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Grants for Organizations

Joe's Movement Emporium Taratibu Youth Association by Will Webb
Port Tobacoo Players present the drama, Next to Normal. Photograph by Ann Marie Watson.

Grants for Organizations


Strengthening Maryland's Arts Infrastructure: Grants for Organizations

From large, internationally renowned institutions to local gems of the community, Maryland invests in organizations and programs that uplift, inspire and enrich our citizens through the boundless power of the arts. 



The Grants for Organizations (GFO) granting program provides unrestricted general operating support to nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, as well as units of government, that produce or present ongoing arts programming that is open to the public.  GFO awardees educate children, uplift communities, stimulate business activity and support jobs. 

See past and current awardees lists here.


GFO Grant Guidelines

For information on the GFO Grant Program as well as a detailed look at the application, please refer to the FY22 GFO Grant Guidelines
Due to the ongoing state of emergency, all current organizations in the GFO program will be placed in an “Off Year” for FY22 (unless you have been notified otherwise by your Program Director). The Discipline-specific cycle will resume for FY23 funding.
Other important GFO documents can be found here:
Contact your Program Director:
Emily Sollenberger ( Services, Folk and Traditional Arts, Multi-Discipline, Visual Arts/Media)
Laura Weiss (Theater, Music, Dance, Literary Arts)

GFO Important Dates

Tuesday, September 15, 2020 - Intent to Apply Applications are due (for organizations interested in applying for the first time)
Sunday, November 15, 2020 at 5pm - All On Year Applications are due
Tuesday, December 15, 2020 at 5pm - All Off Year Applications are due
Technical support is available from during regular business hours (Mondays - Fridays, 8am - 4pm)
Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered for funding. 
Panel Review Dates will be announced in Winter 2021.


New Applicants  

The FY22 Intent to Apply application is now open and available through Smart Simple. Intent to Apply applications are due on September 15, 2020.

If your organization is a NEW Applicant or if your organization DID NOT receive a Fiscal Year (FY) 2021 MSAC GFO Grant, your organization was required to complete the Intent to Apply form in order to be eligible to apply for an MSAC FY2022 GFO Grant.

If your organization was deemed eligible, you will complete a Full Application for FY22.

To confirm eligibility and complete the "Intent to Apply" form, you must be able to answer "YES!" to all five sections in the chart below.


If you were not able to confirm all five but are still interested in learning more about the growth of your arts organization, please let us know how we can help by connecting with GFO Program Staff.

The Intent to Apply application is now available to complete in Smart Simple Applications are due September 15, 2020.

Forms submitted after the deadline will not be considered.

All grantees are required to submit a Final Report communicating data required by the National Endowment for the Arts. This required data can be found here. For program specific Report information, please see the corresponding Guidelines.


GFO Panelists

MSAC is currently seeking panelists for the FY22 GFO cycle. Applications are due on September 4, 2020. 

MSAC relies on a diverse array of experts from across the state of Maryland to do the important work of evaluating applications. MSAC selects Grants for Organizations (GFO) panelists with a focus on diversity of experiences, diversity of location, and expertise in the disciplines of the organizations under review. Panelists must be Maryland residents. 

The FY22 GFO process will include one multi-disciplinary panel to review all new applications and organizations in an “on-year.” 

Panelists receive modest compensation for their service.

What does a panelist do?

Selected panelists: 

  • Attend one in-person or virtual training session.

  • Review and evaluate applications on MSAC’s online grants management system, SmartSimple.*

  • Complete assigned extension assignments (Artistic Site Visits and In-Depth Conversations)

  • Attend one GFO panel meeting (March/April 2021)

*The average commitment of hours varies based on the number of applications. The majority of work happens on the panelists’ own time from late November 2020 through the panel meeting in March/April 2021.

Panelists must have access to a computer with internet connection to complete reviews.

How do I apply to be a panelist? 

Submit your application via MSAC’s online grants management system, SmartSimple. 

  • Click the Apply Now button below to log in or create a free account in SmartSimple.

  • Under Funding Opportunities, select "Public Call."

  • Select "Panelist" from the drop down options and click "Save Draft" to populate the application.

  • Select “Grants for Organizations” as the Grant Program.

Questions? Contact Program Directors Emily Sollenberger ( or Laura Weiss ( for assistance. 

The Maryland State Arts Council is accessible to all patrons. Guests with accessibility questions or who require additional assistance may call 410-767-6476 or email