What is an ArtsKC Mission Support grant?

ArtsKC Grants are investments in people, programs and projects that make the arts more accessible, that sustain a vibrant and thriving arts community, and that support traditions of excellence as well as innovation and entrepreneurship in the arts. ArtsKC Grants support visual, dance, music, theater, poetry, and interdisciplinary art. These are competitive grants.

Mission Support Grants are general operating support for nonprofit arts organizations with the arts as their primary purpose. Mission Support funding is unrestricted. Further eligibility is detailed below.

Mission Support grants reach a broad range of arts organizations. For a list of recent recipients, click here.

Mission Support Grant Application Information for 2021-2022

  • UPDATE – Extended Deadline to apply: Monday, August 23rd, at 11:45 PM
    previously: Friday, August 20, 2021, at 11:45 PM

We highly recommend that you review all the information on this page before you apply, whether or not you have applied before. For further questions, please contact the Grants Manager: Grantmaking@ArtsKC.org.

Timeline & Deadlines

Eligibility

Application Form Previews and Draft Applications

Evaluation

Funding

Conditions

Mission Grant Committee Members

Grant System Link and Instructional Video

General Grant Application Advice

Letter from the Grants Manager – Grantmaking Program Updates


Timeline & Deadlines

Mission Support Grants, for non-profit organizations with the arts as their primary purpose.

  • UPDATE – Extended Deadline to apply: Monday, August 23rd, at 11:45 PM
  • previously: Deadline to apply: Friday, August 20, 2021, at 11:45 PM
  • Activity Dates supported by this year’s funding: August 20th, 2021- April 29, 2022
  • Staff will sort all applications by budget size and put them in two groups below and above the median amount. Group A – smaller to midsize budget organizations. Group B – midsize to larger budget organizations. The median will be determined after receiving applications.
Group A

  • An evaluation committee will consider Group A’s applications first. The committee will meet in September 2021, emailing any questions to applicants with time to respond. Not all applicants will be sent questions.
  • Group A’s Grant Decision Announcements will be made in late October 2021.
  • Group A’s Impact Reports are due by April 29, 2022, at 11:45 PM.
Group B

  • An evaluation committee will consider Group B’s applications second. The committee will meet in December 2021, emailing any questions to applicants with time to respond. Not all applicants will be sent questions.
  • Group B’s Grant Decision Announcements will be made in late December 2021.
  • Group B’s Impact Reports are due by May 31, 2022, at 11:45 PM.

Both groups will be considered on a competitive basis. Funding amounts for each group will be very similar to one another. We know that general operating support has a very positive impact on organizations.

Eligibility

To be eligible for funding in the Mission Support category, an organization must:

  • Be a registered not-for-profit arts organization
  • Be principally located in the five-county Kansas City metropolitan area (Clay, Jackson, Johnson, Platte, Wyandotte)
  • Have a governing body with bylaws
  • Be founded before 2019 (thus, have at least two years of financial records and established history of programming)

Organizations may submit one grant application to ArtsKC per year. Organizations may not apply for Inspiration Grant funding, which are for individual artists.

ArtsKC funding is meant to support public-facing and publicly accessible programming. Educational institutions should apply in Project Support.

For organizations that have received an ArtsKC grant in the past, Impact Reports must be submitted and accepted before applying again.

Application Form Previews and Draft Applications

Mission Support Grant Applications are submitted online using the ArtsKC Grant System.  You can preview and download the online application form here:

Application Form – Mission Support Grant FY22 – PREVIEW

If you have applied before, log in to your existing account in the ArtsKC Grant System and click on the “Apply” link to start a new application. Use the “Forgot Your Password?” link if you don’t remember what your password is.  When you return to work on a saved application, be sure to look for your previously started form!

If you have not applied before, when you go to the ArtsKC Grant System, click on the “Create New Account” button, and follow the directions there.  If you are a new user but your organization has applied for ArtsKC funding before, email Grantmaking@ArtsKC.org to help set up your user profile.

Draft Applications

Draft applications may be submitted for staff review.  This step is strongly encouraged for new applicants. Draft applications do not require a full set of attachments or support materials to be reviewed and should be completed via the online grants system. Once the application has been completed for a draft review, email the ArtsKC Grants staff to say that the application is ready for draft review. ArtsKC staff will review applications in the order they are requested and will provide timely feedback to the applicant. Applicants will be able to make changes directly in the application without having to start the application over. Draft applications must be sent 30 days before the application deadline in order to allow time for staff to review it.

Evaluation

ArtsKC committees review grants competitively. There will be two separate committees; one for Group A and one for Group B.

Committee Members are selected for their artistic knowledge and experience, awareness of community needs and issues, and other contributing factors.  Each application will be reviewed online and discussed by the committee in person. Applicants may be emailed questions regarding the application. Not all applicants will be sent questions. The committee will consider:

  • Artistic Excellence
  • Community Impact
  • Audience and Reach
  • Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
  • Accessibility
  • Financial and Operational Management
  • Need
  • The application in comparison to all other applications in the competitive process
  • Other factors that may be determined by the committee and the ArtsKC Board of Directors

ArtsKC is seeking equity in our funding practices.

We will use the numbers and demographics you provide to determine how much of your organization’s staff, volunteers, and board of directors is made up of underrepresented communities such as BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and people with disabilities.

To work toward equity, the organizations that are diverse-led through greater overall representation among their staff, board, and volunteers will receive added value in the evaluation process. We acknowledge that collecting demographic data is a continually improving practice. Here’s a resource to consider: GuideStar by Candid’s DEI Survey Guide.

Grant committees make a set of recommendations for funding that is presented to the ArtsKC Board of Directors for official approval.

Here’s a preview of the evaluation form used by our committee members:
Evaluation Form – Mission Support Grant FY22 – PREVIEW

Funding

Grants range from $1,000 to $5,000. The amount of your grant will be no more than 10% of the total operating expenses of your most recent fiscal year. Exceptions to this policy may be made under special circumstances for organizations with previous year revenues of less than $10,000. Due to the high number of worthy requests received, most grants are less than $5,000.

Grants are paid in two payments. The grant recipient must return a signed grant agreement and W-9 in order to receive the first payment of 80%. To receive the second payment of 20%, the grantee must turn in an Impact Report, which must be approved by ArtsKC. Please allow two weeks after submitting grant agreements and final reports to process checks.

In 2021-2022, we made 57 general operating support grants to applicants totaling $137,800. The average grant amount was $2,418. Approximately 65% of applicants in this category received a grant of any amount.

Conditions

Timely Paperwork and Documentation, Acknowledgement, and Communicate Changes

Timely Paperwork and Documentation

To accept a grant, you must return your signed Grant Agreement Letter and W-9 within 15 business days of the notice, or you will forfeit your entire grant award.

You are required to submit an Impact Report by the deadline, or you will forfeit your final payment. We understand that it may become necessary to request a reasonable extension. Please do so by contacting ArtsKC well before the deadline to ensure timely processing of your request. In the event that you forfeit your final payment and do not turn in a late Impact Report, you will become ineligible to apply for ArtsKC grants. Ineligibility can be reversed by the submission of an acceptable Impact Report.

Here’s a preview of the Impact Report form, which is filled out and submitted in the online grants system:

Impact Report form for Mission Support

Acknowledgment

During the duration of your active status as a grant recipient, we ask that you recognize ArtsKC publicly in your promotional materials and programs in a manner consistent with your policy of acknowledging other donors. Please recognize ArtsKC by name, and use the ArtsKC logo, which is available on our website. As part of this agreement, ArtsKC respectfully requests to use your organization’s name and any photos you are willing to provide in our promotional materials and online.

Communicate Changes

Please notify ArtsKC staff in writing of any major changes in leadership, programs, or operations described in your grant application. Updates to contact information are also necessary to stay in contact and to mail checks to the appropriate address.

Final note: You do not have to accept grants. If you have been awarded a grant and would like to turn it down or return it because of a change in plans or for any other reason, please notify ArtsKC Grant Staff immediately.

Mission Support Grant Committee Members

Committee Members are selected for their artistic knowledge and experience, awareness of community needs and issues, and other contributing factors. An ArtsKC Board Member leads each committee. All committee members are local volunteers. Read more here.

Grant System Link and Instructional Videos

How to use our Online Grants system (4 minutes long): Foundant Applicant Video

How to use the Copy Application Feature

General Grant Application Advice

  1. Start Early!
  1. Choose appropriate grant category / opportunity

Are you eligible?

Will the timing work?

Is the potential grant amount useful to you?

  1. Look at the Application form and estimate the amount of time it will take to fill out
  1. Write a brief paragraph of your project, to get started

Include the basic Who, What, Where, When, Why and How details

Review your paragraph and start making a list of items you need

Notice what you’re missing – fee for an assistant, insurance /liability, etc.

Consider what you could remove, or do without, in case your project is not fully funded, or in order to make your project more feasible

  1. Begin filling out the application form. The form may help shape your project.
  1. The most important parts of any grant application, which should tell the same story, or match:

Project Description – should have all the information except dollar amounts

Budget- should have dollar amounts for all the items mentioned or needed in the Project Description, with no surprises or new items that are more than $50, or at a very low threshold

-should have two sections: Revenue & Expenses, or Income & Expenses, that total the same amount

  1. Write clearly, respectfully, and be persuasive.
  1. Review your application before submitting it! Make sure your attachments don’t have a formatting problem, or that they didn’t attach at all. Ask a friend or colleague if they understand it, and better yet, if they would fund it.
  1. Turn in your application ON TIME or EARLY.
  1. Make sure you include the most up-to-date Contact Information, and if it changes, UPDATE the funder immediately.
  1. If your application is Denied, don’t be discouraged about your project. Also, if your application is denied, try not to take it personally, and remember that you took part in a competitive process. Ask the funder if they would recommend applying with them again, or if they can offer referrals to other funding sources that may help.
  1. If your application is Approved, thank the funder, and watch for communication about follow-up steps. Your funder may prefer that you wait to announce your grant award publicly until after their own announcement, for example.
  1. Grants come with some strings – agreement forms, final reports, logo and funder name recognition, etc.
  2. Turn in agreement forms and any other paperwork as soon as possible to receive first payments
  3. Document your project and any changes as you go along, for the Impact Report (and yourself)
  4. Note Impac Report dates on your calendar and meet the deadline to receive final payments
  5. Make sure to recognize your funder in the manner they request
  1. Remember that Applying for Grants is a skill that improves with practice. Remember that because most grant processes are competitive, even good projects with great applications are not always funded. It’s best to plan a project that has multiple funding sources just in case: grants, in-kind donations, fundraising efforts like events, crowdfunding, private donations, and personal investment.

Letter from the Grants Manager – Grantmaking Program Updates

Dear Potential Applicants,

Here are our Grantmaking Program Updates. ArtsKC is excited to be providing grants in FY22!
We are dedicated to continuously improving our grantmaking program to serve the community. In recent years, we started down the path of streamlining our grantmaking program. We listened to feedback, researched other grants, talked to other grantmakers, and paid attention to international trends. We heard about and felt the impact of the pandemic on the arts and our community. This meticulous work resulted in the following updates.

For All Applicants

Copy Application Feature in the Online Grants System
Many of you apply every year or frequently. We added a Copy Previous Answers feature! Click on the button in the top right to copy your answers over from last year’s application. Some questions have been combined or changed, and those will not copy. Some attachments will copy. Here’s a How To Video.

The Copy Answers feature is meant to save you time year to year. Some questions were combined this year; the main question’s answer will copy over, and any combined question that needs additional writing is noted in the instructions.

Review all the content and attachments that copy over. We recommend that you update the content and attachments where appropriate, and make sure your application is complete before submitting it. You can press the Save button at the bottom at any time.

Grant Names update
For simplicity, the Catalyst Mission grant is now the Mission Support Grant. The Catalyst Project grant is now the Project Support Grant. The Inspiration Grant is keeping its name.

Payment Amounts
In the past, the first payment was 75% of your grant, and the second payment was the remaining 25%. We’re changing this to 80% / 20%.

Representation of your Organization by ArtsKC – Summary and Pictures – update
Several years ago, we started asking you to define how you will be represented in the application form if you ultimately receive a grant. You have submitted short summaries and pictures for this purpose. We are proud to represent our grant recipients.
This year, we are keeping these requirements, but we have shortened the Summary text field to collect writing that is better optimized for social media and our website. This is detailed in all application forms.

For Organization Applicants

ArtsKC is seeking equity in our funding practices.

We will use the numbers and demographics you provide to determine how much of your organization’s staff, volunteers, and board of directors is made up of underrepresented communities such as BIPOC, LGBTQIA, and people with disabilities.

To work toward equity, the organizations that are diverse-led through greater overall representation among their staff, board, and volunteers will receive added value in the evaluation process. We acknowledge that collecting demographic data is a continually improving practice. Here’s a resource to consider: GuideStar by Candid’s DEI Survey Guide.

General Operating Support update

As we let you know last year, FY21 was the final year of Ovation Grants. Participants are welcome to apply in our other grant categories. All general operating support grants will be called Mission Support Grants.
Here’s the Timeline & Deadlines, with a brief overview of how it will work:

Mission Support Grants, for non-profit organizations with the arts as their primary purpose.

  • Deadline to apply: Friday, August 20th, at 11:45 PM
  • Activity Dates supported by this year’s funding: August 20th, 2021- April 29, 2022
  • Staff will sort all applications by budget size and put them in two groups below and above the median amount. Group A – smaller to midsize budget organizations. Group B – midsize to larger budget organizations. The median will be determined after receiving applications.
Group A

  • The evaluation committee will consider group A’s applications first. The committee will meet in September 2021, emailing any questions to applicants with time to respond. Not all applicants will be sent questions.
  • Group A’s Grant Decision Announcements will be made in late October 2021.
  • Group A’s Impact Reports are due by April 29, 2022, at 11:45 PM.
Group B

  • The evaluation committee will consider group B’s applications second. The committee will meet in December 2021, emailing any questions to applicants with time to respond. Not all applicants will be sent questions.
  • Group B’s Grant Decision Announcements will be made in late December 2021.
  • Group B’s Impact Reports are due by May 31, 2022, at 11:45 PM.

Both groups will be considered on a competitive basis. Funding amounts for each group will be very similar to one another. We know that general operating support has a very positive impact on organizations.

Project Support – including special Arts Education funding
Like last year, we will provide our Project Support Grant funding as usual, with a related opportunity within the category. Our Project category welcomes a wide variety of proposals for funding that is restricted to arts projects and programs. It supports arts projects that serve a broad diversity of people, and some projects are sometimes focused on particular age groups. With this in mind, ArtsKC has designated funding from The David T Beals III Community Fund for Arts Education to Catalyst Project this year. Grants are expected to be similar in size to other Catalyst Project grants, with the same rules for amounts. The David T Beals III Community Fund for Arts Education-specific funding is restricted to projects that are 100% for K-12 participants with the following parameters and goals:

  • 100% for K-12 participants from a public school, although the project can be virtual or otherwise take place off of school grounds
  • Defined collaboration / partnership between the arts organization and a school district or school
  • Tracks outcomes: gains in creativity and creative thinking, better behavior, higher levels of engagement, and an ability to reach students regardless of ability level

If you would like to be considered for this funding, look for this area in the Project Support grant application.

Form updates
We thoroughly reviewed our forms to make sure we are gathering relevant information in as well as possible. Some questions were eliminated; others were combined or rewritten for clarity. 

Application Form Updates:

Added last year and removed this year:

  • 990 Forms – we hoped that 990 forms would help us more easily compare Expenses. However, we found that organizations in our area use a wide variety of 990 forms that are not always comparable and tend to be at least a few years old. We determined that your other financial documents are a more up-to-date source for us to consider, especially in light of the rapid changes caused by COVID-19.

Added last year and kept:

  • Need-related questions – about the circumstances of your organization, and the impact of COVID-19.

Evaluation Form Updates:

  • Need-related evaluation question and scoring (added last year and kept)
  • Expanded language in the Community Impact evaluation question
  • Expanded language in the Audience and Reach evaluation question
  • Expanded language in the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion evaluation question

Report Form Updates:

  • Renamed Final Reports to Impact Reports
  • Shorted form from 13 to 10 questions / fields
  • Reminder emails – were sent 14 days out, now set to remind you it’s due in 30 days

For Individual Artist Applicants

Individual Artist Grant Update – including the Teri Rogers Filmmakers Grant

  • ArtsKC is planning to offer Inspiration Grants once during FY22. The process will begin in the late fall and funding decisions will be made in April 2022. Artists across disciplines are welcome to apply.
  • Nonprofit organizations are not eligible to apply for the Inspiration grant. Individuals may apply about their own art practice, but not as representatives on behalf of a nonprofit organization. This eligibility standard helps ensure that there is funding for individual artists in our region.
  • Within the grant category, ArtsKC is proud to honor a very special past board member with the Teri Rogers Filmmakers Fund. We will consider film projects proposed in the Inspiration Grant process for the Teri Rogers Filmmakers Grant. 
    • Additional criteria will be upheld in additional application and evaluation questions that are TBD as of 7/15/2021.
    • We are recruiting film experts to join the evaluation committee.
    • As part of our research, we learned that some film projects have fiscal sponsors or have established a nonprofit to raise funds and manage the comparatively larger budgets of this work. As a result, we will make an exception for film project applications in Inspiration Grant applications, and allow nonprofit entities to apply, as long as the proposal is focused on a specific project that fits Inspiration Grant and Teri Rogers Filmmakers Grant criteria.

One more thing

Feedback
If your application is not among those chosen for a grant, you will receive a notification email with a link to set up a Feedback Meeting that fits your schedule. We can go over feedback and suggestions from the grant committee that may strengthen applications in the future. Often, applications are not chosen for a grant due to high competition and a finite amount of funds. There is not always a specific reason your application was not chosen for funding.

We welcome your feedback about our grantmaking program via our post-application survey or feel free to email us with suggestions for improvement.

It is a great honor to work with you. Please email if you have any questions.

Sincerely,

ArtsKC – Regional Arts Council at  Grantmaking@ArtsKC.org