Funding Alert! American Rescue Plan Grants

Funding Alert! American Rescue Plan Grants

Has the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on your arts organization? The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) recently opened applications for its American Rescue Plans grant program. This opportunity allocates the NEA’s portion of funding from the American Rescue Plan legislation to organizations and jobs in the arts sector that have been affected by the pandemic. These are one-time grants intended to support day-to-day general operating expenses for eligible organizations.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants are nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations, units of state or local government, or federally recognized tribal communities. These entities could be arts organizations, local arts agencies, arts service organizations, local education agencies, or other organizations that meet the NEA’s requirements and goals.

Applicants must have completed at least three years (not necessarily in consecutive years) of arts programming prior to the application deadline to qualify. Eligible organizations must also have submitted all final report packages by their respective due dates for any previous NEA grants received. Each applicant may submit only one American Rescue Plan proposal.

What do these projects look like?

American Rescue Plan grants support general operating expenses of eligible arts organizations. These expenses may include the following:

  • Salary support for agency staff;
  • Fees/stipends for artists or contractual personnel that perform specific services that support organizational operations. Examples include work with tangible outcomes, such as performances, presentations, or artwork creation;
  • Facilities costs (e.g., mortgage, rent, utilities, etc.);
  • Health and safety supplies for staff and/or visitors; and
  • Marketing and promotion costs.

Applicants may request American Rescue Plan grants in fixed amounts of either $50,000, $100,000, or $150,000 with up to a two-year project period. There is no cost share or match required for this opportunity.

The NEA encourages applicants to choose the funding level that is most appropriate for their organizational capacity and budget. The funder anticipates making approximately 800 awards across all funding levels.

Key Dates:

This application process includes into multiple steps – submission and NEA applicant portal submission – as outlined below. To offset the anticipated high volume of applications, the NEA applicant portal submission is divided into two dates (see below).

Submission Part I

  • August 12, 2021: all applicants must submit organization information and basic project information to

Submission Part II

  • August 19-25, 2021: applicants with names beginning with A – L submit full application materials to NEA applicant portal.
  • August 27 – September 2, 2021: applicants with names beginning with M – Z submit full application materials to NEA applicant portal

What makes a project a good fit?

The NEA seeks to support organizations and programs that recognize artistic excellence and artistic merit, including the proposal’s significance to the applicant’s core work and mission, the applicant’s demonstrated ability to carry out an award (based on its budget and other resources), the potential to immediately impact the arts workforce, and the ability to improve access to the arts for underserved individuals and regions.

What if I am ready to apply?

To move your application forward, take the following action steps ASAP:

What if I need help with this application?

Contact Assel Grant Services today! Our team can help with all aspects of preparing the application and managing the grant if you are awarded. If you would like to discuss this possibility, please contact AGS as soon as possible. Rosie Brennan, Community Engagement Specialist will be happy to talk with you about this opportunity and provide you a quote for grant services.

What if I am not ready to apply this year?

Check out other opportunities to work with the NEA. The agency website provides resources regarding other upcoming grant programs, partnerships, and funding opportunities, as well as examples of previously funded projects.

How do I learn more about federal grant opportunities?

AGS is excited to offer a new Federal Grants Training Series in 2021! The series is designed to support nonprofit professionals before and during their first federal grant. AGS also offers several on demand webinars on a variety of topics to support the full grant cycle. Check out our website to learn more and sign up for our training newsletter.

AGS blogs, funding alerts, and trainings are aligned with the Grant Professional Certification Institute’s Competencies and Skills

Competency #1: Knowledge of how to research, identify, and match funding resources to meet specific needs

Skill 1.2: Identify major trends in public funding and public policy

Skill 1.6: Identify fundable programs and projects for specific organization

Skill 1.7: Determine best matches between funders and specific programs