Grants for Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations

Arts and culture organizations are vital to a healthy, thriving community. They keep us rooted in our history and traditions but also help us branch out in our critical thinking and problem solving through creativity. According to a report by Americans for the Arts, the arts and culture industry represents 4.2 percent of the nation’s GDP—a larger share of the economy than transportation, tourism, and agriculture. In Guilford County, the arts represent $162 million in economic activity annually and support 6,000 full-time equivalent jobs. The arts and culture sector has been severely impacted by COVID-19 and need financial support to emerge from the Pandemic intact and ready to serve the citizens of Guilford County.

On August 6, Guilford County Commissioners approved a $500,000 allocation for nonprofit arts and culture organizations utilizing federal Coronavirus Relief Funds for nonprofit arts and culture organizations that suffered business interruption caused by required closures during the period beginning March 13, 2020, through December 1, 2020, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.


The United States Congress passed the Federal CARES Act, which established the Coronavirus Relief Fund (the “Fund”) and appropriated $93 million to the Fund for Guilford County. The CARES Act provides that payments from the Fund may only be used to cover costs that:

  • are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID–19);
  • were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020 (the date of enactment of the CARES Act) for the city/county government; and
  • were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30,

A full excerpt of the regulations may be found at and-local-governments

The goal of this program is to help local nonprofit arts and culture organizations that are struggling due to the Pandemic begin on a path of recovery and reentry post-pandemic.

  1. Federal Grant Requirements
    • Restrictions: Funds can be used to assist small businesses that suffered business disruption and were forced to close due to COVID-19.
    • Funds Availability: Requirements that the funds must be spent by December 1, 2020, necessitates the implementation of an expedited application, review, and selection process.
  2. ArtsGreensboro and High Point Arts Councils (AG/HPAC) will implement a County approved plan that
    • adopts equity as a guiding principle and will imbed equity in policy decisions and the distribution of funds.
    • realizes the goal of the program to stabilize the arts and culture organizations and provides jobs.
    • is intended to be a one-time infusion of emergency funding to offset business disruption.

All completed applications will be reviewed for eligibility. AG/HPAC will utilize the Submittable Grant Portal to administer the Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organization grant process. The grants will not be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis. Instead, each applicant will be reviewed and deemed eligible or ineligible. All eligible nonprofit arts and culture applications will be reviewed by the AG/HPAC Review Panel and forwarded to the Guilford County Emergency Management Office with funding recommendations.

To be eligible for funding, all applicants must:

  • Function as a nonprofit arts or cultural organization with programs that are directly related to the creation, education, preservation, presentation of arts or cultural programming, and be the primary presenter/producer of the work and responsible for all aspects of its provision to the community.
  • Be a Guilford County-based, IRS-recognized 501(c)3 tax-exempt nonprofit in “good status” as a nonprofit corporation and up-to-date with IRS 990 filings.
  • Offer programming that is accessible to all members of the public in Guilford County for the last three consecutive years.
  • Have at least one paid staff person or board member (i.e., treasurer) who will be designated as the administrator of the grant funds.
  • Demonstrate the costs of business interruption caused by required closures during the period beginning March 13, 2020, due to COVID-19 Pandemic in at least the amount of the grant.
  • Nonprofit arts or cultural organizations with operating revenues over $10 million averaged over the last three years are ineligible.
  1. The process will include validation of whether the organization has a current, valid 501(c)3 status.
  2. AG/HPAC will use letters of incorporation and IRS 990s to ensure the agency was established before March 1, 2017, and confirm its primary programming and purpose
  3. AG/HPAC will check the website to verify mission and public programming.
  4. AG/HPAC will verify financial information submitted using financial statements provided in the Application and other publicly available sources.

Applicants may apply for amounts of up to 10% of their most recent 3-year average operating budget, not to exceed $50,000. Awards may not exceed the cost of business interruption or costs incurred to prepare for future impacts of the Pandemic. Funding recommendations are made by the Review Panel; however, Guilford County will make all final funding decisions.

Culturally-specific nonprofits arts organizations may receive an additional $2,500, however, total grant cannot exceed $50,000. Culturally-Specific Nonprofit Arts Organizations are defined as organizations with specific missions as posted in GuideStar and as verified on their websites that their actual programming has a specific focus to promote, preserve and enhance the identity and character of one of the following specific cultures:

  • African-Americans: Persons with origins in any of the black racial groups of
  • Hispanic-Americans/Latinx: Persons of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Spanish, or Central and South American origin.
  • Asian-Americans: Persons having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Middle East, Southeast Asia, the Indian subcontinent or the Pacific Islands, and any other region of the Asian continent.
  • Native Americans: Persons having origin in a recognized Native American Tribes.

Culturally Specific Nonprofit Arts Organizations are not designated based on their audiences, customers, and clientele.

To qualify as a Culturally-Specific Nonprofit Arts Organization, the leadership of the Culturally-Specific nonprofit organization must demographically represent the specific culture identified.

The total amount available for the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Organization Grant Program is $500,000.

  • At least 30 Nonprofit Arts & Culture Organizations will receive grants
  • 100% of grant funding to be disbursed to eligible entities by September 30, 2020
  • 50% of entities receiving grants can resume activities related to their mission by end of first quarter 2021
  • 50% of entities receiving grants to hire/rehire employees and/or artists by January 1, 2021

Grant applications may be made online between 1:00 AM EST on Friday, August 21, 2020, and will be accepted until 11:59 PM EST on Friday, September 4, 2020. Applicants will need to create an account to apply. This will allow users to save progress on their applications should they need additional time to fill out the Application or collect documentation. Users must make sure to keep a note of their user name and password.

Questions from Applicants may be submitted via email to no later than 5:00 PM on Monday, August 31, 2020. We will respond to questions within 2 business days, and Frequently Asked Questions with responses will be posted August 21, 2020 – September 4, 2020


The primary outreach for the Grants for Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organization Grants will be done by ArtsGreensboro and High Point Arts Council through social media, direct emails to organizations on our email lists, newsletter, and our nonprofit arts business partners in collaboration with the Guilford County  Economic Management Department.

The grant application review process will include verification of pertinent business documentation. Only applications with fully submitted documentation will be reviewed in consideration for the grant award. Incomplete applications will be ineligible for the grant award.

  • August 21: Open application period
  • August 31: Deadline for questions pertaining to the Application
  • September 4: Due date for applications
  • September 7- 16: Application review period and selection
  • September 17 – 21: Submit recommendations to Guilford County
  • September 22 – 30: Guilford County Final Review and Determination, Inform Applicants, Funds disbursement

All grant recipients will be required to provide reporting on the grant, including completion of a follow-up survey after the grant is awarded. Grant recipients must keep detailed records of reopening dates, receipts for the expenditure of grant funds, and staff and payroll records. Grant recipients are required to comply with any and all grant requirements and maintain all records in accordance with City, State, and Federal Regulations and Guidelines.

  • AG/HPAC will market and promote this program under the AG/HPAC and Guilford County logos.
  • AG/HPAC will use ArtsGreensboro’s grant portal called “Submittable” for applications to the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Organization Grant Program.
  • AG/HPAC will review grant applications, related required financial documents, and assess eligibility for grants to reimburse the costs of business interruption caused by required closures.
  • AG/HPAC will seek independent reviewers from throughout the County and will provide evaluator access to those designated reviewers in the Submittable portal.
  • Review Panel will evaluate grant applications based on criteria established by AG/HPAC and Guilford County.
  • AG/HPAC will perform post-award, follow-up survey to gather the number of employees and/or artists rehired or any new jobs created, as well as whether the agency returned to the business of providing arts and cultural activities.


General Information

  1. Organization name
  2. Contact person
  3. Contact email
  4. Contact telephone
  5. Website URL
  6. Executive Director or designated Board Officer
  7. Board Chair
  8. Board Treasurer
  9. Year incorporated
  10. Tax ID #
  11. Address (street, city, state, zip)
  12. County
  13. Mission statement
  14. Organizational size (checkbox) is based an average of the budget size over the last 3 fiscal years: 
    • Small: Operating revenues of less than $300,000
    • Midsize: Operating revenues between $300,001 and $999,000.
    • Large: Operating revenues greater than $1 million.

 Programmatic Information

  1. Brief description of core arts and cultural related activities (2000 characters)
  2. Percentage of time dedicated to arts or culture-related programs (must exceed 25%)
  3. Percentage of free programs available to the general public
  4. Audience profile (based on the last 12 months or last fiscal year)
    • Total audience served
    • Percentage of total audience estimated to reside in Guilford County
  5. Since the onset of COVID-19, how, if applicable, has your organization provided arts or culture engagement opportunities (e.g., virtual events, online classes, etc.) (2000 characters)

Financial and COVID Impact Information

  1. Grant Request

Complete the following information: for March, April, May, June, and July, what was the financial impact of COVID-19 as compared to a pre-pandemic operating budget.

  1. Revenues:

*Fundraisers must be reported at net.

3. Expenses: 

  1. COVID-19 Related Staff Reductions: Have you laid off, furloughed, or not filled vacant positions? Y/N
  2. Complete the following table for staff that is currently furloughed or laid off

6. COVID-19 Related Relief Funds

Financial Data Uploads

  • Upload organizational IRS 990 (or EZ 990) for the last three years
  • Upload most recent year-end financial statements (Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet)
  • Upload July 2020 financial statements (Profit and Loss and Balance Sheet)
  • IRS Determination Letter

Reentry Plan

  1. Briefly outline the organizational plan for resuming operations once COVID-19 assembly restrictions are lifted. (3000 characters)


By submitting this Application, I acknowledge I have read and understood the guidelines for the Nonprofit Arts & Culture Organizations Grant Program. I make the following representations and acknowledge agreement to the following terms and conditions:

  • Upon approval of this Application, as evidenced by the signature of the County Manager below, this Application becomes a binding contract between the entity named above and Guilford County (Agreement).
  • I am the duly authorized representative of the entity named above and can bind the entity to the terms of this Agreement.
  • If funds are provided by the County, the funds will be used for the purposes set forth above.
  • In no event shall the County’s financial responsibility exceed the approved amount, set forth below.
  • I bear full responsibility for any and all tax consequences of receiving grant funds.
  • There is no agency, employment, joint venture, or other such relationship created by virtue of award of the grant.  The County does not endorse the specific organization.
  • The applicant shall defend and indemnify the County and its employees from and against any claim, injury, liability, loss, cost, and/or expense or damage, including all costs and reasonable attorney’s fees, arising from or alleged to arise from the activity or event. 
  • The representations made by the applicant in this Application are material terms of the Agreement, as is compliance with the Grant Program. The County may cancel this Agreement at any time upon discovery that any of the information set forth above is inaccurate, that these terms have been violated, or any provision of the Grant Program has been violated.
  • The County is authorized to make all the inquiries you deem necessary to verify the accuracy of the information contained herein. Additionally, the applicant agrees that in the event money is provided pursuant to this Application, the County or its agents shall be entitled to access and audit such records as may be necessary to prevent fraud in this process or ensure compliance with federal requirements.  Under penalties of perjury, I declare that I have read the foregoing Application and that the facts stated in it are true.  I understand that knowingly making false written declaration may be charged as a felony of the third degree.

Frequently Asked Questions

If your operations were impacted by COVID-19, and there was an interruption to your operations (canceled programs, etc.), resulting in you are eligible.

If you have any continuing expenses (salaries, rent, mortgage, utilities, etc.) that you must cover to be able to open post-COVID, the grant funds can help cover those costs if paid before December 1, 2020.

Example: Your organization budgeted to earn through ticket sales $5000 per performance, and because of COVID, you canceled 10 performances between March – July. Your total pre-pandemic budget for ticket sales was $50,000. Now, enter the total in ticket sales during the COVID period.

The finance questions are retrospective, not projections. Also, it is easier to think of this as a cash budget. For example, you have a fundraiser in June, but you start budgeting dollars to come in January, what is your month to month projection of cash coming in before the date of the event? So your example, enter the budgeted revenue for the fundraiser for months in question, what did you take in (tickets, sponsorships, etc.), and there will most likely be a deficit.

Enter the decrease in FTEs. For example, you had a full-time education director who made $40,000. You cut them back to 75% time, the decrease in FTE is .25, and the annualized decrease in salary is $10,000. This question is getting at the heart of what is happening at art groups; staff reductions will make it hard to come back live if we cannot support creative staff.



  1. Pre-review
    1. Verification
      • AG/HPAC will validate whether the organization has a current, valid 501(c)3 status.
      • AG/HPAC will use letters of incorporation and IRS 990s to ensure the agency was established before March 1, 2017
      • AG/HPAC will check the website to verify mission and public
      • AG/HPAC will verify financial information submitted using financial statements provided in the Application and other publicly available sources.
  2. Panel Review