STATE PARTNERSHIP AGREEMENTS: How to Prepare and Submit an Application

These application guidelines provide all of the information that you need to submit an application. Read these instructions in their entirety before you begin the application process.

The National Endowment for the Arts uses staggered, multi-year review for SAA Partnership Agreements. The organizations listed below (“on-year” applicants) are required to submit full-scale applications, while all other SAAs not listed below (“off-year” applicants) have simplified requirements.

See “Instructions for On-Year and Off-Year Applicants” below for more information.

ON-YEAR SAAs FOR FY 2021:

Alabama, Arkansas, DC, Georgia, Guam, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Puerto Rico, South Dakota

Using Grants.gov

Electronic application through Grants.gov is MANDATORY.

The Grants.gov system must receive your validated and accepted application no later than 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time, on September 30, 2020.

Register or renew/verify your registration with Grants.gov and SAM.gov at least two weeks before the deadline.

Submit your application by September 20, 2020, to give yourself ample time to resolve any problems that you might encounter. You take significant risk by waiting until the day of the deadline to submit your application. Late applications will not be accepted.

Renew/Verify Your Registration [Back to Top]

Before submitting an application, your organization must register or renew/verify its current registration with both Grants.gov and the System for Award Management (SAM). Failure to comply with these requirements will result in your inability to submit an application.

For assistance with registration, contact:

  • SAM Federal Service Desk: Call 1-866-606-8220 or see the information posted on the SAM website at SAM User Help.

  • Grants.gov Contact Center: Call 1-800-518-4726, email support@grants.gov, or consult the information posted on the Grants.gov website at Support. The Grants.gov Contact Center is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Go to the Grant Opportunity Package [Back to Top]

  1. Access the application package on Grants.gov by clicking on the link below:

    CLICK HERE TO GO TO THE GRANT OPPORTUNITY PACKAGE ON GRANTS.GOV

          [Funding Opportunity Number: 2021NEA04PA]

    When you go to Grants.gov through the link above, the Grants.gov “View Grant Opportunity” screen will open. Choose “Apply” in the “Action” area. On the next screen, choose “Apply” again. You will be prompted to enter your Grants.gov Username and Password.

    You will apply using a Grants.gov Workspace. To create a Workspace, look for the “Application Filing Name” field above the “Create Workspace” button (you must be logged in as the Authorized Organization Representative or AOR to be able to see this button and create the Workspace). Enter the legal name of your organization, click the “Create Workspace” button, and follow the screens from there. If you want to learn more about using Grants.gov’s Workspace, see here.

  2. After accessing the Grant Opportunity Package, you can find each Mandatory form by clicking on it OR you can scroll down your screen and you will come to each form in succession. The forms are:

    • Application for Federal Domestic Assistance (SF-424 Mandatory): This form asks for basic information about your organization and application. Complete this form first. Data entered here will populate fields of other forms where possible. See instructions for completing this form below.

    • Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL): See instructions for completing this form below.

    • Attachments Form: This is not a form in the conventional sense, but rather a place to attach additional items (e.g., your application narrative and strategic plan) that must be included for your Grants.gov application package to be considered complete. See instructions for completing this form below.

Instructions for On-Year and Off-Year Applicants

Follow Steps 1-4 below.

A complete application for on-year applicants consists of the following:

  • Application for Federal Domestic Assistance (SF-424 Mandatory)
  • Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL)
  • Attachments Form to which you have attached:
    • Staffing List
    • Board Membership List
    • Application Narrative
    • Strategic Plan
    • Changes in Conflict of Interest/Appeals
    • Poetry Out Loud Plan

Not all of the items that constitute a complete on-year application will be reviewed by Partnership Agreements reviewers. Only the following items will be reviewed:

  • Narrative with links to online support materials
  • Board Membership List
  • Strategic Plan
  • Staffing List

A complete application for off-year applicants consists ofthe following:

  • Application for Federal Domestic Assistance (SF-424 Mandatory)
  • Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL)
  • Attachments Form to which you have attached:
    • Staffing List
    • Board Membership List
    • Application Narrative (1-page)
    • Changes in Conflict of Interest/Appeals
    • Poetry Out Loud Plan

Application narratives should not refer reviewers to any other application materials that you submit.

NOTE FOR THE GRANTS.GOV FORMS THAT FOLLOW:  All asterisked (*) items and yellow fields on the Grants.gov forms are required and must be completed before you will be able to submit. Do not type in all capital letters when completing the forms. Enter information directly into the forms. Do not copy from an old application package or another document and paste into the forms.

Step 1: Fill out the Application for Federal Domestic Assistance (SF-424 Mandatory) [Back to Top]

1. Items 1a-d default to certain selections; do not change them.

2. Date Received: This will be filled automatically with the date that you submit your application; leave blank.

3. Applicant Identifier: This is for your own use or you can leave blank.

4., 5., and 6.: Leave blank.

7. Applicant Information:

a. Legal Name: The name provided here must be the applicant's legal name as it appears in the current IRS 501(c)(3) status letter or in the official document that identifies the organization as a unit of state or local government. (Do not use your organization's popular name, if different.)

b. Employer/Taxpayer Identification Number (EIN/TIN): Enter the 9-digit number that was assigned by the Internal Revenue Service; do not use a Social Security Number.

c. Organizational DUNS: All organizational applicants for federal funds must have a DUNS number, which is recognized as the universal standard for identifying organizations worldwide. The number that you enter here must agree with the number (either 9 or 13 digits) that you used with SAM (System for Award Management) as part of your Grants.gov registration. Otherwise, your application will not be validated by Grants.gov and will be rejected.

d. Address: Use Street 1 for your organization’s physical street address. This address should agree with the address that you used with the SAM (System for Award Management). In addition, use Street 2 for your organization’s mailing address if it differs from the physical street address.

In the Zip/Postal Code box, organizations in the United States should enter the full 9-digit zip code that was assigned by the U.S. Postal Service. If you do not know your full zip code, you may look it up at www.usps.com/zip4/.

e. Organizational Unit: Leave blank.

f. Name and contact information of person to be contacted on matters involving this application: Provide the requested information for the individual who should be contacted on all matters involving this application and the administration of any grant that may be awarded. Due to restrictions from the Department of Homeland Security we are not able to send emails to alias addresses that forward to another email account. Do not enter this type of email address.

8a. Type of Applicant: Select the item that best characterizes your organization from the menu in the first drop down box. An additional description is optional.

9. Name of Federal Agency: This has been pre-populated.

10. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: This has been pre-populated.

11. Descriptive Title of Applicant’s Project: Enter Partnership Agreement.

12. Areas Affected by Funding: Leave blank.

13. Congressional District Information:

a. Applicant: Enter the number of the Congressional District where the applicant organization is located. Use the following format: 2 character State Abbreviation-3 character District Number. For example, if your organization is located in the 5th Congressional District of California, enter "CA-005." If your state has a single At-Large Representative or your territory has a single Delegate, enter your 2 character state/territory abbreviation and "-000." If you need help determining your district, visit the House of Representatives website at www.house.gov and use the "Find Your Representative" tool.

b. Project: Leave blank.

14. Funding Period: Enter the beginning and ending dates for your requested period of performance, i.e., the span of time necessary to plan, execute, and close out your Partnership Agreement. The start date should be the first day of the month, and the end date should be the last day of the month. Our period of performance may start on or after July 1, 2021. Generally, a period of performance of up to two years is allowed.

15. Estimated Funding:

a. Federal: Enter "0."

b. Match: Leave blank.

16. State Executive Order 12372 Process: Applicants should contact the State Single Point of Contact for Executive Order 12372 to determine whether this application is subject to their state’s intergovernmental review process. The U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) maintains a list of official State Single Points of Contact designated by the States to review and coordinate proposed federal financial assistance and direct federal development. See https://www.whitehouse.gov/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/SPOC-February-2019.pdf.

17. Is the Applicant Delinquent on Any Federal Debt?: Examples of relevant debt include delinquent payroll or other taxes, audit disallowances, and benefit overpayments. If your response is "yes," click on the "Yes" box and include an explanation with your application.

18. Authorized Representative: Enter the requested information for the AOR (Authorized Organization Representative) who will be submitting this application to Grants.gov. The AOR must have the legal authority to obligate your organization. Due to restrictions from the Department of Homeland Security we are not able to send emails to alias addresses that forward to another email account. Do not enter this type of email address. By clicking the "I Agree" box at the top of Item 17, this individual will be certifying compliance with relevant federal requirements on your organization's behalf. (These requirements can be found in the Assurance of Compliance section of these guidelines.) The "Signature of Authorized Representative" and "Date Signed" boxes will be populated by Grants.gov upon submission of the application.

Stop after item 18. Do not add attachments.

Step 2: Fill out the Disclosure of Lobbying Activities (SF-LLL) [Back to Top]

Items 1.-3. default to certain selections; do not change them.

4. Name and Address of Reporting Entity: Provide the requested information for the reporting entity. Include Congressional District, if known.

5. If Reporting Entity in No. 4 is Subawardee: Leave blank.

6. Federal Department/Agency: Enter "National Endowment for the Arts."

7. Federal Program: This has been pre-populated.

8. Federal Action Number, if known: Leave blank.

9. Award Amount, if known: Leave blank.

10. a. Name and Address of Lobbying Registrant: Provide the requested information for the registrant under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 engaged by the reporting entity identified in item 4 to influence the covered federal action. If not applicable, enter "N/A" in the fields for First Name, Last Name, Address 1, and City.

b. Individual Performing Services: Enter the name of the individual performing services, and include an address if different from 10 (a). If not applicable, enter "N/A" in the fields for First Name, Last Name, Address 1, and City.

11. Authorized Representative: Provide the requested information for the AOR (Authorized Organization Representative) who will be submitting the Partnership Agreements application to Grants.gov. The "Signature" and "Date" boxes will be populated by Grants.gov upon submission of the application.

Step 3: Complete and Attach Required Items to the Attachments Form [Back to Top]

The "Attachments Form" is not a form in the conventional sense. Rather, it is a place to attach documents that you have completed and saved elsewhere on your computer.

  1. All attachments are documents (e.g., narratives, lists) that you will develop in accordance with the instructions provided. These items must be submitted as PDF files.

    Do not create PDFs of your electronic documents by scanning. Do not embed non-printable media files (video and/or sound) in your PDF documents. Static images (e.g., pictures) are acceptable. Do not enable any document security settings or password-protect any PDF file you submit to us.

    No attachment should be more than 2 MB.

  2. Label pages clearly with the name of the item (e.g., Staffing List) and your organization's legal name. Leave a margin of at least one inch at the top, bottom, and sides of all pages. Do not reduce type below 12 point font size. Do not type in all capital letters. Number pages sequentially; place numbers on the bottom right hand corner of each page. Excess pages will be removed and will not be reviewed.

  3. Name your files as indicated below and attach them in the proper order. Limit file names to 50 characters and use only the following characters when naming your attachments: A-Z, a-z, 0-9, underscore (_), hyphen (-), space, and period. You cannot change the name of a file on the Attachments Form. Therefore make certain that each file is named correctly before you attach it. Your agency name (or acronym) must be included in each file name (e.g. "ABCArtsCouncilStaff").

When you open the Grants.gov Attachments Form, you will find 15 attachment buttons. By clicking on a button, you will be able to choose the PDF file from your computer that you wish to attach. Attach the proper file to the proper button as listed below.

The Attachments

ATTACHMENT BUTTON 1: STAFFING LIST (On-Year AND Off-Year Applicants)

To this button, attach a one-page Staffing List. The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "Staff" (e.g., "ABCArtsCouncilStaff").

Label the page clearly with your organization's legal name and "Staffing List." Set your page up with two columns with these headings: 1) Name, and 2) Position Title/Area of Responsibility.

Provide the requested information on all professional staff. Include both salaried and contractual personnel (including Arts Education and Folk & Traditional Arts staff, and Poetry Out Loud Coordinators), with the exception of artists who spend more than 50% of their working time away from your offices.

  • Place "(504)" in parentheses by the name of the staff member who serves as your organization's 504 coordinator.

  • Indicate by asterisk (*) personnel who are one or more of the following: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Black or African American, or Hispanic or Latino.

Example:

Name

Position Title/Area of Responsibility

Jane Doe *

Executive Director

John Smith (504)

Director for Education

Following this information, provide a link to the enabling legislation, executive order, or comparable documentation that shows that your organization is officially designated the State Arts Agency responsible for:

  1. Developing a statewide arts plan and establishing arts and cultural policy with statewide impact; and
  2. Coordinating and administering all financial support received from the National Endowment for the Arts and the State in conjunction with the SAA Partnership Agreement.      

ATTACHMENT BUTTON 2: BOARD MEMBERSHIP LIST (On-Year AND Off-Year Applicants)

To this button, attach a one-page Board Membership List. The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "Board."

Label the page clearly with your organization's legal name and "Board Membership List." Set your page up with four columns with these headings: 1) Name, 2) Occupation, 3) City, and 4) Arts Interest/Affiliation.

Provide the requested information on all board members.

  • Indicate by asterisk (*) members who are one or more of the following: American Indian or Alaska Native, Asian, Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander, Black or African American, or Hispanic or Latino.

  • Indicate by a cross (+) members who also are office holders.

Example:

Name

Occupation

City

Arts Interest/
Affiliation

Mary Smith +

Lawyer

Springfield

Board, ABC Dance Company

Bill Doe *

Business Owner

Sunnyvale

Visual Arts Patron

ATTACHMENT BUTTON 3: APPLICATION NARRATIVE

Off-Year Applicants Only:

To this button, attach an Application Narrative of up to one page in length that describes your organization’s activities for the last year and outlines any changes to your organization, plans, or process.

NEW: Describe your organization’s plans to support stable, outreach-driven programs that are responsive to your state’s diverse folk & traditional arts heritage.

  • Note how you will support folk & traditional arts in your state, including any grant programs (e.g., apprenticeships, etc.), fieldwork/research, technical assistance, and cultural sustainability programs for traditional artists. If your organization does not currently have a folk & traditional arts program, describe your plans to develop a program in phases over the next three years.
  • Describe your outreach to folk & traditional arts stakeholders (e.g., artists, community leaders, folklorists, other organizations, etc.) to facilitate field-building and to inform your organization’s programming or activities.
  • Describe your staffing plans to support your proposed activities. For SAAs that partner with a nonprofit organization to carry out this programming, or contract this work, describe how the partner will undertake this work and note any agreements that are in place.
  • Describe the extent to which you will provide a cost share/match (e.g., 1:1, 10:1, etc.) to the partnership funds received from the Arts Endowment to support your proposed activities.

The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "Narrative." Label the page clearly with your organization's legal name and "Application Narrative."

On-Year Applicants Only:

To this button, attach an Application Narrative. The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "Narrative." Label each page clearly with your organization's legal name and "Application Narrative."

Application narratives must not exceed 12 numbered pages in length, including the budget chart. Provide URL links to support/supplementary material that is referenced in your narrative. Use links in moderation and be sure they direct reviewers only to supplemental materials rather than additional narrative content.

The Review Criteria for State Arts Agencies will be used in the review of your Application Narrative.

Do not include information on Poetry Out Loud as part of your Application Narrative. This information is requested separately as Attachment 6.

Overview

Describe major developments or conditions in your state – e.g., economic, cultural, demographic, educational, geographical, political – as well as your organization’s placement within state government – that have an impact on your organization's planning and operations.

A. Planning Process

  1. Describe your organization’s most recent planning process, including:

    • The design and structure of the process;
    • Efforts undertaken to include a wide range of constituents in the planning process, including but not limited to those in underserved communities, artists, arts organizations, educators, state agencies, community groups, disability groups, businesses, municipal and tribal governments, and/or the regional arts organization serving your state;
    • How members/representatives of underserved communities were involved in the planning process;
    • Efforts to engage constituents through a variety of means such as public meetings, surveys, interviews, and the use of electronic and/or social media as relevant to various constituent groups*.

    Any discussion of reaching and serving underserved communities should identify those constituencies your organization considers underserved and describe your efforts to engage these communities.

  2. Summarize the recommendations and priorities for your state plan that resulted from the public meetings* and other forums.

  3. Describe your organization’s response to these recommendations*, and the way in which the response was communicated to the public – including but not limited to references in the state plan.

  4. Describe how the planning process was informed by metrics or other relevant information (e.g., program and/or organization evaluations) used to measure your organization’s progress in achieving its progress in relation to the state plan.

    Also, describe how those served, including underserved groups, are included in the evaluation process, how outside experts are involved in your evaluation activities, and any changes that your organization plans to make to its programs and services based on this information.

  5. Provide here a link to your Strategic Plan.

    If your discussion of accomplishments relates to an earlier plan, provide here a link to the earlier plan as well.

    If you have a work plan or program implementation plan developed to complement your Strategic Plan, also provide a link here.

    If you are providing links to more than one plan, identify which Strategic Plan the implementation plan complements.

*Information required by Section 5(g) of the National Endowment for the Arts’ legislation.

B. Plan Implementation and Accomplishments

  1. Without reiterating your plan, which reviewers will see in full, briefly describe your organization’s priorities for the upcoming three year period (i.e., until the next time your organization is designated as on-year and up for full application review) and the leadership your organization is undertaking to achieve those outcomes.

  2. Describe your organization’s most significant programs, activities, and accomplishments in relation to your state’s current or most recent strategic plan.

    NOTE: Poetry Out Loud program information is requested separately in Attachment 6. Do not address it in this narrative.

    We welcome hearing about your accomplishments in the areas of education, reaching underserved communities, folk & traditional arts, equity, physical and programmatic access, diversity, preserving cultures, technology, military, healthcare, social services, rural, aging, youth, housing, and community development, to name but a few areas in which state arts agencies work. Do not overlook discussing more internal organizational work such as introduction of new funding categories or completion of long term programming, which also may also qualify as among the most significant accomplishments of your organization. The aforementioned programmatic themes are listed as prompts to get you thinking about your organization’s most significant accomplishments.

    Organize your descriptions by the goals and objectives of your strategic plan. 

    • Describe how each program, activity, and special initiative responds to constituent priorities and/or a changing environment in your state. 
    • Describe those programs and special initiatives in which your state agency has exercised exemplary leadership.
    • Describe any public and private partnerships that enable you to deliver these programs and initiatives and the role played by your organization.
    • Any discussion of arts learning should include pre-K through 12 arts education and lifelong learning and should indicate whether pre-K through 12 programs and activities align with curriculum standards at the state and/or national level. 
    • Any discussion of reaching and serving underserved communities should identify those constituencies your organization considers underserved and describe your organization’s efforts to engage members of underserved communities.
  3. NEW: Describe your organization’s plans to support stable, outreach-driven programs that are responsive to your state’s diverse folk & traditional arts heritage.

    • Note how you will support folk & traditional arts in your state, including any grant programs (e.g., apprenticeships, etc.), fieldwork/research, technical assistance, and cultural sustainability programs for traditional artists. If your organization does not currently have a folk & traditional arts program, describe your plans to develop a program in phases over the next three years.
    • Describe your outreach to folk & traditional arts stakeholders (e.g., artists, community leaders, folklorists, other organizations, etc.) to facilitate field-building and to inform your organization’s programming or activities.
    • Describe your staffing plans to support your proposed activities. For SAAs that partner with a nonprofit organization to carry out this programming, or contract this work, describe how the partner will undertake this work and note any agreements that are in place.
    • Describe the extent to which you will provide a cost share/match (e.g., 1:1, 10:1, etc.) to the partnership funds received from the Arts Endowment to support your proposed activities.
  4. Where objectives or goals were not met or were only partially met, explain why.

  5. Program Investment

    On the last page of your narrative, provide a one-line description of each of your organization’s categories, programs, or initiatives for the first fiscal year of the proposed agreement, with projected federal and non-federal dollar allocations. Identify with a “Y” those categories that are required by and/or for which allocations are determined by your legislature. You may use footnotes to explain the use of funds in support of Poetry Out Loud activity, as relevant.

    Name / Description of program / initiative

    Projected Partnership Agreement $ Allocated

    Projected Non-Partnership Agreement $ Allocated

    Is this program Legislatively Determined?

    Include sub-categories and sub-totals as necessary to demonstrate the connection between budget allocations and your application narrative. 

 

ATTACHMENT BUTTON 4: STRATEGIC PLAN (On-Year Applicants Only)

To this button, attach a single file that includes the two items below. The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "Plan." Label each page clearly with your organization's legal name and "Strategic Plan."     

  1. The Strategic Plan document. The plan should convey your organization’s mission, vision, goals, objectives, major strategies, and evaluation plans. If your organization has just completed a new plan, and your accomplishments relate to an earlier plan, attach the new plan here. You will have an opportunity to link to the former plan in your narrative.

  2. If you have an organization work plan or program implementation plan developed to complement your Strategic Plan, provide a link.

ATTACHMENT BUTTON 5: CHANGES IN CONFLICT OF INTEREST/APPEALS (On-Year AND Off-Year Applicants)

If applicable, to this button attach your Changes in Conflict of Interest/Appeals document. Submit this item only if there has been a change in your conflict of interest policies or appeals process since you last applied for a Partnership Agreement. The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "Changes." Label each page clearly with your organization's legal name and "Changes in Conflict of Interest/Appeals."

ATTACHMENT 6: POETRY OUT LOUD PLAN (On-Year AND Off-Year Applicants)

To this button, attach your Poetry Out Loud Plan. The file name should indicate the name of your organization or a recognizable acronym followed by "PoetryOutLoud." Label each page clearly with your organization's legal name and "Poetry Out Loud Plan.”

Submit no more than two pages. Describe the activities proposed for 2020-2021 including the anticipated geographic reach and timetable. List the name, position/title, telephone number, and email address of your Poetry Out Loud coordinator. If program coordination is contracted out, list both the contractor's information and the name of the main SAA supervisor/contact. For more information about running a statewide Poetry Out Loud program, see Poetry Out Loud State Partnership Agreement Information.”

You do not have to fill the remaining Attachment buttons.

Step 4: Submit Items in Steps 1-3 above electronically through Grants.gov [Back to Top]

  1. Check the size of your electronic application. The total size should not exceed 10 MB.

  2. To begin the submission process, log on to Grants.gov and go to the Forms tab on the Manage My Workspace page. Click the “Sign and Submit” button under the Forms tab.

    Be certain that you are satisfied with your application before you click this button. No revisions to your application are possible through Grants.gov once it is submitted.

  3. Once you complete and submit your application, you will see a confirmation screen explaining that your submission is being processed. Retain the Grants.gov Tracking Number that you receive in the application submission confirmation screen.

Verify that your application was validated and accepted by the Grants.gov system. Go to Track My Application to confirm the validation and track the progress of your application submission through Grants.gov. Do not wait until the day of the deadline to verify your submission in case you encounter any difficulties.

Additional Help

For additional help on how to use Grants.gov, see the Grants.gov website at Support. You also can send email to the Grants.gov Contact Center at support@grants.gov or call them at 1-800-518-4726, 24 hours a day, and 7 days a week.

For specific help on how to complete your application, review the instructions in these guidelines or contact the State & Regional staff: Andi Mathis at mathisa@arts.gov or 202-682-5430.

For questions specific to Folk Arts Partnership, contact the Folk & Traditional Arts staff: Cheryl Schiele at schielec@arts.gov or 202-682-5587 or Clifford Murphy at murphyc@arts.gov or 202-682-5726.

REMINDER:
 
By December 1, 2020, on-year applicants have the option of submitting an update (up to one page) on any significant developments affecting the organization subsequent to submitting the application. Updates should focus only on information relevant to application review, such as changes to organization’s operating environment, budget, key leadership/staff, strategic planning, and notable accomplishments. Email updates to: NEAStateRegional@arts.gov.

Following the notification of funding offers (generally April 2021), all applicants must complete and submit a Partnership Agreement Budget for Arts Endowment review. Instructions and deadlines will be provided with the notification of funding.