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Community Initiatives Program

Grants to Austin, Texas Nonprofits for
Public Arts and Cultural Programming

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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City of Austin Economic Development Department (EDD) Cultural Arts Division

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

04/29/19 11:59 PM


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Grants to Austin, Texas nonprofit organizations to produce, present, market, and support public art exhibitions and performances for the benefit of residents and tourists. Funding is intended for activities and projects in all disciplines that provide quality cultural and arts programming in the City of Austin and the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction. Priority will be given to artists from historically underserved minority populations.

The purpose of this program is to reinforce the artistic and cultural industry representing an important component of the economy of Austin and to celebrate and promote Austin as an exciting, vibrant, and diverse cultural destination for visitors and tourists throughout the world.

Community Initiatives funding is available to arts groups, non-arts groups, and individual artists that produce or present arts activities and are not already receiving funding through the Cultural Arts Division’s Core Funding or Cultural Heritage Festivals Programs. The Community Initiatives Program provides support for smaller community arts projects and activities that may develop throughout the year. The purpose of the Community Initiatives Program is to support public arts and cultural programming that celebrates Austin’s culture of creativity and to encourage collaboration, innovation, accessibility, and cultural tourism.

Proposed project activities must be a public event that is open and advertised to Austin residents, visitors, and tourists, and consistent with the promotion and enhancement of the City of Austin as a cultural destination. Proposed activities are not required to be free. Admission may be charged.

Goals for Allocation of Funds:

1. Support arts, culture, and creativity as an integral component of a vibrant community and a thriving economy:
- Contribute to cultural tourism development
- Foster sustainable growth and development of the creative community
- Build and diversify audiences through research and marketing strategies
- Attract the workforce and businesses that value a creative community

2. Preserve the unique character of Austin while encouraging artistic and cultural excellence and innovation:
- Provide opportunities for active participation in Austin's cultural life
- Increase and diversify the production of arts and cultural activities
- Enhance the presentation of emerging and established culturally-diverse arts organizations
- Encourage partnerships and creative collaborations within the community

3. Support artists and arts organizations of all disciplines as they engage in meaningful work:
- Encourage excellence, innovation, and collaboration in the creation and presentation of
artistic and cultural work
- Support artists and organizations in developing new programs and activities
- Promote the value of arts, culture, and creativity

Priority will be given to:
- Applicants that are ALAANA Plus (Historically underserved artists)
- Applicants in districts that have received fewer awards in the fiscal year so far
- Applicants with artistic disciplines that have received fewer awards in the fiscal year so far

Cultural Arts Funding Priority Program:

The Economic Development Department’s Cultural Arts Division recognizes the need to more equitably support a variety of artistic expressions and traditions practiced within diverse ALAANA Plus (African-, Latin-, Asian-, Arab-, and Native- American, plus LGBTQI and/or Disability communities) cultural groups in Austin. Historically underserved artists and their communities are ALAANA Plus.

The goal of the FY19 Funding Priority Program: is to enrich the Austin community through documentation, practice, and sharing of cultural heritage and traditional art forms to invest in cultural equity across multiple artistic media and a variety of Austin’s ALAANA Plus communities. Audiences gain an understanding of how expressions of cultural heritage and traditional art forms are practiced and culturally significant.

This program is geared specifically to support ALAANA Plus communities in Austin through an arts-centric platform for community building and strengthening cultural traditions. ALAANA Plus groups and individual artists representing underserved communities including low-income, immigrant and refugee communities, and projects involving seniors or youth are encouraged to apply.

Eligible applicants are ALAANA Plus based arts organizations, incorporated or unincorporated groups, or individual artists comprised of an ALAANA Plus representative board, staff, and/or participating artists equal to or greater than 50% (= or >50%).

An eligible project may be a single event or activity, or a series or combination of multiple events or activities. Projects may include creation of work, documentation, and presentation of all art forms including folk and traditional art forms. All projects must have a public component such as a performance, concert, exhibition, film screening, reading, workshop, or other activity that is open to and engages members of a larger community in the work being presented.

Eligible applicants may receive up to $1,000 in total priority modifiers in addition to Community Initiatives Funding, if awarded. No modifiers will be awarded if the Community Initiatives application is declined.

50% or more of the awards will be reserved for ALAANA Plus applicants.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 164662

Estimated Size of Grant:

Funding Requests:
- Year 1 Applicant: Maximum request of $2,000
- Years 2 - 5 Applicant: Maximum request of $3,000

If the applicant identifies as a member of one or more of the ALAANA Plus Communities you may either a $500 request amount or $1,000 request amount if your proposed project will include a significant education component.

Funding is dependent upon operating budget size. Application proposed project budget must be specific to the application’s proposed activities.

Term of Contract:

Applicants may only receive Community Initiatives funding for a maximum of five (consecutive or nonconsecutive) years.

Grant activities must be within the period of October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must be one of the following:
- An incorporated, tax exempt, 501(c) arts or non-arts organization, or
- An Incorporated (non-501(c) organization but is registered as a Non-Profit with the Texas Secretary of State Office as evidenced by the Certificate of Formation) arts or non-arts group may but are not required to apply under the umbrella of a 501(c) Austin based fiscal sponsor, or
- An Unincorporated arts or non-arts group may but are not required to apply under the umbrella of a 501(c) Austin based fiscal sponsor, or
- An individual artist may apply under the umbrella of a 501(c) Austin based fiscal sponsor.

Organizations must be based or individual artists must reside in Austin or its Extra Territorial Jurisdiction (ETJ) for a minimum of one (1) year prior to the application due date (must have a physical address located in Austin or the Extra Territorial Jurisdiction aka ETJ).

A budget history of ongoing artistic/cultural programs for a minimum of one (1) year prior to the application due date.

Applicant cannot have previously received more than five (5) years of funding in the Community Initiatives Program. Please contact Cultural Arts Division Staff if you have received Community Initiatives funding for more than 5 years.

Applicant must not be currently receiving funding from the Cultural Arts Division Core Funding Program or Cultural Heritage Festivals Program.

ALAANA Plus is defined as an applicant who identifies themselves (if an individual artist) or their group is made of 50% or more of African, LatinX, Asian, Arab, or Native Americans and/or identify as a member(s) LGBTQI or Disability Communities.

The City of Austin will NOT fund, nor allow as a match:
- Programming that is not open and marketed to the general public
- Governmental agencies or public authorities
- Educational institutions, including public or private schools, colleges and/or universities
- Applicants that have a “delinquent” status with the Cultural Arts Funding Programs
- An operating deficit or budget shortfall projected for the funding period or incurred within previous fiscal periods
- Previously completed activities
- Religious and/or sectarian programming or any programming and or services that are solely for the promotion of or consumption by a specific religious order and/or a particular sect
- Cash reserves or endowments of any kind, as awarded funds are to be expended within the designated funding period
- Capital expenditures, purchase, repair or renovation of equipment or real property, including construction, renovation or purchase of equipment and/or real property. In the case of neighborhood art and design projects, funding may be requested for research, planning, design and/or fabrication of art projects, but not for general construction, reconstruction, landscaping, or other costs that can be considered capital expenditures.
- Applicants whose nonprofit status has been revoked by the Internal Revenue Service
- Programs and/or services of Austin-based arts and cultural organizations that benefit other cities or regions
- Projects that benefit a commercial business or activity
- More than one application per eligible program per fiscal year
- Sponsored projects that benefit the Fiscal Sponsor or are an extension of the Fiscal Sponsor’s programs or services
- Fundraising groups and/or “friends of” organizations that exist primarily to support an artistic organization/group
- Foundations with a principle purpose of making grants to unrelated organizations or individuals Foundations are eligible to serve as Fiscal Sponsors, however
- Activities concurrently receiving funding through other City of Austin Cultural Funding Programs
- Activities concurrently receiving funding through other City of Austin Department Programs
- Music residencies
- Networking events
- Activities that do not include a live public event

Ineligible Project Costs include (cannot be used as match), but may not be limited to, the following:
- Costs associated with the start-up of a new organization
- Direct project costs incurred more than 60 days prior to the grant starting date
- Any fund-raising expenses, including but not limited to entertainment, reception or hospitality functions expenses
- Consultants who are members of an applicant’s staff or board
- Payments to students or interns whose employment is tied to class credit
- Operating costs not associated with the project
- Purchase of gifts, awards, cash prizes, scholarships, contributions or donations
- Existing deficits, fines, contingencies, penalties, interest or litigation costs
- Internal programs at colleges or universities
- Curriculum development or curricular activities such as creation of textbooks or classroom materials
- Scholarly or academic research, tuition, and activities which generate academic credit or formal study toward an academic or professional degree
- Exception: Mileage is allowed at the approved per diem rates when accompanied by a completed City of Austin Cultural Funding Private Vehicle Report. Travel activity must be essential to the project. Travel for research is not an eligible project cost.
- Purchase of Gasoline
- Property Taxes or any other tax with the exception of retail sales or payroll tax
- Audits unless required per cultural funding contract
- Membership fees
- The purchase of computer software/hardware
- Mass produced commercial products
- In-Kind contributions (including unpaid, volunteer time) from sponsored project individual artists, applicant employees or applicant board members
- Development costs related to the production of phone apps and technology platforms

Project Costs that can only be used as match, but may not be limited to, the following:
- Cultural Funding Services Agreement (contract) management costs, writing fees, sponsorship fees, or any other contract management fees. They may be used as match, however, if occurring during the Agreement Fiscal Year
- Travel of Applicant or Sponsored Individual/Organization’s administrative staff
- Food or beverages, unless essential to the project. Contact CAD staff to verify eligibility of any food or beverage expenses

Pre-proposal Conference:

The following CI Workshops take place at the Cultural Arts Division Training Room located at 201 E 2nd Street. All workshops begin at noon.

All applicants are encouraged to attend an application workshop.

This workshop is for individual artists, unincorporated arts groups and arts 501 (c) 3 organizations who are interested in applying. The workshop will cover in detail how to complete each section of the online application including: the Application Form, Proposed Budget, and Narrative. Attendees are encouraged to bring their laptop or tablet.

Thursday, December 6, 2018. RSVP:
Thursday, January 3, 2019. RSVP:
Thursday, February 7, 2019. RSVP:
Thursday, March 7, 2019. RSVP:
Thursday, April 4, 2019
Thursday, May 2, 2019
Thursday, June 6, 2019

Location Information:
Cultural Arts Division Office
201 East 2nd Street
Austin, TX

Pre-Application Information:

Applications are accepted quarterly on fixed deadline dates. Applications will be accepted within the appropriate quarter, as long as funding is available, and considered at the Arts Commission meeting that follows each deadline.

For events occurring in April, May, or June 2019 (Q3), applications are due by Monday, January 28, 2019.

For events occurring in July, August, or September 2019 (Q4), applications are due by Monday, April 29, 2019.

The Community Initiatives Funding Program has an annual funding cycle corresponding to the City of Austin’s Fiscal Year (October 1- September 30). Applications are accepted on a month-to-month basis. Only one application per organization/individual will be funded per fiscal year. Participation in this program is not guaranteed, nor is there a commitment to fund this program, or participating organizations, at previous or current levels. Funding awards allocated from this program may not be used toward activities funded by any other City of Austin contract or funding program in any given fiscal year.

A 1:2 (half) match is required for all awards. Up to one half of the match (50%) is allowable as well- documented in-kind support (at true market value with proper documentation). Only funds acquired and used to support activities specified in the application will be accepted as matching funds.

The Funding Priority Modifiers do not require matching dollars.

Contact Cultural Arts Division Staff for questions or clarifications of eligible project expenditures and match contributions.

Note: Once awarded you may accept a smaller award amount if there is a concern about meeting the matching requirements.

To receive funding from the City of Austin you must be registered as a vendor.

Applicants are highly encouraged to submit their eligibility for approval well in advance of the quarterly application deadline that they are applying in.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply Online:

For general inquires or assistance, please contact the Cultural Arts Funding Program staff:

Jesús Pantel, Contract Compliance Specialist, Sr.

Anne-Marie McKaskle-Davis, Contract Compliance Specialist

Laura Odegaard, Cultural Funding Program Associate

Peggy Ellithorpe, Cultural Funding Program Associate

Barbara J Horowitz, Cultural Funding Program Associate

Cultural Arts Division Office
201 East 2nd Street
Austin, TX 78701

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Texas: Austin or its Extra Territorial Jurisdiction