The Metro Regional Arts Council is seeking applications for its Flexible Support Grant Program to help groups create access to the arts and stay connected to audiences/community across the seven-county metro area: Anoka, Carver, Dakota, Hennepin, Ramsey, Scott, and Washington counties. Projects must benefit Minnesotans.
This program supports the production of artistic projects, and/or activities that strengthen the organizational capacity and operations of groups providing access to the arts.
MRAC believes that Organizational Capacity, Arts Programming, and Operations are all critical to a group increasing a community’s access to the arts. Groups need to offer Arts Programming, systems and plans in place to provide that programming (Organizational Capacity), and the people/things to build and execute on those systems and deliver those programs (Operations).
- The Flexible Support grant provides up to $15,000 in funding.
Applicant groups must be one of the following:
- Arts groups and organizations
- Federally tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organizations with annual operating expenses of $400,000 or less.
- MRAC may ask for more information, such as an audit or a board-approved financial statement if the organization appears to have been approaching the $400,000 limit in their previous year. If a previous year’s audit is not yet finished, a contingency may be placed on that award until the audit or board-approved financial statement proves eligibility.
- Cultural groups and organizations
- Federally tax-exempt 501(c)(3) culturally-specific nonprofit organizations that provide arts and non-arts programming with annual arts programming expenses of $400,000 or less.
- Fiscally sponsored groups with art projects and annual operating expenses of $400,000 or less.
- A fiscally sponsored group must be comprised of at least three people.
- The group must have an advisory committee of at least three people that is responsible for oversight of project and grant funds.
- Groups must have a fiscal sponsor. Fiscal Sponsors must be registered with the IRS as a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a Minnesota address and have an active registration with the Minnesota Secretary of State as a nonprofit organization.
- Non-arts and non-cultural nonprofit organizations
- Non-arts and non-cultural nonprofit organizations with annual arts programming expenses of $400,000 or less. Non-arts and non-cultural nonprofit organizations must be able to isolate their arts programming revenues and expenses from non-arts and non-cultural financial activity.
- A public entity such as a unit of state, local, or tribal government with arts expenses of $400,000 or less.
- Community education units of a school district in the seven-county metro area with arts budgets of any size.
- Eligible nonprofit, non-arts, and non-cultural organizations must describe how this request will create access to the arts and ensure connection to audiences across the seven-county metro.
Applicant groups cannot be:
- Public, private, alternative, charter, transitional, or home schools (this includes school support organizations such as PTAs, PTOs, school foundations, etc.).
- Organizations whose main purpose is to raise funds for another person, organization, or cause.
This program does not fund:
- Projects that do not uphold applicable federal, state, and local laws, rules, regulations, and ordinances in relation to the use of MRAC funds.
- Attendance at training events/conferences outside the state of Minnesota.
- Projects that are managed by another entity other than the applicant.
- Projects and activities designed to raise funds/regrant/donate funds on behalf of another person, organization, or cause. MRAC funds cannot be contributed to another organization or person.
- Projects that attempt to influence any state or federal legislation or appropriation; to support activities that are essential for the religious socialization of the participants or audience; or discriminate against persons or groups.
- Projects that include costs incurred before the Earliest Grant Expenditure Date. All expenses included in the grant proposal must be incurred on or after this date. Including expenses incurred prior to this date may deem the entire application ineligible.
- Projects for which any portion of activities take place after June 30 of the MRAC fiscal year following the one in which the award was issued are ineligible. The latest project end date is June 30, 2022. This means that the project is complete and all grant funds have been expended.
- Project budgets that include unrealized income such as scholarships or in-kind support.
- Projects in which any portion of activities are located outside the seven-county metro area are ineligible. Exception: attendance at training/conference events may be outside of the seven-county metro area as long as they take place in Minnesota.
- These dollars cannot substitute other state dollars. This includes:
- Requests in which any portion of the project budget will be used to pay an artist or arts organization to provide essentially the same services that an ongoing teacher, teaching staff, or arts specialist previously provided or would be expected to provide in a school setting are ineligible.
- Requests in which the project will replace discontinued or nonexistent arts programs that should be fulfilling the state’s arts curriculum requirements in schools are ineligible.
- The purchase of real estate property.
- Development of endowments.
- Capital projects (facility improvements) to leased spaces that are not approved by the property owner are not eligible. No capital improvements can be made to homes. Written permission from the property owner of the space is required.
- Debt reduction and building cash reserves.
- Travel expenses to or from Minnesota. You may engage an out-of-state artist or consultant within your project, but their travel expense to get to or from Minnesota cannot be included in an MRAC request.
- Expenses to purchase alcoholic beverages or to pay associated costs (servers, insurance, liquor licenses, etc.).
- Costs for relocating the applicant’s legal address/residence outside the state of Minnesota.
- Using these funds as a match requirement for other MRAC awarded grants.
- Project expenses that are included in another MRAC grant.
The following will be reviewed by the panel:
- Group’s Purpose and Background (1500 characters);
- Community (3000 characters);
- Proposed Project (4000 characters);
- Impact (3000 characters);
- Project Personnel List (2000 characters);
- Board of Directors/Advisory Committee (500 characters);
- Project Expense Budget (1000 characters);
- Project Income Budget (if applicable) (1000 characters).
The following will not be reviewed by the panel:
- Fiscal sponsor letter (one upload, for fiscally sponsored groups only);
- Property owner permission letter (one upload, if applicable);
- Evaluation plan;
- Additional Data.
Application Tips: You will type your application into the text boxes online. Character counts include letters, numbers, spaces, and paragraph breaks. There is no formatting (bold or italics). You may find that you do not need all the characters allotted. Do not include links in narrative text fields, the review will be limited to your application. The application system will auto-save your work every few minutes, but some applicants may wish to work in another document and paste your answers in once written. They provide templates on their website for working on your proposal before uploading it to the online form.