Review Criteria

Partnership Agreements Regional Arts Organizations
The following criteria are considered in the review of applications:

A. Planning Process
Constituents are involved in the organization’s planning process, incorporating:

  1. Opportunities for a wide range of constituents to participate in the planning process, including those in underserved communities.
  2. Constituent engagement through a wide variety of meeting formats and media, such as public meetings, surveys, interviews, electronic media and/or other methods appropriate to the constituent groups.
  3. Responses to recommendations and the priorities identified through the planning process.
  4. Metrics and/or other relevant information used to monitor the region’s progress in achieving its goals.

B.  Implementation and Accomplishments
The organization’s programs, activities, and other accomplishments:

  1. Respond to the priorities identified by constituents during the planning process and/or changing circumstances in the region.
  2. Leverage public and private partnerships, as appropriate.
  3. Demonstrate the organization’s cost effectiveness and record of growing and diversifying its revenue sources, specifically from non-federal sources.
  4. Include plans to support stable, outreach-driven programs that are responsive to the region’s diverse folk & traditional arts heritage, and that can strengthen support of the folk & traditional arts).

Multi-Year Approval

The National Endowment for the Arts uses staggered, multi-year approval for Regional Partnership awards. While each RAO is required to submit an application annually, those organizations that are determined to have addressed satisfactorily the requirements and review criteria receive three-year approval of their proposals. They are not required to submit another full-scale application, including all material necessary for review, for another three years. In the other years ("off years"), the application requirements are simplified greatly. See Application Calendar for a full list of on and off year designations.

In recommending action on Regional Partnership Agreement proposals, the National Endowment for the Arts has a variety of options ranging from full three-year approval, to more limited or contingent approval requiring interim response, to a determination not to provide a Regional Partnership Agreement.

What Happens to Your Partnership Agreement Application

Applications are evaluated according to the "Review Criteria" for their category.

Funding recommendations are considered by the National Council on the Arts, where they are reviewed in open session. The Council makes recommendations to the Chair of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Chair reviews the Council’s recommendations and makes the final decision on all grant awards. Applicants are then notified of funding decisions.

Contact Lara Holman Garritano at  or 202-682-5586 if you have questions about the review process.

NOTE: All recommended applications undergo a review to evaluate risk posed by the applicant prior to making a federal award. This may include past performance on grants, meeting reporting deadlines, compliance with terms and conditions, audit findings, etc.