Grant Applicant FAQs
Below are answers to some of the frequently asked questions about our current grant offerings.
This resource will be updated throughout grant season. We encourage you to check back for future updates. If you have questions about a grant offering after reviewing the grant guidelines, please reach out to our staff. View a directory of our Arts Program Specialists contact information at our grants staff contacts page.
Frequently Asked Questions
Artists in SchoolsClick here to view program information for the Artists in Schools grant. Do I need to include Letters of Agreement (LOA) in my application when the grant period does not begin until January 1, 2023? Yes, LOAs are required, signed by both parties in the partnership, specifically detailing the roles and responsibilities of each. However, because this is a two-year funding period and it is possible the schools served by the program could change in the second year, please include complete LOAs using your best planning practices for the first year. What if the nonprofit/school partnerships change in the second year of the grant period? If school partnerships change in the second year, those changes should be documented with new LOAs detailed in the Final Report. To allow for that flexibility, it is suggested that your template LOA specify the partnership duration as “the grant period” rather than with reference to a specific school year.
Arts Education: Arts Integration TrainingClick here to view program information for the Arts Integration Training grant.
Do I need to include Letters of Agreement (LOA) in my application when the grant period does not begin until January 1, 2023?
Yes, LOAs are required, signed by both parties in the partnership, specifically detailing the roles and responsibilities of each. However, because this is a two-year funding period and it is possible the schools served by the program could change in the second year, please include complete LOAs using your best planning practices for the first year.
What if the nonprofit/school partnerships change in the second year of the grant period?
If school partnerships change in the second year, those changes should be documented with new LOAs detailed in the Final Report. To allow for that flexibility, it is suggested that your template LOA specify the partnership duration as “the grant period” rather than with reference to a specific school year.
Arts Education ExposureClick here to view program information for the Arts Education Exposure grant.
Arts and AccessibilityClick here to view program information for the Arts and Accessibility grant. Can individual artists or nonprofit organizations apply for the Cycle B Arts and Accessibility grant? The current grant opening is for Administering Organizations (AOs) who will regrant the program funds throughout the state. Once AOs have been identified, nonprofit organizations and individual artists may apply to them directly, for grants to achieve the Arts and Accessibility program goals. More information will be available on the Arts and Accessibility landing page once the AOs are confirmed. What is the timeline for offering Arts and Accessibility program grants to individual artists and non-profits? The program’s Administering Organizations (AOs) will be chosen through a competitive process in 2022, and their grant period will begin January 1, 2023. We anticipate AOs will begin regranting program funds in early 2023. What will the guidelines be for Arts and Accessibility applicants seeking $3,000 Individual Artist grants or $5,000 non-profit grants? Once AOs have been identified, they will develop specific guidelines in partnership with CAC. For planning purposes, you can expect program funds to support the careers and employment of artists with all types of disabilities, as detailed in the Background and Purpose section of the current AO-AA Guidelines.
California Creative CorpsClick here to view program information for the California Creative Corps grant.
We know we are supposed to serve all counties in our region, but what about counties that do not have any census tracts that fall in the lowest HPI quartile? For the counties in which there are no tracts that fall in the lowest HPI quartile, support should be prioritized to the lowest percentile tracts. The HPI percentile for each tract is an average of the scores of the eight Policy Action Areas (Economic, Education, Social, Transportation, Neighborhood, Housing, Health Care Access, Clean Environment). For example, a tract may have an overall HPI score of 30.7% (second quartile), but an Education score of 12.6% (lowest quartile). AOs should research which of these specific scores indicate the greatest level of need and work to support projects that will impact those areas.
Are we supposed to engage geographic areas that do not have high enough populations to be included as HPI tracts? AOs should include these geographic areas as priority populations if available data indicates that they would likely fall into the lowest HPI quartile given higher population density.
Does each subgrant have to adhere to the 80/20 artist salary/project support ratio? No. This requirement must be adhered to for the aggregate regranting, but not for each individual grant. For example, an AO may make some grants to artists entirely for their salaries and some grants to nonprofit organizations that are primarily offering production, exhibition, and rehearsal space, equipment usage, etc. An AO is in compliance with this requirement as long as the overall regranting meets the 80/20 ratio.
When can we expect to receive our grant payment? Grantees can expect to receive payment between 6 and 8 weeks after the beginning of the grant activity period (October 1), assuming all contract documents have been submitted correctly.Will the CAC host an overview webinar for the California Creative Corps grant? The California Creative Corps Grant Overview Webinar will take place on Tuesday, May 3, 2022, at 11 a.m. The arts program specialist will review the program guidelines, including grant request amounts, eligibility, and other grant-related information. You can register here. Which counties are included in the different geographic regions? A map indicating the counties included in each geographic region is available here: https://arts.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/CCC_RegionalMap_2022.pdf Can nonprofit organizations or individual artists apply for Creative Corps funds? The current grant program opening is for Administering Organizations (AOs) to regrant the funds across the regions that they represent. Once AOs in your region have been identified, nonprofit organizations and individual artists may apply to them directly to support projects that center artists in achieving the Creative Corps program goals. More information will be available on the Creative Corps landing page once the AOs are confirmed. We know we are supposed to serve all counties in our region, but what about counties that do not have any census tracts that fall in the lowest HPI quartile? For the counties in which there are no tracts that fall in the lowest HPI quartile, support should be prioritized to the lowest percentile tracts. The HPI percentile for each tract is an average of the scores of the eight Policy Action Areas (Economic, Education, Social, Transportation, Neighborhood, Housing, Health Care Access, Clean Environment). For example, a tract may have an overall HPI score of 30.7% (second quartile), but an Education score of 12.6% (lowest quartile). AOs should research which of these specific scores indicate the greatest level of need and work to support projects that will impact those areas. Are we supposed to engage geographic areas that do not have high enough populations to be included as HPI tracts? AOs should include these geographic areas as priority populations if available data indicates that they would likely fall into the lowest HPI quartile given higher population density. Does each subgrant have to adhere to the 80/20 artist salary/project support ratio? No. This requirement must be adhered to for the aggregate regranting, but not for each individual grant. For example, an AO may make some grants to artists entirely for their salaries and some grants to nonprofit organizations that are primarily offering production, exhibition, and rehearsal space, equipment usage, etc. An AO is in compliance with this requirement as long as the overall regranting meets the 80/20 ratio. When can we expect to receive our grant payment? Grantees can expect to receive payment between 6 and 8 weeks after the beginning of the grant activity period (October 1), assuming all contract documents have been submitted correctly.
Creative Youth DevelopmentClick here to view program information for the Creative Youth Development grant.
Folk and Traditional ArtsClick here to view program information for the Folk and Traditional Arts grant. Can nonprofit organizations or individual artists apply for Folk & Traditional Arts program funds? The current grant program opening is for Administering Organizations (AOs) to regrant the funds across the regions that they represent. Once AOs in your region have been identified, nonprofit organizations and individual artists may apply to them directly to support projects that center artists in achieving the Folk & Traditional Arts program goals. More information will be available on the Folk & Traditional Arts landing page once the AOs are confirmed.
Individual Artist FellowshipsClick here to view program information for the Individual Artist Fellowships grant.
When will the next round of Individual Artist Fellowships open for application? Applications for the Individual Artist Fellowship program will open in early 2023. In July, the CAC will be opening its Administering Organization (AO) grant process in order to select a partner organization(s) to manage this year’s program on our behalf. More information will be available on the Individual Artists Fellowship grant program webpage once AOs are confirmed.
JUMP StArtsClick here to view JUMP StArts grant guidelines. Is it possible for two nonprofit organizations to apply together as a collaborative partnership? No. Only one organization may serve as the applicant. Partnering organizations are required, and must be a juvenile justice and/or social service organization working with entities or within facilities as indicated according to the applicable program strand. How do you define “priority youth”? These may be youth and young people who were dismissed from middle, high and/or continuation schools; have been subjected to racial profiling; have been arrested and or are on probation; are currently incarcerated at a juvenile justice facility or have been released from a facility, attending a court-appointed educational institution; are undocumented; are unhoused and/or migratory; are refugees; have incarcerated parent(s) or guardian(s) and/or are pregnant or young parents themselves. Does the JUMP StArts program only accept proposals for artists-in-residence programs, or are general arts education proposals for vulnerable youth also eligible? Both. The JUMP StArts program supports arts and culture education, apprenticeship and/or mentorship via artists-in-residence programs for at-promise youth and young people through the age of 24. What is meant by “community spaces”? The JUMP StArts Community Spaces and/or County Facilities program strand supports activities taking place during or outside of traditional school hours in county-operated correctional facilities; public settings; online; and in arts and culture venues, community centers, school sites, youth centers, and intergenerational settings. For previous Youth Arts Action grantees who work with at-promise youth, but not with participants directly involved with the justice system, would JUMP StArts be the best program to apply to this grant season? Not necessarily. Impact Projects may be more appropriate, depending on your project and partners. Projects should prioritize youth currently or previously system-engaged, or youth who are especially vulnerable to being engaged in or by the justice system, and the project should be tailored specifically to respond to their needs. Contact the grant’s designated Arts Program Specialist for more help determining the best fit for your project. Can you apply for and receive funding for both Cycle A & B? Yes. Awardees from Cycle A are eligible to apply for and receive funding for Cycle B. Can you apply for Cycle A and Cycle B with the same project? It depends. You may apply to the same funding strand if your project content differs from your previously funded project (ex: Funding for Cycle A & B in the State Facility strand with different project content). You may apply with the same project content only if you are serving a different population or different facility (ex: Same project content for Cycle A & B, serving two different County Facilities and/or Community Spaces). We are not allowed to video or photograph our in custody Juvenile Justice Center students. What should we provide for work samples? Images of student participants are not required. You may provide samples of student created work, examples of a lead artist’s work, or other examples or forms of documentation.
Statewide and Regional NetworksClick here to view the Statewide and Regional Networks grant guidelines.
Administering Organizations are organizations that have the capacity to support programming and services regionally and/or statewide for artists or art organizations. AOs receive a large grant from the CAC and then are responsible for administering those funds through regranting to arts organizations and individual artists. AOs should have the capacity to serve an entire area of artists and organizations as opposed to a few artists within one area
What is and Administering Organization grant?
AOs who are grantees of the California Arts Council are responsible for the planning and implementation of designated grant programs, including but not limited to:
- Development of program components and timeline;
- Providing technical assistance;
- Capacity building at the local level;
- Implementing statewide and community-specific engagement strategies and trusted culture bearers;
What does the CAC consider an “artistic practice”?
We do not specifically define “artistic practice.” An applicant makes this determination for themselves regarding their work.
Does the CAC have a definition of an “arts organization”?
An arts and cultural organization is defined as an entity with a primary purpose of providing arts, creative, or cultural programming/services.
See “Individual Artist Fellowships” under the Grant Opportunities section of this FAQ.
If my organization received funding from the NEA ARP (American Rescue Plan) grant, can we still apply for CAC grants?
Yes. NEA grant recipients are eligible to apply for CAC grants, as long as there is no overlap in costs or activities in the proposal budget and they meet all other CAC grant eligibility requirements.
Is my organization eligible if we do not have a principal place of business in California?
No. A principal place of business in California is required.
Is my organization eligible if we have not been a California-based organization for two or more years?
Yes. However, your organization must be California-based at the time of application.
My organization meets the minimum two-year history requirement for providing arts programming and services, but not all within California. Can we still apply?
Yes, but your organization must have regular ongoing arts programming and/or services and be California-based at the time of application.
Does my organization need to have federal 501(c)(3) designation throughout our entire two-year history in order to be eligible?
No. Organizational history is determined only by the length of time engaged in arts programming and/or services.
Can an organization less than two years old use the history of a supporting partner organization to meet the two-year requirement?
No. The history of consistent engagement in arts programming and/or services must be based solely on the timeline of the applicant organization.
Can our organization apply while our nonprofit status application is still in process?
Yes. If your organization is not a unit of government, and does not yet have nonprofit status, you may apply in partnership with an eligible fiscal sponsor.
Our California-based organization has a national reach. Are we eligible to apply for CAC grants?
Yes. Please note: If applying for a project-based grant through our Impact Projects or JUMP StArts opportunities, the proposed project must take place entirely within California.
Do you support new organizations? Or does the organization need to be established?
All organizations must have, at minimum, a two-year history of arts programming and/or services at the time of application. Please review grant-specific guidelines for additional information.
Is my California-based tribe eligible?
Yes. Please review grant-specific guidelines for additional information.
Is my organization eligible if we do not have a principal place of business in California, but have a fiscal sponsor that does?
No. Both the applicant organization and the fiscal sponsor must have principal places of business in California.
What do we do if we need to change our fiscal sponsor after applying?
Changes in fiscal sponsor are not permitted after becoming a grant awardee, as stated in grant program guidelines. If a grant is awarded, the fiscal sponsor becomes the legal contract holder with the California Arts Council. Exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis, at the discretion of the CAC. If an exception is granted, the application returns to panelists for adjudication once more and is given a new rank, determining an updated award or decline status.
Can my organization apply while our fiscal sponsorship is still in process?
No. For funding opportunities where fiscal sponsorships are allowed, a Letter of Agreement between the fiscal sponsor and the organization must be signed and submitted within each application. Please see additional information on CAC Fiscal Sponsor Policy.
Are capital/infrastructure improvement expenses allowed for any grant opportunities?
No. Construction projects, purchase of land and buildings, or capital expenditures used to maintain, upgrade, acquire, or repair capital assets are not allowed. Please review the complete list of activities and expenses that CAC does not fund.
Are there limits for how much funding an organization can receive?
Yes. Please refer to the Funding Restrictions section of each grant’s guidelines for specific information on how much funding an organization can request and receive.
Is it possible to apply for more than one grant?
Yes. However, for organization’s with a total operating revenue above $250,000, the sum of requests for CAC grants during the same year of funding cannot exceed 50% of the total operating revenue from the most recently completed fiscal year.
Is there a request amount limit for organizations with a total operating revenue at or below $250,000?
No. Organizations with a total operating revenue at or below $250,000 can request any amount within the grant’s maximum request amount.
Are K-12 schools or school districts eligible to submit grant applications? No. Schools and school districts are not eligible to apply for CAC grants. We do, however, fund eligible arts organizations with projects that serve schools.
Can you apply for Grants in Cycle A and Cycle B?
Yes. Applicants are not restricted from applying to grants in only one cycle of funding, however the total request amount restriction for organization’s with total operating revenues above $250,000 still applies.
Is the DataArts Project Report required?
No. This is no longer a requirement in our grant applications.
What grant programs are available now?
Grant programs currently accepting applications are highlighted and listed at the top of our grant programs webpage.
Who determines the grants that are offered?
Our policy-setting Council, appointed by state elected officials, determines the grant programs and allocations of the California Arts Council. The Council holds public meetings throughout the year where policies are discussed and reviews research and public input to inform their decisions.
Who can apply for a grant?
All of our grant programs have specialized eligibility requirements. Generally, California-based arts organizations with nonprofit status or a fiscal sponsor may apply to our grant programs. Opportunities are now available for individual artists through the Individual Artist Fellowships. Each grant program has its own set of guidelines, which contain details on applicant eligibility.
How to apply?
All applications are submitted through our online application portal and grants management system, www.calartscouncil.smartsimple.com. An account must be created to access the system. Applications generally include narrative questions to be completed by an applicant and required attachments.
Are there any tips for new applicants?
Read the guidelines for each individual grant in full before beginning an application.
Create a profile in our online application portal early in your process.
Give yourself plenty of time to prepare and submit an application.
Be specific and be clear. Successful proposals address the grant program requirements and goals.
Be authentic. Celebrate what makes your proposal unique. Avoid jargon in your narrative.
Prepare your narrative in a word processing application (MS Word or Google Docs) before inputting your narrative into the online grants management system.
- Check the online application for specific instructions about uploads and documentation that are not detailed in the guidelines.
Who determines who gets a grant?
Our staff reviews applications for completeness and basic eligibility at the time of submission. A panel of field representatives will adjudicate complete and eligible applications based on the review criteria outlined in the program guidelines. Our panelists are cultural practitioners from across the state who are committed to equity in the application review process. The final authority for grant awards is the appointed Council. After receiving and reviewing recommendations from Council committees, and based on the panel’s rankings, the Council will vote on final funding awards at a public meeting. Awards may differ from requested amounts based on panel rank and available funding.
What happens if my application is successful?
You will receive a notification via our online grants management system if your application is approved for funding. Upon notification of grant award, you will be asked to complete all required contract documents within 30 days in order to receive grant payment. Our staff will also contact you about participating in an announcement of your grant award.
What happens if my application is not successful?
You will receive a notification via our online grants management system if your application is not approved for funding. Notes from the panel review will be made available to you within the online application portal to aid in your understanding of the rank assigned to your application and to assess how you may improve your application for future funding opportunities. We truly want applicants to be successful in receiving a grant and our staff is available to provide technical assistance and support as needed.
- Online Application Portal
- Additional Support Materials
- Budget & Matching Funds
- Registration: Individuals
- Registration: Organizations
- Work Samples
Online Application Portal
When will the 2022 grant applications be available?
The grant management system will open for Cycle A grant applications on January 19, 2022. The Grants Overview webinar for Cycle A opportunities will take place on Wednesday, January 26, 2022, at 1 p.m. Subscribe to ArtBeat to receive a notification for the Cycle B webinar later this spring.
Where can I submit my application?
All applications are submitted through our online grants management system, SmartSimple. An account must be created to access the system.
Additional Support Materials
Can more Letters of Support or Testimonials be submitted than are required?
No. Please provide only the requested number of Letters of Support or Testimonials required in the grant application.
Can my Letter of Support be signed by multiple individuals?
No. Only one stakeholder may be reflected in a Letter of Support.
Budget & Matching Funds
What is Total Operating Revenue (TOR)?
The CACs definition of Total Operating Revenue is the total cash inflow from your organization’s most recently completed fiscal year. Cash inflow/income includes all earned income (ex: ticket sales) and contributed income (ex: grants, donations/contributions, one-time organizational relief funding).
How do I determine what fiscal years to include in my Budget Snapshot?
Applicants are required to provide the last two completed fiscal years (2019-2020 and 2020-2021) in their Budget Snapshot.
Should restricted or pass-through funds be included in our organization’s calculation of Total Operating Revenue?
No, they should not be included.
Within the two-year Budget Snapshot, how should my organization represent in-kind contributions?
The value of in-kind goods and services should be reflected within the revenue section in the “contributed” line. Brief budget notes should be entered, describing the in-kind source(s). Please refer to the 2021 In-Kind Contributions Information. If you have further questions, please contact the grant’s designated Arts Program Specialist.
On the Matching Funds table, what is meant by “projected,” “pending,” or “committed” funding sources?
“Committed” refers to funding sources that have been promised or guaranteed. “Pending” refers to potential funding sources where a request has been made, but a decision, determination or commitment has yet to be offered. “Projected” refers to funding sources which are planned, but not yet requested, applied for, or placed.
In what timeframe are funds eligible to count as matching funds? (For example, what is the earliest my organization could have received the funds to count as matching funds for this cycle’s application?)
The CAC does not have specific requirements regarding when matching funds may have been projected, pending, or committed. If recommended for funding, it is expected that the required match will be met with committed funds by the end of the Grant Activity Period.
Does the total operating revenue count include other covid relief grants?
Yes. Other covid relief funding (ex: PPP) counts toward your organization’s total operating revenue.
What does 1:1 Match mean/what is a matching fund?
A 1:1 match requires meeting the same amount of the grant award (dollar for dollar) with either cash or in-kind sources. State funds cannot be used to meet the match. The status of each source must be specified as either projected, pending, or Committed within the grant application. Matching funds can be met with any combination of in-kind and cash sources. Click here for additional information on CAC in-kind contributions.
I am an artist. Am I eligible to apply for CAC funding?
CAC grant programs that offer funding opportunities for individual artists and arts administrators (i.e., Arts and Accessibility, Arts Administrators Pipeline, and Individual Artists Fellowship) are managed on our behalf by various partner organizations, known as Administering Organizations (AOs). Once the AOs are awarded, those organizations will establish a regranting process for individual artists to apply.
Why can’t I find my organization using the IRS lookup tool?
Make sure you are only providing your organization’s nine-digit Employer Identification Number (EIN), being sure to omit any spaces or dashes. If your organization cannot be identified through the IRS Lookup tool, please contact the grant’s designated Arts Program Specialist for assistance.
How can I reassign the Applicant Owner to another staff member?
Ownership of an application can be transferred from one organizational contact to another by submitting a Change Request on the Organization Profile/Change Request Tab in the grants management system. This is only recommended when there is a staff transition (example: the Applicant Owner has left the organization).
Why can’t I certify my organization?
Only the Primary Contact for an organization can update Organizational Profile information and certify the organization.
How do I change my organization’s profile information within the grants management system?
Most organization profile changes can be made by the Primary Contact of the organization. However, there are some changes that have an impact on all the organization’s grants and associated contracts. As a result, these changes cannot be made by the Primary Contact and will require staff assistance. These changes must be submitted as a Change Request on the Organization Profile/Change Request Tab. Staff will review the requested change(s) and reach out for more information if required. The type of changes that require staff assistance include: Organization Name, Organization Address, and Non-Profit Status.
How can I change my organization’s contacts within the grants management system?
- To change the organization’s Primary Contact:
- If you can login as the current Primary Contact – The current Primary Contact must submit a Change Request on the Organization Profile/Change Request Tab. There are detailed screen instructions within the grants management system. PLEASE NOTE: If you need a new individual to be added to the organization, they need to self-register as an additional contact with the organization prior to requesting any changes to their role (primary or secondary). Applicants can do this directly by clicking on the “Register Here” button of the grants management system landing page: https://calartscouncil.smartsimple.com.
- If you cannot/do not have the login of the current primary contact – You will not be able to submit a Change Request. Add yourself as a contact to the organization first. You must then send an email to CAC staff explaining the situation. CAC staff will be able to make you the Primary Contact. After this, you may submit a formal Change Request as described above.
- To add or modify an organizational contact: Registered organizations can create a new organizational user account and associate with the existing organization by registering through the CAC’s grants management system landing page. Click on the “Register Here” button and follow the on-screen instructions. For contacts already listed in the organization’s profile: Most contact details can be modified by each user directly. If restricted fields require modification, or changes need to be made for a former organizational contact, applicants must submit a Change Request through the Organization Profile/Change Request Tab.
How long should video-based artistic work samples be?
Video samples may not exceed 3 minutes per file. It is the responsibility of the applicant to submit files within this time limit. If a video is uploaded exceeding the 3 minute limit, video past the 3 minute mark will not be considered by panelists.
How many pages should literary-based artistic work samples be?
Documents are limited to 1 page in length. It is the responsibility of the applicant to edit and submit documents that are no more than 1 page in length. If a document is uploaded exceeding the 1-page limit, additional pages will not be considered by panelists. Links embedded in submitted documents will not be reviewed.
What are file size, image size and resolution limitations for visual arts-based artistic work samples?
Each artistic work sample image may not exceed 2MB; images must be .jpg or .png with a limitation of resolution: 300 dpi and size: 800X600 pixels.
For visual arts-based artistic work samples, can an uploaded file reflect more than one specific artwork?
Photo files that are submitted must not exceed 1 image per file. It is the responsibility of the applicant to submit files that are no more than 1 image. If a document is uploaded containing more than one image, additional images will not be considered by panelists. Links embedded in submitted photo files will not be reviewed.
How long should audio-based artistic work samples be?
Audio samples may not exceed 3 minutes per file. It is the responsibility of the applicant to submit files within this time limit. Larger files will not be permitted. If a video is uploaded exceeding the 3-minute limit, audio past the 3-minute mark will not be considered by panelists.
Why aren’t there any staff phone numbers and/or Calendly links on the website any longer?
Due to the high volume of requests, staff cannot guarantee availability to all applicants via phone inquiries. Checking grant guidelines and FAQs to answer application questions should be your first recourse. Please email the appropriate CAC staff if your specific question is not addressed.
Who can I contact for additional assistance with my application?
A directory of our Arts Program Specialists contact information is available at our Grants Staff Contacts page. Please read the grant-specific guidelines, application instructions, and Frequently Asked Questions before contacting staff. Due to a very high volume of inquiries, there may be a delay in our response.
Please note: Staff assistance is not available after 5 p.m. on the day of a grant deadline.
People who are Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Deaf Blind, or have difficulty speaking may dial 711 to reach the California Relay Service (CRS).
Language & Accessibility
Can I submit a print version of my application?
No. CAC only accepts electronic applications submitted through our online grants management system.
Are applications available in large print?
Yes. Large print is available upon request. Contact Graphic Designer Wendy Moran at email@example.com to place a request. Please note: Large print applications are currently available in electronic format only.
How do I request an application in another language?
The California Arts Council offers over-the-phone interpretation and written translation services upon request in nine languages. View a list at this link. To request language assistance, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can’t find my application on my calartscouncil.smartsimple.com portal anymore. Where did it go?
Once funding decisions have been made, your application will appear in either your “Awarded” or “Declined” tab of the “My Applications” section in your portal.
How can I get notifications about the next cycle of CAC grant opportunities?
CAC grant cycles are announced at Council meetings, on CAC’s social media accounts, and through CAC e-newsletters. Click here to subscribe.
Are there other funding opportunities you recommend?
Please visit the Grants section of Collective, the CAC’s arts and culture opportunities resource database, to find other available sources of funding outside of the CAC.
Can I view examples of successful grant applications?
In compliance with the California Public Records Act, copies of prior grant applications can be provided upon request of public records. Click here to learn more. Please note: many of this year’s grants are being offered for the first time, meaning no prior applications exist in our records.
Grant Contract and Management
When will Individual Artist Fellows receive funding for the 2021 grant cycle?
Our current estimation for completion of all payments to Fellows is the middle of March, if not earlier.
When will my organization receive my funding for the 2021 grant cycle?
We apologize that your funding has been delayed. In July 2021, the CAC implemented a new payment system and processor. That change, along with an unexpected staff shortage, caused a slowdown in processing initial payments. We are hiring and reassigning staff, and our current estimate for completion of payments is April 2022.
Can I scan and submit my signed Payee Data Record (STD 204) form?
Payee Data Record (STD 204) forms must be submitted electronically through our grants management system. We will only accept documents signed using the Signority application. We do not accept wet ink signatures and scanned forms.
I was asked to re-submit my Payee Data Record (STD 204) and I am unable to edit it. What should I do?
Go into your SmartSimple portal. Scroll down to the blue Requires Attention section. Make sure you are in the In Progress tab of this section. Click the orange Open button to access the Payee Data Record (STD 204). To complete and electronically sign the form, please follow the instructions in the portal or you may follow the instructions at this link.
Once you have submitted an initial STD204 you will not be able to edit the document. Any update the CAC requests for this document requires the user to re-submit the document through the SmartSimple portal. An accurate and complete Payee Data Record/STD204 form is required for receiving timely payment from the State of California.
Which tax forms are grant recipients required to submit before they can receive funding?
Grantees are required to submit a Payee Data Record (STD 204) and Payee Data Record Supplement (STD 205), if applicable. The STD 204 form verifies your FEIN or Social Security number.
A 1099 form may be sent by the California State Controller’s Office (SCO) if any of the payments made to you or your organization are taxable. Nonprofit grantees are unlikely to receive a 1099.
SCO reports taxable payments to the Franchise Tax Board and/or the IRS. Tax laws and procedures may change from one year to the next, and the CAC recommends grantees consult with their tax preparer or contact the IRS for further advice.
When can matching funds be used for my 2021 grant contract?
For grant awards that require matching, matching funds must be applied during your grant activity date. For example if your grant contract is from November 1, 2021 – October 31, 2022 matching funds must be attributed during that time period.
My address changed. Does this affect my grant contract documents?
Yes. Please notify your Arts Program Specialist by email that your address has changed. They will start the process to complete this change and may need to reissue your grant contract paperwork for you to fill out with the new address. This is a long and detailed process, which should only be undergone if necessary. If you do not have the correct address on your grant contract documents, this could result in delayed payment.
I submitted my grant contract documents. Why do I still see the Grant Standard Agreement (STD213) and Full Invoice in my Requires Attention section in my grant portal?
These items appear in draft and signee updated modes in your portal, but you do not need to take further action. Your Arts Program Specialist is reviewing your documents, and these items will stay in your Requires Attention section until they have been approved.
The instructions for completing my grant award contract state that I need to Add Budget Details to a budget table, but I only see a Matching Funds tab.
General operating support grants (Arts & Cultural Organizations General Operating Relief and Statewide and Regional Networks) do not require a completed project budget table for contracting. Only project-based grants (Impact Projects and JUMP StArts) require a budget table outlining how the grant funds will be spent for contracting.
My organization was awarded a grant. When will we receive our grant contract documents?
Your grant contract documents will be made available through our grants management system within the next few weeks after your award notice. When they become available, you will receive an email notification with instructions regarding the completion and return of the required materials. If applicable, your fiscal sponsor contact identified in your application will also be copied on this notification. Grant contract documents must be submitted within 30 days of receipt. Failure to do so may result in grant forfeiture.
Panels and Ranking
Do panelists see the organization names when they evaluate grant applications?
Yes. Organization names are displayed on the applications that panelists review.
Who can serve as a grant review panelist?
Arts and cultural practitioners, both experienced and emerging, working across creative sectors from disparate communities statewide are encouraged to apply. Community members with careers in social justice, focusing on youth and adult programs that provide links between social service and the court systems, are also welcomed.
How can I apply to be considered for a grant review panel?
Individuals who are interested in serving on a grant review panel can learn more information and apply here.
When will I know if I have been chosen to serve on a grant panel?
Once you have submitted your application, there is no need to do anything else. Eligible applicants will be included in a panelist pool to be approved by the Council in the months prior to the 2022 grant panel season. A small number of panelists from the approved panel pool will be selected to serve during the 2022 grant season and will be contacted by CAC staff between March and July.
Are grant review panelists compensated for their work?
Yes. Invited panelists will receive a $100 per day honorarium to subsidize them for their 3-day panel participation. Attendance at the required panel orientation and check-in meetings is mandatory to receive an honorarium.
Can a panelist also be an applicant?
Yes. Applicants to CAC grant programs can also serve as panelists. They cannot review their own individual artist application or their organization’s application. During the review panel, panelists will be asked to declare any conflicts of interest.
How long is a prospective panelist kept on the list before they need to reapply? Prospective panelists are currently kept on the list for up to three consecutive years. If you are unsure of your panelist pool date, you can check the active panel pool lists available here. If you do not see your name listed, you are welcome to reapply.
Do panelists in the FY19-20 pool need to reapply this year, or is this the third year of their panel consideration?
No. Prospective panelists from the FY19-20 pool do not need to reapply. They are still within the panelist consideration pool.
Who serves on the panels that judges my application?
Applications are reviewed by a group of diverse and experienced arts and cultural practitioners from around the state. Panelists are eligible to be invited to serve after they are approved by the Council. More information on panel selection and process can be found on the CAC’s Grant Panels page.
How is the panel process conducted during COVID?
The in-person panel process has been adapted into an independent and virtual process due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Panelists participate virtually to meet with staff, Programs Specialists, and other panelists to learn to evaluate grant applications, ensuring an equitable, honest, and thorough review and ranking process.
Why did ranks for the 2021 grant cycle include decimals instead of whole numbers?
Given the high volume of applicants this cycle, it was not possible to fund the entirety of whole number ranks below either 6 or 5 in many of the grant programs with the funding available. Council determined that in order to reach as many applicants as possible, decimal point ranks would fund further down and keep a consistent standard across grants.
How can I access the panel notes from my 2021 application?
To access your panel notes, go onto the online grants portal (calartscouncil.smartsimple.com) and open your grant application. A tab labeled “Panel Details” will appear on the far right. When you click on this, you will be able to view your panel notes.
Why are panel comments generalized statements?
Panel notes come from categories of set criteria that panelists keep in mind when reviewing applications. In giving feedback to applicants, panelists select those statements that best align with their decision on how applicants met these criteria.
Why do some of the panel comments seem like they contradict each other?
These comments come from different panelists. While one panelist may have found your application clear, another did not. This indicates areas for improvement.
Our panel comments are mostly positive. Why wasn’t my organization funded?
Each of our grant programs received a high volume of applicants this cycle. Due to the amount of funding available, there were strong applications that were not able to be funded. Funding allocations change from year to year due to fluctuations in budget, and scores that were funded in the past are not guaranteed to be funded the next year. Likewise, it is possible that ranks that were not funded this year could be funded next year.
How are award amounts determined?
Award amounts are determined via a formula that takes into consideration the total amount of available funds, the rank of the applicant, and the percentage of the requested award amount to be funded based on the rank.
I served as a grant panelist during the previous 2021 grant season and haven’t been paid yet. When will I receive my honorarium?
We apologize and appreciate your patience as we work to issue checks as quickly as possible. Agency understaffing and/or incomplete panelist documents have caused a delay in your honorarium payment. After completed panelist paperwork is reviewed and approved by the CAC, payments take approximately one month to process and mail. Timelines are subject to change due to the payment process requiring other state department processes and approval. Check delivery times are also dependent on USPS mailing timeframes.
How long is a prospective panelist kept on the list before they need to reapply?
Prospective panelists are currently kept on the list for up to three consecutive years. If a prospective panelist’s name no longer appears on an active list, they are invited to apply again. If you are unsure of your panelist pool date, you can check the active panel pool lists available here. If you do not see your name listed, you are welcome to reapply.
Awards & Appeals
I was just informed that the application I submitted is ineligible. Am I able to add required information that was missing or appeal the decision?
Applications must be submitted and include all required elements prior to the published deadline. After the deadline, applications are not able to be amended. This decision is final, and application ineligibility cannot be appealed.
I am wondering if I can use my CAC grant to match a grant from the NEA. Is the CAC using NEA monies to fund my grant program?
CAC staff assign funding streams to specific grants after they have been adjudicated and approved by Council. We recommend that you apply for any grant for which you or your organization is eligible and that seems like a good fit. If awarded, we can confirm whether or not it may be used to match NEA funds.
Where can I find a list of grant recipients for the 2021 grant cycle?
A full list of the organizational grants awarded for the 2021 season can be found here: https://arts.ca.gov/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/CAC_09-2021_County-Listings.pdf
A full list of 2021 Individual Artist fellows can be found here:
Can I appeal if I or my organization did not receive a grant award?
As per the grant guidelines, appeals to CAC funding decisions must be submitted on an official Appeal Form, available from the CAC, and postmarked within 45 days of the decision. Dissatisfaction with award denial or with award amount is not grounds for appeal. Please contact your Program Specialist for the Appeal form. Appeals are granted only on the following grounds:
- Panel’s assessment was based on a misstatement of factual information as contained in the application such that it negatively influenced the panel’s recommendation; and/or
- Incorrect processing of the required application material such that it negatively influenced the panel’s assessment of the applicant’s request for funding