The following criteria are considered in the review of applications:

A. Planning Process

Constituents are involved in the organization’s planning process, incorporating:

  1. Opportunities for a wide range of constituents to participate in the planning process, including those in underserved communities.
  2. Constituent engagement through a wide variety of meeting formats and media, such as public meetings, surveys, interviews, electronic media and/or other methods appropriate to the constituent groups.
  3. Responses to recommendations and the priorities identified through the planning process.
  4. Metrics and/or other relevant information used to monitor the organization’s progress in achieving its goals.

B. Implementation and Accomplishments

The organization’s programs, activities, and other accomplishments:

  1. Respond to the priorities identified by constituents during the planning process and/or changing circumstances in the region.
  2. Leverage public and private partnerships, as appropriate.
  3. Demonstrate the organization’s cost effectiveness and record of growing and diversifying its revenue sources, specifically from non-federal sources.

Multi-Year Approval

The National Endowment for the Arts uses staggered, multi-year approval for these awards. While each organization is required to submit an application annually, those organizations that are determined to have addressed satisfactorily the requirements and review criteria receive three-year approval of their proposals. They are not required to submit another full-scale application, including all material necessary for review, for another three years. In the other years ("off years"), the application requirements are simplified greatly.
In recommending action on proposals, the National Endowment for the Arts has a variety of options ranging from full three-year approval, to more limited or contingent approval requiring interim response, to a determination not to provide funding.

What Happens to Your Partnership Agreement Application

Applications are evaluated according to the "Review Criteria" for their category.

Funding recommendations are considered by the National Council on the Arts, where they are reviewed in open session. The Council makes recommendations to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Chairman reviews the Council’s recommendations and makes the final decision on all grant awards. Applicants are then notified of funding decisions.

Contact the State & Regional staff (Andi Mathis at or 202-682-5430) if you have questions about the review process.

NOTE: All recommended applications undergo a review to evaluate risk posed by the applicant prior to making a federal award. This may include past performance on grants, meeting reporting deadlines, compliance with terms and conditions, audit findings, etc.