application annually.

N.C. Arts Council staff are available to consult with provisional partners to create a distribution plan that meets the GAP’s requirements. 

Scope and allowable expenses

PCPs may use up to 20 percent of their grant funds for general operating support.
They may use the remaining 80 percent in the following ways:

  • PCPs with county populations above 50,000 are required to subgrant at least 50 percent of their allocations to other organizations. They may use the remaining funds to support their own arts programs.
  • PCPs with county populations below 50,000 are required to use 80 percent of their funds for self-conducted arts programs or for subgrants to other organizations.

Grassroots arts program subgrant system overview

PCPs with county populations above 50,000 are required to subgrant at least 50 percent  of their allocations to other organizations in their county to conduct arts programs. If the PCP is not required to subgrant, but chooses to, these same guidelines must be followed.

Eligibility for Subgrants

Organizations must have been in operation for at least one year. While nonprofit 501(c)(3) status is preferred, organizations that are nonprofit in nature but lack the IRS designation may also receive GAP subgrants.

Priorities for Funding

  1. The first priority in awarding subgrants is to provide program or operating support to qualified arts organizations. Examples are theaters, symphonies, galleries, art guilds, choral societies, dance companies, folk arts societies, writers' groups, and arts festivals. To receive operating support from a subgrant, an arts organization may not also receive operating support directly from the N.C. Arts Council.
  2. The second priority in subgranting Grassroots funds is to support arts learning and arts-in-education programs conducted by qualified artists. These can be artist residencies in schools, after-school summer camps, or adult arts learning classes. Grassroots funds may not be used for activities associated with a school’s internal arts programs, such as in-school student performances, the purchase of classroom supplies , or student art competitions and publications.
  3. The third priority in GAP subgrants is to support community, civic, and municipal organizations that provide high-quality experiences for the greater community. Qualified artists must conduct these programs.

PCP application questions

PCPs must submit a Provisional County Partner Application annually.

Submit your applications through the GO Smart grant portal. Applicants will be asked to provide the following information.

Profile questions

In addition to contact information, you will be asked to submit your organization’s mission statement, an organizational history, and both an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) number.

Grassroots allocation

  1. 2024–25 tentative Grassroots allocation amount: Please consult the Grassroots Arts Program – Base County Allotments for Fiscal Year 2024-25 Table to determine your allocation amount. 
  2. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will spend for operating support? PCPs are allowed to use up to 20 percent of the Grassroots allocation for operating support.
  3. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will spend on arts programming? 
  4. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will subgrant to other organizations? 

Note: The sum of lines 2, 3, and 4 must equal the amount entered in line 1.

Application narrative

  1. Describe how your organization will use your Grassroots allocation for operating support. 
  2. Provide a description of the programs you will conduct with your 2024–25 Grassroots funds. Include information about the artistic content of each program (e.g., the artists involved, how and why you chose them, and the rate of payment for their services).
  3. Provide a description of the participants and intended audiences for each program. Estimate the number and demographics of the participants for each activity.
  4. Describe how your organization engages populations in your county who have limited opportunities to experience arts programs because of factors such as educational background, geography, ethnic or cultural diversity, or economic constraints. 
  5. Describe the process your organization uses to subgrant Grassroots money to other groups in your county. Explain how you publicize the availability of funds; the timeline of your process; the assistance you offer to applicants; your application review system; and the composition of your subgrant panel.

Uploads

  1. Upload a financial statement or audit for your most recently completed fiscal year (FY22-23).
  2. Upload a roster of current board members, with contact information and board terms.
     

Staff contact

Janelle Wienke
Arts in Communities Regional Director
(919) 814-6506
janelle.wienke@dncr.nc.gov

Sam Gerweck
Arts in Communities Regional Director
(919) 814-6523
sam.gerweck@dncr.nc.gov
 


Grant application assistance

North Carolina Arts Council staff are here to assist with grant applications. Visit our application assistance page for resources and grants staff contact information. 

Accessibility

For accessibility questions or accommodation requests, please contact the North Carolina Arts Council's Music and Dance Director, Accessibility Coordinator Jamie Katz Court at jamie.katzcourt@dncr.nc.gov or (919) 814-6502.