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City's Initiative (CI) Grant

Grants to Houston, Texas Nonprofits for Unique
Cultural Programs that Encourage Local Tourism

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Houston Arts Alliance (HAA)

Deadline Date:

12/21/18 5:30 PM


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Grants of up to $10,000 to Houston, Texas nonprofit organizations for special activities that encourage local tourism. Interested applicants are required to attend a preliminary meeting prior to submitting an application. Funding is intended to support one-time events and programs that are not included in the regular budget or programming, such as unanticipated opportunities for an artistic performance or exhibit.

The City's Initiative (CI) program provides a one-time grant to City of Houston nonprofit arts or cultural organizations for special opportunities.

What May Be Funded:

1. Marketing & promotion of unique one-time events including advertising and printing costs
2. Artist fees
3. Travel and lodging for visiting artist
4. Event related expenses such as rental of technical equipment or venue space.
5. Emergencies, which can be defined as acts of God or other extreme events. Funds cannot be used for past debt or unsuccessful fundraising.

Project for which funds are being requested must meet the requirement of the Hotel Occupancy Tax (Texas Tax Code Ann., Section 351.101), which mandates funds must be used to promote tourism.

Applications are evaluated based upon the following review criteria:

- Artistic, tourism and cultural merit;
- Marketing strategy to attract tourists and visitors to the City of Houston, and serve the convention industry;
- Evidence of community support (letters of endorsement); and
- Administrative ability of the organization as determined by its project budget, program quality, artistic merit, and any previous grant history with HAA. (For additional, specific Review Criteria, see the Guidelines listed in Supporting Documents below.)

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 180337

Estimated Size of Grant:

Awards are restricted to artistic and marketing costs with $10,000 as the maximum amount awarded.

Term of Contract:

Projects must begin after Thursday, March 21, 2019.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Houston-based nonprofit arts and cultural organizations are eligible to apply, provided they meet all the following requirements:

- Applicant is a currently IRS recognized 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts or cultural organization or other type of nonprofit organization that regularly presents arts events or arts projects.
- Applicant has been in operation for at least one full year prior to the grant application deadline.
- Applicant and event is physically based in the City of Houston prior to the application deadline. Residency is based on the organization’s physical residence, not on a P.O. Box.
- Applicant can apply as an individual organization, partnership (2 organizations) or as a consortium (3 organizations). Funding of the award will go to the lead applicant /organization acting as primary recipient for the partnership or consortium. A “partnership” cannot consist of organizations that have been funded in the last year individually. This partnership or consortium will not be penalized individually from future funding under the 24 month rule.
- Organizations considering applying through a fiscal sponsorship agreement must have 1) met with Houston Arts Alliance Grants staff to be pre-approved to apply 2) have fiscal sponsorship agreement in place prior to application deadline. (For Fiscal Sponsorship Eligibility Requirements, see Guidelines listed in Supporting Documents below.)
- If the applicant is a existing or previous grantee, it must be “current‟ on all grant agreements and submitted and received approval of all previous final reports.

Not funded:

1. Programs and projects where application is submitted 90 days less than the project start date.
2. Project activities that do not meet the eligible uses of the Hotel Occupancy Tax
3. Existing deficits, loans, interest on loans, security deposits, fines, penalties or costs of litigation.
4. Projects or events that are extensions of training ( i.e academic programs, conferences that are insular in nature and not open to the general public, classes and workshops)
5. Costs related to performances or programs already funded by Hotel Occupancy Tax (through the Houston Arts Alliance, Miller Outdoor Theatre, Houston Museum District Association, or Theater District Improvement)
6. Scholarships or cash prizes
7. Benefits, galas and projects planned primarily for fundraising
8. Projects or performances that are regularly occurring events.
9. Projects or activities which have a primary purpose that is religious. Religious organizations or groups closely affiliated with religious organizations may receive funding if all the following conditions are met:
- The funded program has a secular purpose
- The primary effect of the funded program does not advance or inhibit any religion
- The activity is open and advertised to the general public
10. Purchase of equipment (except rental costs directly affiliated with the funded project or program)
11. Capital building expenses
12. Meals, refreshments and/or catering expense

Pre-Application Information:

Next Deadline: Friday, December 21, 2018, 5:30 p.m.

All requests for funding must be submitted at least 90 calendar days in advance of the project begin date. Please do not submit an application if your project does not meet this requirement.

A preliminary meeting is required—at least 48 hours from a City's Initiative deadline—for organizations looking to make application. It is therefore required that a prospective applicant contact the Grants Department via email prior to preparing an application to ensure eligibility and to schedule a meeting with the Grants staff.

Applicants may request no more than 50% of previous year’s cash revenues as demonstrated in the submitted IRS 990 (if required) or internal financial statement.

Applicants may only apply for an activity or program not previously funded with a City’s Initiative Grant, or any other Houston Arts Alliance grant program.

Applicants must wait a minimum 24 months after receipt date of an official award letter from the City’s Initiative Program before submitting another application.

Please contact the Grants department for questions or information anytime, via email or phone.

Contact Information:

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

To apply online:

To schedule a preliminary meeting, email

Houston Arts Alliance
3201 Allen Parkway, Suite 250
Houston, TX 77019-1800
713.527.9330, ext. 450

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Texas: Houston