American Rescue Plan Grants to Organizations: 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 Arts Endowment.

To be eligible, 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 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.

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. If your organization does not have a SAM registration and you are thinking of applying for Rescue Plan funds, start the SAM registration process as soon as possible. All organizations approved for funding must have an active SAM 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.

This program does not support subgranting or regranting of funds. See the Rescue Plan’s Grants to Local Arts Agencies for Subgranting program for more information.

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 Organizations guidelines.

Eligible organizations that received CARES Act funding from the Arts Endowment may apply to the Rescue Plan’s Grants to Organizations program as long as there are no overlapping costs.

Eligible local arts agencies may either apply 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 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.

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 apply 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 proposal from the component. For example, if a university campus submits an application for its art museum as an independent component, the proposal 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.