Grants for Organizations (GFO) provide 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.

Annual Timeline

Intent to Apply (New applicants) Due: September 15

On-Year (Full Application) Due: November 15

Off-Year Application Due: December 15

Applicants must:

  • Produce or present the arts to the public through ongoing arts programming. 

  • Have 501(c)3 tax-exempt status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service at the time of application, except for units of local government and colleges and universities. 

  • Be incorporated in Maryland as a nonprofit or have significant physical presence in Maryland. Organizations that are not incorporated in Maryland but have a significant physical presence in Maryland may not be eligible for a General Operating Grant but may be eligible for an Arts Program Grant to support activities taking place in Maryland. For more information please contact the program director for the artistic category for which this scenario applies. 

  • Have operated as an arts organization or arts program for one full fiscal year and be able to submit a financial statement* for their most recently completed fiscal year at the time of application. 

  • Establish that the majority of the arts activities it produces and/or presents take place in Maryland and that most of the arts organization’s or the arts program’s annual expenditures are devoted to activities that occur within the State of Maryland. 

  • Be governed by a legally-liable board of directors acting under a mission statement and budget specific to the organization.

If your organization is a NEW Applicant or if your organization DID NOT receive a GFO Grant in the most recent funding cycle, your organization must complete the Intent to Apply form in order to be eligible to apply.

MSAC uses a staggered, three-year application cycle to conduct panel reviews of the majority of GFO applications. The cycle designates different artistic disciplines for each year of the cycle. GFO applicants are on an “On” year for one out of every three years, and “Off” years during the other years. Applications are submitted annually by all organizations, but the “Off-Year” application is a simplified application process. Refer to the guidelines for full details.

Please refer to the Review Criteria as you prepare your narrative and other required documents. All materials should tell the same story and represent your organization at its best.

Due to the ongoing state of emergency, all current organizations in the GFO program are 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. 

  • On-Year
    • If your organization is on an “on” year, or was designated as participating in the on-year cycle this year, you must complete an On-Year application by November 15, 2020. 
    • MSAC utilizes peer Grants Review Panels to aid in its decision-making. Panels are engaged to review and evaluate On-Year applications only. 
    • Please refer to the guidelines for the schedule of On-Year organizations by discipline. 
    • You must submit a financial statement or audit for your last completed fiscal year. If your organization operates on a calendar year, then use the last completed calendar year. Due to the ongoing state of emergency pandemic, you may submit a financial statement or audit from FY19 (pre-COVID 19) as part of your application. If your organization operates on a calendar year, then use the last completed calendar year or CY2019.
  • Off-Year
    • Off-Year applications  will be submitted by only those organizations that were recommended for the three-year application cycle during their discipline’s “off” year. Off-Year applications are due on December 15, 2020.  
    • The Off-Year application has a simplified narrative section for indicating any changes in the organization, and noting accomplishments. There are no panel reviews or site visits in the Off-Year period. 
    • You must submit a financial statement or audit for your last completed fiscal year. If your organization operates on a calendar year, then use the last completed calendar year. Due to the ongoing state of emergency pandemic, you may submit a financial statement or audit from FY19 (pre-COVID 19) as part of your application. If your organization operates on a calendar year, then use the last completed calendar year or CY2019.

See the Grant Guidelines for detailed information.

Grant agreement forms are prepared and emailed after July 1 to those that have been awarded funding. The forms must be signed and the grant recipient must meet all reporting requirements before grant funds are disbursed. Funds are generally distributed in two parts – 75% after the Grant Agreement Form and reports are submitted and the remaining 25% after the Interim Report is submitted in January.

If awarded, a GFO grant, recipient organizations must file an interim and a final report in SmartSimple by the deadlines specified in communications from MSAC with the organization. 

See the Grant Guidelines for detailed information

  • FY 2021 Grants for Organizations awarded
  • FY 2020 Grants for Organizations awarded
  • FY 2019 Grants for Organizations awarded
  • FY 2018 Grants for Organizations awarded
  • FY 2017 Grants for Organizations awarded
  • FY 2016 Grants for Organizations awarded