GRANTS FOR ARTS PROJECTS: More Information about 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 for a project that is different from any project submitted in an application by its independent component(s).

An eligible independent component must be a unit that is both programmatically and administratively distinct from the parent organization. The 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. The board should generally function 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 NEA 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 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.