CARES Act Guidelines: Applicant Eligibility

Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations; units of state or local government; or federally recognized tribal communities or tribes may apply. Applicants may be arts organizations, local arts agencies, arts service organizations, local education agencies (school districts), and other organizations that can help advance the goals of the National Endowment for the Arts.

To be eligible, the applicant organization must:

  • Have received an Arts Endowment award within the past four years (beginning with awards that were made in FY 2017 as indicated by an award letter that is dated on or after October 1, 2016, and an award number that begins with "17 - "). When using FY 2020 as the basis for eligibility, an organization's application must have been approved by the National Council on the Arts and the Arts Endowment Chairman no later than the March 2020 meeting of the National Council on the Arts.
  • Meet the National Endowment for the Arts’ "Legal Requirements" including nonprofit, tax-exempt status at the time of application. (All organizations must apply directly on their own behalf. Applications through a fiscal sponsor/agent are not allowed. See more information on fiscal sponsors/agents.)
  • Have submitted acceptable Final Report packages by the due date(s) for all Arts Endowment award(s) previously received.

Each organization is limited to one application. Exceptions to this one-application rule are made only for parent organizations applying on behalf of separately identifiable and independent components. To be eligible, an independent component must have received Arts Endowment support during the period outlined above. For a definition of an eligible independent component see "Parent (and Related) Organizations" in the Grants for Arts Projects guidelines.

You may apply to other National Endowment for the Arts funding opportunities, including Grants for Arts Projects. In each case, the request must be for a distinctly different project or a distinctly different phase of the same project, with a different period of performance and costs. For example, an orchestra could request support for an arts education coordinator through this program (one project). That same arts education coordinator could work on programs related to another Arts Endowment grant (a second project), as long as the same time is not charged to both projects.

The designated fifty state and six jurisdictional arts agencies (SAAs), their regional arts organizations (RAOs), and the national service organization of SAAs and RAOs are not eligible to apply under these guidelines. SAAs and RAOs receive CARES Act funds separately.