Our Town Eligibility

All applications must have partnerships that involve two primary partners: a nonprofit organization and a local governmental entity. One of the two primary partners must be a cultural (arts or design) organization. Additional partners are encouraged.

One of the two primary partners must act as the official applicant (lead applicant). This lead applicant must meet the eligibility requirements, submit the application, and assume full responsibility for the grant.

Eligible lead applicants are:

  • Local governments, including counties, parishes, cities, towns, villages, or federally recognized tribal governments. Local arts agencies or other departments, agencies, or entities within an eligible local government may submit the application on behalf of that local government. The following do not qualify as local governments: state level government agencies, state higher education institutions, regional governments, and quasi-government organizations (e.g., regional planning organizations, economic development authorities, business improvement districts).
  • A public entity or a nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization with a documented three-year history of programming.

To be eligible, the lead applicant organization must:

  • For an organization other than a local government, have a three-year history of programming prior to the application deadline.
  • Meet the Arts Endowment's "Legal Requirements," including nonprofit, tax-exempt status at the time of application.
  • Have submitted acceptable Final Report packages by the due date(s) for all Arts Endowment award(s) previously received.

Additional partners beyond the two primary partners are encouraged. These may include a variety of entities such as state level government agencies, foundations, arts organizations and artists, nonprofit organizations, design professionals and design centers, educational institutions, real estate developers, business leaders, and community organizations, as well as public and governmental entities. Federal agencies cannot be monetary partners.

The designated state and jurisdictional arts agencies (SAAs) and their regional arts organizations (RAOs) may serve as partners, but not primary partners, in Our Town projects. However, all grant funds must be passed on to the other partners. NEA funds can’t support any SAA or RAO costs.

All applicants must have a DUNS number (www.dnb.com) and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM, www.sam.gov) and maintain an active SAM registration until the application process is complete, and should a grant be made, throughout the life of the award. Finalize a new or renew an existing registration at least two weeks before the application deadline. This action should allow you time to resolve any issues that may arise. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your inability to submit your application. Maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register or renew at least two weeks before the deadline.

Application Restrictions

Each local government -- whether applying as the lead applicant or as the primary partner with a nonprofit organization -- is limited to one application. The local government must coordinate internally to ensure that only one application is submitted to the NEA, rather than multiple applications through its various offices. The submitted application must be identified as proposing the chosen project by a formal endorsement letter from the highest ranking official of the local government. If more than one application is submitted for a government, we will ask the highest ranking official to select one application to move forward.

Only one application per geographically represented area will be accepted. For example, if both a county and a city within that county apply, no project activities in the county’s project can take place in the city’s boundaries, unless they are partnering on the same grant. For more information on eligibility, see the "Frequently Asked Questions."

Current FY 2012 Our Town grantees and their officially named partners are not eligible to apply under these FY 2013 Our Town guidelines. They may apply to the Our Town category again for FY 2014.

Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative grantees (FY 2010) may apply for Our Town, but must request support for a distinctly different project, or a distinctly different phase of the project, from that which was funded with the Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative grant. All Mayors' Institute on City Design 25th Anniversary Initiative grant activities must be complete and your final report must be submitted by June 1, 2013, before a FY 2013 Our Town grant can be awarded.

Other NEA Funding Opportunities

You may apply to other Arts Endowment funding opportunities, including Art Works or Challenge America Fast-Track, in addition to Our Town. In each case, the request must be for a distinctly different project. If you have applied to the NEA in the past and were not recommended for funding, you may apply again to any funding opportunity, including Our Town.