American Rescue Plan Grants to Local Arts Agencies for Subgranting: Applicant Eligibility

Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations or units of local government may apply.

Tribal entities and community organizations may be eligible for this grant opportunity if they meet the eligibility requirements in this section.

  • Applicants must be an arts agency (“local arts agency”) that is a unit of city or county government or be officially designated to operate as an arts agency on behalf of its local government.
  • Non-arts departments of local government (e.g., economic development, parks and recreation, or planning departments) cannot subgrant and are not eligible to apply to this program.
  • Applicants are required to provide a copy of the current local government ordinance, resolution, charter, or contract that assigns its organization the authority to operate on your local government's behalf at the time of application. This document must be valid and current at the time of application as well as at the time that a grant is awarded. The document must originate from local government and may not be from a state arts agency. For organizations with a multi-city or multi-county service area, designation documentation does not need to be provided for every governmental entity in your service area. Letters or emails from a government official do not qualify for the purpose of establishing eligibility.
  • Applicants must have a history of grantmaking that occurred anytime within the ten-year period immediately preceding this program’s application deadline (i.e., July 22, 2011 to present). The grantmaking program is not required to have been supported by the Arts Endowment.

In addition to the eligibility requirements described above, the applicant organization must:

  • Meet the Arts Endowment’s 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 completed a three-year history of arts programming prior to the application deadline. For this application, grantmaking in the arts is considered to be a type of “arts programming.” For the purpose of defining eligibility, "three-year history" refers to when an organization began its programming and not when it incorporated or received nonprofit, tax-exempt status. Programming is not required to have taken place during consecutive years.
  • Have submitted acceptable Final Report packages by the due date(s) for all Arts Endowment grant(s) previously received. This requirement does not apply to brand new applicants to the NEA or prior applicants that have never received an NEA award.

If you are a local arts agency that does not meet these requirements, please review the Rescue Plan’s Grants to Organizations guidelines to see if you are eligible for Rescue Plan funding through that program.

An organization whose primary purpose is to channel resources (financial, human, or other) to an affiliated organization is not eligible to apply if the affiliated organization submits its own application. This prohibition applies even if each organization has its own 501(c)(3) status. For example, the "Friends of ABC Museum" may not apply if the ABC Museum applies.

All applicants must have a DUNS number ( and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM, at the time of application. The SAM registration must be current at the time a grant is made and throughout the life of the award. See Changes Coming for Federal Organizational Applicants and Awardees for important information.

IMPORTANT: To help reduce burden, there will be a 180-day extension for existing SAM registrations that have expiration dates ranging between April 1, 2021, and September 30, 2021. This effort is intended as relief for those otherwise required to re-register during that timeframe. This does not impact entities registering with SAM for the first time. All organizations approved for funding must have an active registration in order to receive an award.

Registration with and SAM is always free.

The designated state and jurisdictional arts agencies (SAAs) and their regional arts organizations (RAOs) are not eligible to apply under these guidelines. 

Late, ineligible, and incomplete applications will not be reviewed. Applications with budgets that do not have costs at least equal to the requested grant amount will be deemed ineligible and will not be reviewed. Budget costs must be allowable in order to receive support.

Application Limits

An organization is limited to one application under the Rescue Plan’s Grants to Local Arts Agencies for Subgranting guidelines.

Eligible organizations that received CARES Act funding from the Arts Endowment, either to support their own operations or to manage a subgranting program, may apply to the Rescue Plan’s Grants to Local Arts Agencies for Subgranting program as long as there are no overlapping costs.

Eligible local arts agencies may apply either to the Rescue Plan’s Grants to Locals Arts Agencies for Subgranting program OR to the Rescue Plan’s Grants to Organizations program for general operating support.

You may also apply to other Arts Endowment funding opportunities for which your organization is eligible, including Grants for Arts Projects. In each case, the applications cannot have any overlap in costs during the same period of performance. For example, an orchestra could request support for an arts education coordinator through the Rescue Plan’s Grants to Organizations program. That same arts education coordinator could work on programs related to another Arts Endowment grant, as long as the same time and costs are not charged to both awards.

Exceptions to the one-application rule are made only for parent organizations applying on behalf of one or more, separately identifiable and independent components. Grant funds can only support eligible costs incurred by the smaller entity/independent component.

Parent (and Related) Organizations 

A parent organization that comprises separately identifiable and independent components (e.g., a university campus that has a presenting organization and a radio station) may submit an application for each such component. In addition, a parent organization also may submit one application on its own behalf as long as the proposal is different from the proposal(s) submitted by its independent component(s).

An eligible independent component must be a unit that is both programmatically and administratively distinct from the parent organization. This independent status is demonstrated by the component’s: 

  • Unique mission, separate and distinct from the parent entity; 
  • Separate, dedicated staff, with duties specific to the mission of the component; 
  • Independent board, mostly consisting of members not associated with the parent entity and generally functioning with substantial oversight and management of the component; 
  • Separate budget, maintained by the component; and 
  • Three-year history of arts programming undertaken by the component. 

To qualify as an eligible independent component, it should be equivalent to a stand-alone institution.

A parent organization should consult with our staff to verify the eligibility of its component before preparing an application. If an application is submitted by a parent organization on behalf of a component that is determined by the Arts Endowment not to be independent and separate from the parent organization, then that application may be allowed as the parent’s single application.  

The following do not qualify as eligible independent components: 

  • Academic departments of colleges and universities. 
  • Programs, initiatives, and projects of organizations. 
  • Collaboratives or consortiums of multiple organizations. 

For example: 

  • An art museum on a university campus serves the general public and does not grant degrees. The museum board, not the university trustees, manages the museum's budget, staff, and programming. In this example, the art museum essentially is a stand-alone organization and qualifies as an independent component. 
  • A symphony association sponsors a youth orchestra in addition to its professional orchestra. Some symphony musicians serve as faculty for the youth orchestra; there is some overlap of membership between the symphony trustees and the youth orchestra's advisory board; and the executive director for the symphony association serves as CEO for both the professional and youth orchestras. In this case, while the youth orchestra may be an important program of the symphony association, it is not equivalent to a separate institution and therefore does not qualify as an independent component. 

The application for the eligible independent component must be for a project of the component. For example, if a university campus submits an application for its art museum as an independent component, the project must be for the art museum. The art museum cannot be used as a passthrough entity for projects from other areas of the university. 

The parent organization must meet the eligibility requirements for all applicants. A related organization that performs grant administration duties for a parent organization (e.g., a college foundation that administers grants awarded to a college and its components) may submit applications for components and the parent organization in lieu of such applications being submitted by the parent. The related organization must meet the eligibility requirements for all applicants.