Challenge America Fast-Track

These are expired guidelines. New guidelines will be posted by the end of December 2014.

The new Challenge America Fast-Track guidelines will be available on January 6, 2014.


The Challenge America Fast-Track category offers support primarily to small and mid-sized organizations for projects that extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations -- those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. Age alone (e.g., youth, seniors) does not qualify a group as underserved; at least one of the underserved characteristics noted above also must be present. Grants are available for professional arts programming and for projects that emphasize the potential of the arts in community development.

This category encourages and supports the following two outcomes:

  • Engagement: Engaging the public with diverse and excellent art.
  • Livability: The strengthening of communities through the arts.

You will be asked to select the outcome that is most relevant to your project. When making selections, you should identify the outcome(s) that reflect the results expected to be achieved by your project. If you receive a grant, you also will be asked to provide evidence of those results.

Challenge America Fast-Track grants:

  • Extend the reach of the arts to underserved populations.
  • Are limited to the specific types of projects outlined below.
  • Are for a fixed amount of $10,000 and require a minimum $10,000 match.
  • Receive an expedited application review. Organizations are notified whether they have been recommended for a grant approximately six months after they apply; projects may start shortly thereafter.

Partnerships can be valuable to the success of these projects. While not required, applicants are encouraged to consider partnerships among organizations, both in and outside of the arts, as appropriate to their project.

To ensure that Challenge America Fast-Track funding reaches new organizations and communities, the NEA has implemented a policy to limit consecutive-year funding.

Starting with grants that were awarded in FY 2011 (as indicated by a grant letter dated on or after October 1, 2010, and a grant number beginning with "11 - 78"), an organization that receives Challenge America Fast-Track grants for three years in a row is not eligible to apply to the Fast-Track category for the following one-year period. Therefore, an organization that has received grants in FY 2012, 2013, and 2014 may not apply under these FY 2015 guidelines. That organization may apply for FY 2015 support under other Arts Endowment funding opportunities including Art Works. The organization would be able to apply to the Challenge America Fast-Track category again in FY 2016.


May 8, 2014, Application Deadline

January 1, 2015, Earliest Beginning Date for Arts Endowment Period of Support

If your organization applies to the Challenge America Fast-Track category, it may not submit another application to the Art Works category. See "Applicant Eligibility/Application Limits" for further information.


Challenge America Fast-Track or 202/682-5700