DONATE NOW

Community Accelerator Grant Application FAQ 

ArtsFund is happy to announce the 2024 Community Accelerator Grant program, which will provide $10 million in unrestricted grants to cultural organizations across Washington State in amounts of $2,500 to $25,000. Funding will provide essential capital to Washington’s cultural organizations, including fiscally sponsored organizations and tribal entities, whose primary missions are to produce or support arts and cultural activities.

Funded by the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation, the second year of the Community Accelerator Grant builds on the program’s groundbreaking 2023 pilot, which provided a total of $10 million to 671 organizations and will continue to prioritize organizations that center BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and people with disabilities, and organizations located in rural communities. Awards will be unrestricted, allowing recipient organizations to utilize funding in ways that they determine and prioritize for highest impact.

The Community Accelerator Grant is now open! Click here to apply. The deadline to apply is 5:00 p.m. on March 5. Please review the FAQ below before applying and contact accelerator@artsfund.org if you have any questions.

To preview the application, click here.

 

Eligibility

What are the eligibility requirements to apply for a Community Accelerator Grant?

• The Community Accelerator Grant is intended to fund Washington State’s arts and culture sector. 501(c)(3) public charities, organizations fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)3 public charity, and state or federally recognized tribal entities are eligible to apply. In addition, organizations must:

o Have a primary mission to produce or support arts and cultural activities.
o Have existed for three or more years.
o Have an average annual operating budget of $25,000 or greater over FY2022, FY2023, and FY2024 (budgeted).

• Applicants considered ineligible include:

o Individuals
o Private foundations
o For-profit organizations
o Political advocacy organizations
o Organizations located outside of Washington State
o Churches and religious organizations
o Government entities, except tribal governments

Is the Community Accelerator Grant limited to arts organizations?

• This funding opportunity is only available to organizations whose primary missions are to produce or support arts and cultural activities.

What are the eligibility requirements for tribes and tribal entities?

• State or federally recognized tribes are eligible and encouraged to apply, provided they meet minimum budget requirements and are based in Washington. As cultural heritage and artistic practices are embedded in the work and daily life of tribes, tribes will be considered eligible regardless of whether they have a formal mission statement encompassing arts and cultural activities. Tribes without federal or state recognition may apply as a 501c3 organization or fiscally sponsored organization if applicable.

Additionally, tribal entities focused on artistic and cultural activities, such as culture departments or tribal museums, are eligible to apply for funding if they meet the minimum budget requirements. Multiple entities affiliated with the same tribe may apply if each meets the eligibility criteria. Please do not hesitate to contact the grantmaking team with any questions.

Can an organization apply to fund a specific program that produces or supports arts and cultural activities, even if the organization’s primary mission does not?

• No. This funding opportunity is intended for organizations whose primary mission is to produce or support arts and cultural activities. Programs that fall under these categories operated by organizations with broader missions are not eligible for this opportunity.

How do I calculate my organization’s annual average operating budget?

• Please use your organization’s fiscal year cycle to calculate your annual average operating budget. Add your total revenue for FY22 and FY23 operating budgets with FY24 budgeted revenue. Divide this number by 3. If this number equals $25,000 or greater, your organization meets the budget requirement.

If my organization is fiscally sponsored, does the $25,000 minimum budget requirement apply to my organization or my 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor organization?

• The $25,000 minimum budget requirement applies to your organization, not your fiscal sponsor. Please calculate the annual average operating budget for your organization.

If $25K is the minimum operating budget, is there a maximum budget size?

• No.

My organization is located in Oregon/Idaho but many of our participants are Washington residents, can we apply?

• No. Even if your organization serves Washington residents, your organization must be located in Washington State in order to be eligible.

If my organization was eligible (or ineligible) for 2023 Community Accelerator Grant funding, will my organization be eligible (or ineligible) again in 2024?

• All organizations, including new applicants and 2023 applicants, will be reviewed for eligibility in 2024. Organizations that were not eligible in 2023 may be eligible in 2024, depending on circumstance. Eligibility for the 2023 grant does not guarantee eligibility in 2024.

Are current or former ArtsFund grantees eligible to apply? Are ArtsFund grantees more likely to be funded by this grant?

• Current or former ArtsFund grantees are eligible to apply, provided they meet the other eligibility requirements. Status as a current or former ArtsFund grantee will not impact how likely your organization is to receive funding. Current or former ArtsFund grantees are not guaranteed funding through this program.

Are cultural organizations eligible to apply?

• Cultural organizations are eligible to apply, provided that their work contains a significant artistic component. Please reach out to accelerator@artsfund.org if you are unsure whether your organization is eligible.

 

Application Information

What information is being requested in the application?

• All applicants must first complete the Profile Eligibility form in the application portal. Application forms will only become available after you complete this form.
• The application has four sections:
• A General Information Form
• A Financial Information Form
• A Programs and Demographics Form
• An Automated Clearing House (ACH) Request Form

Are there any narrative questions in the application?

• There are no required narrative questions in this application. Some forms contain optional comment boxes that allow you provide context or clarification if needed; comments are not scored.

Financial Information Form

What is a fiscal year?

• A fiscal year (abbreviated “FY”) is a 12-month period over which an organization budgets and reports financials. It may or may not coincide with the calendar year. If your fiscal year coincides with the calendar year, it will end on December 31; however, some organizations have fiscal years that end on June 30, September 30, or another date. If you are unsure of your organization’s fiscal year, please review your financial statements or consult the person who files your tax return with the IRS.

In the organizational information chart, organizations are asked to input FY2022 and FY2023 (and FY2024 budgeted) financial data. Are these actuals or budgets?

• Please use actuals for fiscal periods that are already completed (FY2022 and FY2023) and use budgeted amounts for the fiscal year that has not yet ended (FY2024).

What is the distinction between earned revenue and contributed revenue?

• Earned revenue is any funds received that are in direct exchange for goods, programs, or services; these include fees paid for programming, contract income, ticket sales, concessions, membership dues, and gift shop items. Contributed income is any funds received that are not in direct exchange for goods, programs, or services; these include grant funding, individual donations, government funding, foundation support, and sponsorships.

Why is “personnel expenses” its own line separate from operating expenses?

• Personnel expenses should be included in your operating expenses line (if applicable). We ask for this number on its own as well for research and advocacy purposes. Personnel expenses are only those related to costs associated with payroll; these include salaries, wages, payroll insurance, and employee benefits. Stipends and contracted services do not fall under personnel. If your organization has no paid staff, please enter 0.

Why does the application ask how we intend to use funding?

• This question is to understand the need of organizations in Washington’s arts and culture sector. We ask for this information for research and advocacy purposes. This response will not be used to calculate your award.

Programs and Demographic Form

What do you mean by “centering” the voices of people who identify as BIPOC, as LGBTQ+, and as people with disabilities?

• We use the word “centering” rather than “including” to indicate a deeper level of engagement. “Centering” indicates that the voices of certain populations are not just included or invited to participate in an organization’s programming but are the focus of an organization’s work. People from centered populations are telling their own stories and programming is intended to be culturally relevant to their experiences.

For the purposes of the demographic survey, what is the definition of staff?

• For organizations with two or more paid staff: include all staff on payroll (those who are paid by wages or salaries, not by stipends or contract income.)
• For organizations with one paid staff, or volunteer-run organizations with no paid staff: include only volunteers who have leadership, administrative, or program coordination roles and hold a meaningful level of responsibility to manage the organization or group. Some examples of meaningful volunteer positions might include a director or program coordinator.

Do we need to complete the demographic survey? If I don’t want to provide information for my board or staff, can I just use “do not know/prefer not to answer/not applicable” for all board/staff members?

• We ask for demographic data in part to help us identify organizations whose staff and board contain significant representation from one or more of the following centered populations: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color; people with disabilities; and LGBTQ+ people.
• Applicants are encouraged to answer as completely as they can for their organization’s staff or core group of volunteers (if applicable). If desired, you may choose not to include any demographic information by selecting “do not know/prefer not to answer” for staff or core volunteers (if applicable).
• Even if you do not have complete data, we encourage you to fill out these forms with as much information as you have and use the “do not know/prefer not to answer” option as needed.

What if my organization does not have a board or governing body?

• In the application, select “No” to the question “Does your organization have a board or governing body?” Applicants who select “No” to this question will not be prompted to provide board demographic information.

What if I feel the racial identities included on the demographics form do not reflect that of my organization’s staff and/or board?

• We understand that racial identities are complex, deeply personal, and intersecting. If more than one identity applies, we encourage you to select “two or more races.” If an identity is not represented, we suggest you select “some other race alone.” We encourage you to share further clarification in the comment box provided, if desired.

How are “rural communities” defined for the purposes of this grant?

• We will be determining rurality by the population density of the county in which your organization is located.

How will the demographic data I share in this form be used and stored?

• ArtsFund understands that collecting demographic data from your staff and board can present both logistical and personal challenges, especially if your organization is composed of and/or centers members of marginalized communities. To that end, we wanted to share a little more information about why we ask for this data, how it’s used, and how it’s stored. Please click here to view our Data Use Statement.

Applying with a Fiscal Sponsor

What information and documentation do I need from my fiscal sponsor to complete my application?

• A signed letter of agreement between you and your fiscal sponsor.
• Fiscal Sponsor EIN
• Fiscal Sponsor Mailing Address
• A contact at your fiscal sponsor organization
• Fiscal Sponsor’s banking information to complete ACH Payment Form, please reference the application preview for more information.

Does my fiscal sponsor organization have to be based in Washington?

• No, your organization may be fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)3 organization that is based in another US state.

Does my fiscal sponsor organization have to meet other eligibility requirements?

• No, eligibility requirements are applicable to your organization, not your fiscal sponsor.

What is fiscal sponsorship?

• Fiscal sponsorship is an arrangement between a 501(c)(3) public charity and another entity or project in which the charity 501(c)3 receives and provides funds to advance the entity or project, while retaining discretion and control over the funds.

Can ArtsFund help me secure a fiscal sponsor?

• No, ArtsFund Staff cannot assist individual applicants in securing fiscal sponsorship.

Can my 501c3 organization act as a fiscal sponsor for another organization and apply for a Community Accelerator Grant as well?

• Yes, 501(c)3 organizations can apply for the Community Accelerator Grant for their own organization and can separately act as the fiscal sponsor for one or more organizations without their own 501(c)3 status who also wish to apply. Applications for fiscal sponsor organizations and their fiscal sponsees will be evaluated separately.

WizeHive Grant Portal

When will the application be available?

• The application link is now available. Please click here to apply. The deadline to apply is 5:00 p.m. on March 5.

Is the application deadline flexible?

• No. We are not able to accept late applications.

Do I have to complete my application in one sitting? Can someone else from my organization help me fill it out?

• No, you can login to your WizeHive account to make changes to your application anytime during the application window (12:00pm on February 5 to 5:00pm on March 5). You will be able to set up a WizeHive account when the application portal opens on February 5. Only one person from each organization can create login credentials, which can be shared.

What if I realize I made an error on my application after I submit it? Will I be able to correct it?

• After the application is submitted, it is no longer editable. If you need to make corrections before the application deadline, please reach out to accelerator@artsfund.org or call (206) 210-4670.

If I need additional technical assistance with my application, who do I contact?

• You can contact staff at ArtsFund: email accelerator@artsfund.org or call (206) 210-4670 for additional assistance or questions.

• The Community Accelerator Grant informational webinar recording is available here. The webinar walks interested applicants through the application process, offers insight into eligibility changes for Year 2, highlights updates to this year’s application, and provides an opportunity for a question-and-answer session with ArtsFund staff. This recording features ASL interpretation, visual descriptions, and professional captioning in English, and will soon include closed-captioned translations in Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, Vietnamese, Tagalog, French, Portuguese, and Korean on or before February 7, 2024.

How long will the application take to complete?

• We estimate that it will take between 3 and 10 hours to complete this grant application: 2-7 hours to gather application materials and 1-3 hours to complete the application itself.

How do I view a copy of my organization’s 2023 Community Accelerator Grant application?

• Navigate to the 2023 submission portal and login to the WizeHive account used to submit your organization’s 2023 application. You will be able to view submitted 2023 forms there. Please note, the 2023 submissions portal is available only for reference; you will need to submit all information separately for your 2024 application via the 2024 submission portal. Please email accelerator@artsfund.org for assistance with accessing your account, if needed.

Review, Evaluations, and Receiving Funding

What happens after I submit my application?

ArtsFund’s Grantmaking Team will review all applications for eligibility. If necessary, ArtsFund staff may reach out to request clarification to better determine your organization’s eligibility for funding.

When will funding decisions be made?

• Organizations will be notified of their award status by May 31, 2024. Funds will be disbursed via ACH payment by June 30, 2024.

Who determines grant awards?

• Grant award determinations are informed by a Community Advisory Panel that represents geographic and demographic diversity of Washington State. The panel will work to ensure decision making is as close to impacted communities as possible. You can learn more about members of the 2024 Community Advisory Panel on our website, linked here.

There is a wide range between $2,500 and $25,000 for the award. How will you determine who gets how much?

• Applications will be scored based on a set of criteria determined by the Community Advisory Panel. Evaluation criteria are designed to assess organizational health and to prioritize funding for organizations that center BIPOC, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, and rural populations.

If Awarded

Will I have to report that the funding was used in the way reported in the application? Will my organization be penalized if we use the funding for a different area?

• No. No reporting will be required for this grant. Grants are unrestricted, and recipient organizations should use the grant dollars as they see fit.

Are there any restrictions on what funds can be spent on?

• Yes. While funds are granted as unrestricted general operating support, and organizations should feel empowered to direct grant dollars as they see fit, the following expenses are not permitted:

o Services and/or assistance that require participation in any religious workshop, exercise, or instruction as a condition of receiving assistance; religious workshops, exercise, or instruction.
o Personal non-business expenses (i.e., home mortgage, personal utilities and expenses).
o Any illegal activities.

If my organization receives an award, can we “regrant” funds to another organization or organizations?

• Because these funds are unrestricted, ArtsFund does not retain control of funds once they are released. Your organization may grant funds to another beneficiary if desired; however, please note that it is your organization’s responsibility to ensure that funds are used for charitable purposes in alignment with this grant’s intent.