Grassroots Arts Program (GAP) Grants

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.
  • 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.

Application dates

  • Open: January 6, 2023
  • Due: March 1, 2023
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About

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 the Grassroots allotment. In order to maintain its designated status, a local arts council must meet the following standards:

  • Provide support for 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 for county arts organizations and arts resources.
  • Support individual artists in the county through services and opportunities including appropriately compensating artists for services. 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. DCP shows commitment to comprehensive arts education opportunities for the county’s youth.
  • Demonstrate a commitment to inclusion 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.
  • Track economic impact and actively participates in county tourism and economic development efforts.
  • 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.   

A complete Designated County Partner guidebook is available for download.

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 may also receive Grassroots Arts Program subgrants.

Priorities for Funding

  1. The first priority for awarding subgrants is to provide program or operating support to qualified arts organizations (where they exist), including theaters, symphonies, galleries, art guilds, choral societies, dance companies, folk arts societies, writers groups, and arts festivals, among others. Grassroots funds are not generally awarded to arts organizations that receive funding through the N.C. Arts Council’s State Arts Resources (SAR) Program. SAR organizations must receive prior approval from the N.C. Arts Council staff before applying for Grassroots funds.
  2. The second priority for 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 art supplies, or student arts competitions and publications.
  3. The third priority includes subgrants made to other community, civic, and municipal organizations that provide quality experiences for the greater community. These programs must be conducted by qualified artists.

Scope and allowable expenses

DCPs may use up to 50 percent of their grant funds for general operating support; the remaining 50 percent must be used for arts programming as follows:

  • DCPs with county populations above 50,000 are required to subgrant at least 50 percent of their allocations to other organizations to conduct arts programs.
  • DCPs with county populations below 50,000 must use 50 percent of their funds for arts programs that they conduct or for grants to other organizations to conduct arts programs.

To ensure that Grassroots Arts Programs reflect 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 its county’s population. The minimum amount a DCP must spend on multicultural programming is provided on an allocation chart by county available on the Local Arts Council resources page.

Application information

In FY 2023-24 Designated County Partners will be required to submit two applications:

1.    A full Designated County Partner Application (every three years) or an Update Application. View the full application schedule. 
2.    An application for the Grassroots Federal ARPA funds.    
Submit your application through the GO Smart grant portal. The following questions and documents will be required for the application.

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.

Designated County Partner Full Application Narrative

These questions should be answered as they relate to the entire scope of the organization, not just as your role as a DCP. Organizations will also be asked to provide operating income and expense information for the last, current, and upcoming fiscal years.

  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.
  2. Describe the key artistic programs and activities your arts council has planned for 2023–24. 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.
  3. Describe the services you provide and how you partner with the arts organizations in your county.
  4. Describe the services you provide to individual artists in your county and your participation in the regional Artist Support Grant program.
  5. Describe the overall process your organization uses to subgrant Grassroots money to other groups in your county. Include information on how you publicize the availability of funds; assistance to applicants; your application review system; and the composition of your subgrant panel.
  6. Describe the arts-in-education programs you conduct and fund that benefit children and youth in your community.
  7. Describe how your organization engages populations in your county who have limited opportunities to experience arts programs due to 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.
  8. State the names, titles, and responsibilities of key staff members. Provide salary ranges and benefits for staff positions. Describe the system for evaluating staff.
  9. Describe the qualifications of your board who serve in leadership roles. Give recent examples of how your board actively promotes, participates in, and provides resources for the organization. (Upload a list of current board members and identify with board terms, titles, and professional expertise).
  10. Describe your organization’s planning process. Briefly summarize the key goals and objectives of your current long-range plan.
  11. Briefly describe the facilities in which your organization conducts its primary operations. Indicate whether you own, lease or occupy donated space.
  12. Describe your organization's financial condition. Include information about any debt, deficits, endowment, surpluses, or cash reserves. Describe how your organization exercises effective fiscal control and accountability.
  13. Describe your organization’s fundraising strategies. Include information on annual fundraising events and specify the percentage of annual revenue these activities contribute to your operating budget.
  14. Describe how your organization advocates for public funding for the arts.
  15. Describe your organization's marketing strategies. Include information on how you use your web site and social media in promotion. Provide statistics on web site, Facebook, and any online projects or campaigns you have initiated. Explain how you evaluate the success of your online efforts.
  16. Amount of 2023-24 tentative Grassroots Allocation:
  17. Designated County Partners may spend up to 50% of their allotments for general operating support; the remaining 50% must be spent for arts programming in their county. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will spend for operating support?18. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will spend for arts programming?
  18. What is the projected amount of your GAP allocation that you will sub-grant to other organizations to conduct arts programs?
  19. Using the form provided here, Previous Year Subgrants, upload a list of your 2022-23 subgrants. Include the organization's name, amount of sub-grant, and a brief project description including names of artists involved.
  20. Using the form provided here, Previous Year Multicultural Programs, upload a list of your 2022-23 subgrantees and/or programs which document how you met the multicultural requirement. Include the multicultural artist/organization, amount paid, and race. Upload your completed multicultural list.

Designated County Partner Update Application Narrative

  1. 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.
  2. Provide a description of the programs you will conduct with your 2023-2024 Grassroots funds. 
  3. Attach a financial statement or audit for your most recently completed fiscal year.
  4. Provide operating income and expense information for the last, current, and upcoming fiscal years.
  5. Attach a current board of directors list with contact information, positions held, and years and term/s served.

Application narrative for federal Grassroots funds (ARPA)

This information should only pertain to the additional federal Grassroots award for the coming year.

  1. Upload a spending plan for organization’s use the federal Grassroots funds in FY 2023-2024 (ARPA). Be as specific as you can with details and budget estimations for programming, operational costs, and subgranting plans as possible. 
  2. Describe how your organization developed the spending plan. Specially address your attention to the overall stabilization and capacity-building of the arts sector in your county. ​​​

Staff contact

Janelle Wienke
Arts in Communities Director
(919) 814-6506
janelle.wienke@ncdcr.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 Arts in Education Director & Accessibility Coordinator, Kathleen Collier, at kathleen.collier@ncdcr.gov or 919-814-6515.

About

In counties without a Designated County Partners (DCPs), the N.C. Arts Council invites an organization to serve as a Provisional County Partner (PCP) in order to manage the distribution of Grassroots funds. A PCP must submit an application annually.
N.C. Arts Council staff consults with each provisional partner to create a distribution plan that meets the requirements of the Grassroots Arts Program. Some PCPs subgrant Grassroots funds and others conduct arts programs with their county’s allocation.

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 may also receive Grassroots Arts Program subgrants.

Priorities for Funding

  1. The first priority for awarding subgrants is to provide program or operating support to qualified arts organizations (where they exist), including theaters, symphonies, galleries, art guilds, choral societies, dance companies, folk arts societies, writers groups, and arts festivals, among others. Grassroots funds are not generally awarded to arts organizations that receive funding through the N.C. Arts Council’s State Arts Resources (SAR) Program. SAR organizations must receive prior approval from the N.C. Arts Council staff before applying for Grassroots funds.
  2. The second priority for 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 art supplies, or student arts competitions and publications.
  3. The third priority includes subgrants made to other community, civic, and municipal organizations that provide quality experiences for the greater community. These programs must be conducted by qualified artists.

Scope and allowable expenses

PCPs may use up to 20 percent of their grant funds for general operating support; the remaining 80 percent must be used for arts programming as follows:

  • PCPs with county populations above 50,000 are required to subgrant at least 50 percent of their allocations to other organizations to conduct arts programs.
  • PCPs with county populations below 50,000 must use 80 percent of their funds for arts programs that they conduct or for grants to other organizations to conduct arts programs.

To ensure that Grassroots Arts Programs reflect the racial and ethnic diversity of our state, each PCP 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 its county’s population. The minimum amount a PCP must spend on multicultural programming is provided on an allocation chart by county and is available on the Local Arts Council resources page.

Application information

In FY 2023-24 Provisional County Partners will be required to submit two applications:

1.    A Provisional County Partner Application. 
2.    An application for the Grassroots Federal ARPA funds.    

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.

Provisional County Partner Application Narrative

  1. What amount of your Grassroots allocation will your organization use for operating support? Describe how these funds will be used. PCPs are allowed to use up to 20% of the grassroots allocation for operating support.
  2. Provide a description of the programs you will conduct with your 2023-24 Grassroots funds. Include information on the artistic content of each program. Describe the artists involved, explain how and why they were chosen, and state the rate of payment for their services. 
  3. Provide a description of the participants and intended audiences for each program. Estimate the number of participants for all activities, including demographics.
  4. Describe how your organization engages populations in your county who have limited opportunities to experience arts programs due to factors such as educational background, geography, ethnic or cultural diversity, or economic constraints. 
  5. For PCPs that subgrant, describe the process your organization uses to subgrant Grassroots fund to other organizations in your county. Include information on how you publicize the availability of funds, assistance to applicants, your application review system, and the composition of your subgrant panel.

Application narrative for federal Grassroots funds (ARPA)

This information should only pertain to the additional federal Grassroots award for the coming year.

  1. Upload a spending plan for organization’s use the federal Grassroots funds in FY 2023-2024 (ARPA). Be as specific as you can with details and budget estimations for programming, operational costs, and subgranting plans as possible. 
  2. Describe how your organization developed the spending plan. Specially address your attention to the overall stabilization and capacity-building of the arts sector in your county.

Staff contact

Janelle Wienke
Arts in Communities Director
(919) 814-6506
janelle.wienke@ncdcr.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 Arts in Education Director & Accessibility Coordinator, Kathleen Collier, at kathleen.collier@ncdcr.gov or 919-814-6515.