National Endowment for the Arts CARES Act Grant Program

Federal Agency: National Endowment for the Arts

Description: The National Endowment for the Arts CARES Act Grant will provide funds to non-profit arts organizations to help them and their employees endure the economic hardships caused by the forced closure of their operations due to the spread of COVID-19. There are two types of awards:

  • Direct Funds – to support the operations of singular non-profit arts organizations
  • Subgranting Funds* – for designated local arts agencies to support their own operations and others by subgranting to eligible non-profit organizations

*The NEA is prohibited from making grants for the purpose of subgranting, with exceptions only for state arts agencies, regional arts organizations, and local arts agencies designated to operate on behalf of local governments. Under these guidelines, funds for subgranting or regranting will be provided only to local arts agencies that are designated to operate on behalf of their local governments or are operating units of city or county government. These designated local arts agencies generally are arts councils, departments of cultural affairs, or arts commissions. To be eligible to subgrant, a local arts agency must have received NEA support for its subgranting program during the past four years. If a designated local arts agency eligible to subgrant proposes a subgranting program, the subgranting program must be consistent with the purposes of the this specific program.

Eligible applicants: All applicants must be previous National Endowment for the Arts award recipients from the past four years (Fiscal Year 2017-2020), including:

  • County governments
  • Private institutions of higher education
  • Special district governments
  • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
  • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
  • Non-profits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
  • State governments
  • Independent school districts
  • City or township governments

For more information related to applicant eligibility, visit HERE.

Eligible activities: The grants (“direct funds” and “subgranting funds”) must be used to support any or all of the following:

  • Salary support, full or partial, for one or more positions that are critical to an organization’s artistic mission
  • Fees for artists and/or contractual personnel to maintain or expand the period during which such persons would be engaged
  • Facilities costs such as rent and utilities

Award ceiling (MAX):

  • $250,000 – For designated local arts agencies (eligible to subgrant) requesting “subgranting funds”
  • $50,000 – For eligible non-profit arts organizations requesting “direct funds”
    • This is a fixed amount for all applicants/grantees

Award floor (MIN):

  • $100,000 – For designated local arts agencies (eligible to subgrant) requesting “subgranting funds”
  • $50,000 – For eligible non-profit arts organizations requesting “direct funds”
    • This is a fixed amount for all applicants/grantees

FY 2020 Funding availability: Approx. $45 million*

*This program was created in the CARES Act as an emergency grant program to assist non-profit arts organizations affected by the COVID-19 public health crisis. This program was not appropriated annual funding in prior fiscal years. NEA was appropriated $75 million in the CARES Act and has committed to use up to 60% of those funds for this grant program.

Application cycle:

  • Part I – Submit to | April 8 – 22, 2020
  • Part II – Submit to applicant portal | April 27 – May 4, 2020

Special considerations:

  • To be eligible to apply, your organization must have been an NEA award recipient in the past four years (Fiscal Year 2017-2020).
  • Each organization is limited to one application.
    • The only exception to this one-application rule is made for parent organizations applying on behalf of separately identifiable and independent components.
  • All applications are reviewed by an advisory panel. Panel recommendations are forwarded to the National Council on the Arts which then makes recommendations to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Chairman reviews the Council’s recommendations and makes the final decision on all grant awards.
    • The NEA and its partners will use an established criteria during the evaluation of applications focused on the artistic excellence and merit of the proposals.
  • Pending the availability of funding, it is anticipated that applicants will be notified of award or rejection in June 2020.
  • The period of performance for a project will begin on or after July 1, 2020 for up to 24 months.

More information: Visit HERE

Who can tell me more?

If you have questions, contact the NEA discipline staff that is appropriate to your organization – visit HERE.

To apply: