GRANTS FOR ARTS PROJECTS: Arts Education Collective Impact Grants

The following information relates to the Grants for Arts Projects: Arts Education Collective Impact project type. Read the full guidelines.

The NEA’s Collective Impact grants transform schools and communities by providing access and engagement in the arts for all students through collective, systemic approaches. Projects aim to ensure that all students across entire neighborhoods, schools, school districts, and/or states—in communities of all sizes—participate in the arts over time.

Complex logic model graphic

View the NEA’s Logic Model for Collective Impact:

Collective Impact grants are higher award amounts for longer-term, large-scale projects that create lasting systems change tailored to community needs, fundamentally altering the ways in which the components and structures of a system behave and interact over time. Projects should have significant potential to be shared and customized in communities across the country.

These projects should embrace the following principles, which may be ongoing and occur at any point during the project:

  • Data: Arts education data initiatives are critical to ensuring that all students have opportunities to participate in the arts. Data initiatives provide transparency about young people’s participation in arts education, illustrate the inequities of arts offerings in schools and communities, and inform decision-making. See the following resources for more information: Arts Education Data Toolkit and the NEA’s State Data Infrastructure Project for Arts Education.
  • Partnership: Key partners from different sectors share a long-term commitment to addressing inequities in arts education through systems change and bring their knowledge and skills to unearth the best approaches to ensure a quality arts education for all students. Priority will be given to projects that include a managing partner or group of partners that acts as the coordinating entity, and involve at least three cross-sector organizations, one of which is an arts/cultural organization. Partners may include arts councils, units of state or local government, school systems, funders, businesses, community service organizations, economic development organizations, trade associations, parent/student networks, social service organizations, or institutions of higher education. Partners should authentically represent the populations served and their communities.
  • Planning: A logic model and strategic plan present a common vision, goals, coordinated strategies, and benchmarks to evaluate goals for system-wide arts education implementation. This should include a description of each partner's role in achieving the common vision, as well as plans for communication among the partners and sustainability. The planning process should authentically incorporate the voices of the populations served and their communities.
  • Shared Measurement: A shared measurement system is an evaluation system that provides agreement on how success will be measured and reported and assesses the progress of each project partner's work towards common outcomes—increasing student participation in arts education and, as appropriate, societal well-being for students.
  • Programming: Activities support the implementation of the strategic plan. Programming may include convening partners, stakeholders, services to students, professional development, and evaluation.

Collective Impact projects are multi-year, ongoing initiatives. Specify in the application which phase(s) of the project are included in the request for NEA funding. All phases of a project—data, cross-sector partnerships, planning, shared measurement, and programming—are eligible for support.

If the collective impact project is part of a larger, ongoing, system-wide effort to benefit students and communities, indicate that in your application.

All costs for the project phase included in the Project Budget must be incurred within the proposed period of performance.

Identify the project as either Emerging or Sustaining:

  • Emerging projects are in the initial phase of work to establish an arts education plan. Activities may include cultivation of cross-sector partners, convenings, creation of an arts education data initiative, collective impact consultation, and/or creation of a logic model and an arts education strategic plan, or any other activities that support the development of a plan.
  • Sustaining projects have an arts education plan in place and may continue work from the emerging phase, be in the programming or evaluation stage, or scale up proven efforts to increase arts education access. These projects must demonstrate progress achieved thus far, and how they are disseminating project information to the fields of arts education, public education, and other sectors.

Activities may include:

  • Adopting or aligning school district or community policies to support arts education goals;
  • Providing artist-based residencies based on priority needs of the plan;
  • Providing professional development for educators based on priority needs of the plan;
  • Trainings to use data for decision making;
  • Data reporting to measure progress towards arts education goals;
  • Evaluation of the quality of arts instruction;
  • External evaluation of collective impact progress and systems change; or
  • Any other activities that support the implementation of the strategic plan.

Collective Impact Resources:

For information on how to apply, see “How to Apply” on the left.

Before applying, review the reporting requirements for Arts Education.