Funding Alert! Folk and Traditional Arts Cooperative Agreement

National Endowment for the Arts – National Folklife Network

If your organization is interested in working with the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to build and manage a formal network that supports the unique local and regional cultural traditions found throughout the United States, this funding opportunity might be for you. The NEA recently opened applications for the National Folklife Network (NFN) cooperative agreement to select an organization, or “cooperator,” to establish and administer the NFN. The NFN will assist each of seven regional cohorts through training, fieldwork, convenings, collaborations, and cultural asset mapping.

Who is eligible to apply?

Eligible applicants are U.S. nonprofit organizations with 501(c)(3) status; units of state or local government; federally recognized tribal communities or tribes; and the designated state and jurisdictional arts agencies (SAAs) and their regional arts organizations (RAOs). SAAs, RAOs, and designated local arts organizations may be eligible to subgrant through this agreement.

What does this cooperative agreement look like?

The NEA uses two different types of awards to fund projects: grants and cooperative agreements. Cooperative agreements are different from grants in that the awardee will work closely with the NEA in the direction and accomplishment of program goals.

Through this agreement, the cooperator will:

  1. Establish and administer the NFN, which will be comprised of seven regional cohorts.
  2. Identify processes surrounding the selection of cohort participants.
  3. Provide cohorts with various services, including consultation, training, and support.
  4. Develop, host, maintain, and promote an informational digital platform.
  5. Develop and implement a comprehensive communications plan to educate participants and the public about the NFN.

The program solicitation document contains additional details about the cooperator’s and NEA project director’s roles and responsibilities.

The NEA expects to award one two-year cooperative agreement of up to $1,000,000. There is no required cost share for this agreement, but any costs beyond the award amount must be covered by other sources.

The cooperative agreement will start no earlier than June 1, 2021, and the NEA will work the cooperator to establish the project timeline before finalizing the agreement.

What makes a project a good fit?

The NEA is interested in proposals that recognize artistic excellence, including a comprehensive understanding of the project, an ability to identify established and emerging practices in folk and traditional arts, and the quality of the proposed products and services. The NEA also prioritizes artistic merit, including the project’s correlation to the applicant organization’s mission and existing programs, as well as the applicant’s experience and capacity to carry out the proposed activities.

What if I am ready to apply? Proposals are due December 17, 2020. To move your application forward, take the following action steps ASAP:

  • Read through the program solicitation for more detail regarding project activities.
  • Be sure your organization is prepared to work with the NEA in a cooperative agreement; you can find more information on the general terms and conditions here.
  • Check out “Living Traditions,” which is a portfolio analysis of the NEA’s Folk and Traditional Arts Program.
  • Make sure your System for Award Management (SAM) registration is active and be sure you have agov profile. You can check your SAM status here:
  • Think about potential partners who might be able to strengthen your proposal.

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 for working 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 writing federal grants?

AGS is excited to offer a new Federal Grants Training Series coming 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.

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

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