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Nonprofit Community Recovery (NCR) Grant Application FAQ  

The Washington State Department of Commerce is pleased to partner with ArtsFund to administer over $10 million in Nonprofit Community Recovery (NCR) grants.  

Nonprofits help build community; their recovery is critical to a thriving post-pandemic economy and healthy communities within Washington. These pandemic recovery grants will be administered by ArtsFund to Washington nonprofits meeting the eligibility requirements listed below. Organizations that are led by and/or serve under-resourced communities, culturally diverse populations, and underrepresented groups are encouraged to apply.  

Grants will be distributed to nonprofits statewide in four focus areas listed below. Washington State Department of Commerce is partnering with ArtsFund to center the grants program on arts, cultural, science, and heritage organizations. Grants will also be awarded to nonprofit neighborhood associations, sports and recreation organizations, and veterans organizations.  

The deadline to apply was May 24, 2021 at 11:59pm.

Please review the FAQ below before applying and contact if you have any questions.  

Recognition & Reporting Requirements

Are there any reporting or recognition requirements associated with receiving an NCR grant?

No, there are no reporting or recognition requirements associated with receiving a grant through the Nonprofit Community Recovery Grants program.


1. What are the eligibility requirements to apply for an NCR grant? 

In order to be eligible, your organization must meet all of the following criteria: 

• Have 501(c)(3) status, or fiscal sponsorship by a 501(c)(3), with appropriate documentation since FY2019

• Have a 2019 annual operating budget greater than $25,000 

• Operate in one or more of the following four focus areas: 

Arts, culture, science, and heritage organizations
Defined as organizations whose primary mission is to offer or promote artistic, creative, cultural, scientific, technology or heritage programs for the enrichment of their community.

Neighborhood Associations
Defined as organizations whose primary mission is to make improvements to a community’s social health, safety, well-being, and overall functioning within a well-defined geographic area. These organizations will be focused specifically on a geographic area and should reference that specific area prominently in their outreach and literature. For more information on types of organizations eligible for this category, please see FAQ 6.

Sports and Recreation Organizations
Defined as organizations whose primary mission is to provide sports or physical recreation programs for children and/or adults. Programs must have designated coaches and organized practices.

Veterans Organizations
Defined as organizations whose primary mission is to serve veterans through their programming or services.  

Organizations considered ineligible to apply:  

• Individuals
• For-profit organizations
• Political advocacy organizations
• Homeowners’ associations
• Organizations located outside of Washington state 

2. For organizations fiscally sponsored by a 501(c)(3):

Organizations that are fiscally sponsored can apply under their fiscal sponsor. You must provide a signed fiscal sponsor agreement dates no later than January 1, 2019.
Consistent federal recognition from 2019 is required, but organizations are still eligible if fiscal sponsorship has changed.
• In your application:

Date of organization established: Input date your organization’s establishment date, not your fiscal sponsor’s date.
Mailing address: Input your fiscal sponsor’s mailing address.
EIN: Input your fiscal sponsor’s EINS
990: Upload your fiscal sponsor’s 990 form
Board Member demographics: If the organization has a governing board of directors, please fill out the demographic survey based on that body. If the organization does not have a governing board of directors, then yes – fill out the survey based on the advisory group. If none of the above, fill in the “Do not know/prefer not to answer/not applicable” field. Fiscally sponsored organizations should not include the demographic information of their fiscal sponsor’s board.

3. Can an organization apply to fund a specific program that falls under a focus area, if the applicant organization’s primary mission does not? 

This funding opportunity is only open to organizations whose primary mission falls under the categories of: arts, culture, science, and heritage; neighborhood associations (must have a defined geographic focus in its mission); sports and recreation organizations (must be an organized sport with a coach and players); and veterans associations. Programs falling under these categories operated by organizations with broader missions are not eligible for this opportunity. However, organizations with other or broader missions may be eligible for other Washington State Department of Commerce grant opportunities. Please visit to learn more:

4. If this is managed by ArtsFund, is the NCR grant just for arts organizations? 

No, we are partnering with the state Department of Commerce to administer this nonprofit grant program for eligible science, heritage, neighborhood, sports and recreation, veterans  organizations, and arts and culture organizations.  

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


6. What kinds of organizations are eligible under the ‘neighborhood association’ category? 

This category is narrowly defined to include neighborhood associations focused on beautification, education, safety, communication, and community building within a specific, local geographic area.

Examples include: The Phinney Neighborhood Association in Seattle and the South Perry Business and Neighborhood Association in Spokane.  

The following types of organizations are not eligible:
• Boys and Girls Clubs
• Community Centers
• Community Foundations
• Daycares and preschools
• Food banks
• Homeowners’ associations
• Homeless shelters
Humane Societies and animal welfare organizations
• Medical facilities

• Senior centers
• YMCAs and YWCAs

7. What is a heritage organization? Does this include small museums? 

An organization whose primarily mission is in collection, documentation, preservation, and interpretation of heritage resources held in the public trust, such as museums, historical societies, genealogical societies, ethnic heritage groups, historic landmarks, and archives. Heritage can include local history, ethnic history, folklore, indigenous history, traditional culture, and archaeological resources. Organizations may be 501c3 or have a fiscal sponsor.

8. What is a science or technology organization? 

It means you are a nonprofit organization dedicated to community learning about the fields of science or technology.  

9. Ours is a rural organization. Can we apply? 

Yes, we encourage you if you are eligible (see eligibility requirements) and, if so, apply.  

10. My organization is located in Oregon/Idaho but many of our participants are Washington residentscan we apply? 

No, your organization must be located in Washington state. 

11. Are we eligible if we are part of a Native American tribal program? 

Yes, as long as you are a 501c3.  

12. Our sports organization involves very young children/elderly persons. Are we eligible? 

Yes, as long as you have designated coaches and organized practices. 

13. Are previous ArtsFund grantees eligible to apply 

Yes, as long as you are not using this grant funding to cover expenses covered by other COVID-19 related loan or grant programs.  

Financial Information:

14. In the organizational information chart, organizations are asked to input FY2019 and FY2020 (and FY2021 budgeted) financial data – are these actuals or budgets?

Actuals for FY2019 for fiscal periods that are already completed. Budgeted for fiscal years that have not yet ended.

15. 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.

16. Should we include COVID-related relief income (PPP, CARES, EIDL, SVOG, state, county), and in what revenue category do we count it?

For the purposes of this application, COVID-related relief funds should be included in the organizations’ contributed revenue.

17. What is the distinction between operating expenses and personnel expenses? Does personnel include contractors and/or stipend volunteers?

Operating expenses are all expenses associated with running your organization. In addition to personnel expenses, other common expense categories are supplies, equipment, rent/mortgage, utilities, insurance, and program stipends. 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.

Use of Funding

18. What do you mean by financial hardship incurred by the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Examples include lost income due to fewer donors, or inability to hold revenue-raising public programs, or increased costs related to things like enhanced sanitation activities and purchasing personal protective equipment.   

19. When do organizations need to have spent their funds?

If awarded, this funding must cover expenses incurred between March 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021. Incurred expenses are any expenses for which cash has already been spent or those expenses that have been contracted and invoiced (often characterized as “balance due”) but not yet paid. This funding does not prescribe when those balances must be paid.

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

Funds cannot be spent on expenses already covered by other COVID-19 related public funding sources including Paycheck Protection Program funds; 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; and ineligible expenses under the federal CARES Act which include: personal non-business expenses (i.e., home mortgage, personal utilities); payment of state or Federal taxes; and lobbying expenses/activities).

Demographic Survey

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

For organizations with paid staff, include all staff on payroll (those who are paid by wages or salaries, not by stipends or contract income.)

For volunteer-run organizations with no paid staff, only include 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, program coordinator, or team coach.

Evaluation Criteria

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

A panel of statewide sector representatives will review the financial and narrative weights of applications and apply final scoring and awards. All completed applications from eligible organizations will be reviewed through an evaluation process based on:

Fiscal impact from COVID-19 on earned and contributed revenue, and personnel expenses for FY2020 and FY2021 budgeted
Questionnaire about the effects from COVID-19 on operations
Questionnaire about diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts over the past 12 months
A 75-word narrative about the positive effects this funding would have on the ability to carry out organizational mission.

23. When will funding decisions be made?  

Funds will be disbursed on or before June 30, 2021.     

24. What do you mean by “ArtsFund is committed to equity within our state”? Does this include persons with disabilities? 

ArtsFund encourages organizations who are led by and/or serve under-resourced communities, culturally diverse populations, and underrepresented groups to apply. This includes people that identify as BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, and People of Color), as people with disabilities, and as LGBTQ+.  

WizeHive Portal

25. Is the application deadline flexible? 

No, we are not able to accept late applications.  

26. 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 (1:00pm on May 10th – 11:59pm on May 24th). You will be able to set up a Wizehive account when the application portal opens. Only one person from each organization can create login credentials, which can be shared.

To preview the application, click here.

27. 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 or call (206) 203-2255.

28. If I need additional technical assistance on my application, who do I contact?  

You can contact staff at ArtsFund: email or call (206) 203-2255 for additional assistance or questions. 

We hosted a public info webinar on May 11th. To view the recording, please click here. The webinar recording includes automatically generated subtitles and ASL interpretation.