CARES Act Guidelines: Frequently Asked Questions

Can our organization apply for CARES Act funding from the Arts Endowment and apply for CARES Act programs offered by the Small Business Administration (SBA)?

Organizations are eligible to apply for Arts Endowment CARES Act funding even if they have applied for and received funding from the SBA, provided the organization isn't double-claiming any individual's salary. Recipients will be required to keep documentation to show which employees are being paid from each funding source so that the government isn't paying more than 100 percent of a salary. Applicants with additional questions about SBA programs should contact the SBA directly as we are unable to provide guidance on programs other than our own.

My organization has not received a direct grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, but we did receive sub-granted federal funds from a state arts agency, regional arts organization, or a local arts agency. Are we eligible to apply for CARES Act funding from the Art Endowment?

No. Only organizations that have received a direct award from the National Endowment for the Arts within the past four years are eligible to apply under these guidelines. Please check with your state arts agency or regional arts organization for their CARES Act funding opportunities. In addition, local arts agencies approved for CARES Act subgranting projects will be another available source of funding.

My organization has not received a direct grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, but we were a partner on an Arts Endowment grant. Are we eligible to apply for CARES Act funding from the Art Endowment?

No. Partners are not eligible. A direct grant is made to a single organization. Only an organization that was an official applicant (lead applicant) and became the grantee of record is eligible. For example, an Our Town grant was made to ABC organization for a partnership with XYZ organization. In this case, ABC organization is the grantee of record and eligible to apply for CARES Act funding, but XYZ organization is not.

Why are only past National Endowment for the Arts award recipients eligible?

There is an urgent need to provide CARES funding to arts organizations as quickly as possible.

Previous National Endowment for the Arts award recipients:

  • Provide a rational and manageable pool of potential applicants, which is important for a program that has to be implemented rapidly.
  • Have been vetted through the Arts Endowment’s rigorous review system by panels of experts in the field, the National Council on the Arts, and the Arts Endowment Chairman.
  • Due to that process, represent a diverse pool of applicants capable of carrying out projects that meet the Congressionally mandated criteria of artistic excellence and merit.
  • Represent all arts disciplines and fields, organizational sizes, and wide geographic reach.

To ensure the broadest possible reach, the Arts Endowment program for the CARES Act provides organizations with four avenues to seek support -- directly from the Arts Endowment, or through a state arts agency, a regional arts organization of state arts agencies, or a designated local arts agency that is eligible to subgrant funds. Thus, an organization that does not receive funds directly from the Arts Endowment has the potential to receive a subgrant of funds from a state arts agency, a regional arts organization, or a designated local arts agency.

Organizations that are not eligible may want to review the Arts Endowment's Grants for Arts Projects guidelines.

Why is support limited to jobs and facilities costs?

While the legislation allows funds to be used for general operating expenses, narrowing grants to jobs and facilities costs makes it possible for the National Endowment for the Arts to expedite the distribution of critical CARES Act funds. Complex projects and varied costs slow down the review and processing of grants.

Can an organization apply for both salary/contract support and facilities costs?

Yes, an organization can apply for both salary/contract support and facilities costs.

Is there a salary cap on a job(s) for which my organization can seek support?

No. The job(s) for which you request support must be critical to your organization's mission and core work. While there is no limit on the salary your organization pays for the position(s), the maximum amount that the Arts Endowment will provide to your organization, in total, is $50,000. The Arts Endowment funds may be used for full or partial support of one or more salaries. These Arts Endowment grants are no cost share/nonmatching. However, if the Arts Endowment provides only partial support for a salary, it's up to your organization to cover the balance from other sources, as appropriate.

Can my organization apply for an existing position even if it is currently unfilled?

Yes. We realize that an organization may have a critical position that is currently unfilled due to numerous reasons including but not limited to finances.

If personnel are already included in a current Arts Endowment grant, can I request support for them under this program?

Yes, as long as each request is for a distinctly different project. A grantee may not receive more than one Arts Endowment grant for the same project during the same or an overlapping period of support. 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. There can be no commingling of funds and grantees are required to maintain records, such as time and effort reports, that easily account for these separate costs.

Can my organization apply for contracted workers or just salaried ones?

An organization may apply for both contracted and salaried workers.

For the CARES Act funding grant application, what are allowable facilities costs?

Allowable facilities costs are costs that are necessary for the operation of business. They are:

  • Rent
  • Mortgage
  • Utilities
  • Equipment
  • Information technology
  • Security
  • Insurance
  • Building maintenance
  • Cleaning services

See the instructions for the Project Budget for detailed information on including facilities costs as line items under Direct Costs: Other.

Why are only certain types of organizations able to subgrant?

Congress has prohibited the Arts Endowment from making awards for subgranting activity in most instances. Exceptions exist only for state arts agencies, their regional arts organizations, and local arts agencies designated to operate on behalf of local governments.

If my organization is eligible and applies for a subgranting program, are we limited to providing a maximum of $50,000 to any one subgrantee?

Any organization that receives funds for subgranting should award those funds in a manner that will impact its constituency broadly. While there are no specific dollar limits on the amount of any subgrant, the expectation is that funds will be distributed broadly, including efforts to reach underserved populations wherever appropriate.

Can individuals apply?

No, individuals cannot apply for CARES Act funding. Congress has prohibited the Arts Endowment from making direct grants to individuals except for Literature Fellowships, NEA Jazz Masters Fellowships, and NEA National Heritage Fellowships in the Folk & Traditional Arts. Individuals can apply directly for Literature Fellowships. Jazz Masters Fellowships and Heritage Fellowships are awarded based on nominations from the public.

Do I have to submit my application through

Yes. Renew/verify your registration with and make sure that all of your information is current before you apply.

What if my registration is expired?

The requirement for active SAM and DUNS registrations at the time of application in has been relaxed in response to COVID-19.

Applicants with ACTIVE SAM registrations expiring before May 16, 2020 will be afforded a one-time extension of 60 days.

Applicants with INACTIVE SAM registrations will not receive a 60-day extension. However you may still apply. will not validate SAM registrations at the time of application. In the meantime, renew your SAM registration as soon as possible because we will still check your SAM and DUNS registrations before making a grant award.