2019 General Operating Support (GOS) Grants

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General Operating Support Grantees Local Theater Company

To bolster the sustainability of the community’s cultural organizations, a series of operating grants is a priority for the cultural grants program. This system of institutional funding supports the Community Priorities and goals in the Community Cultural Plan, including the “Support for Cultural Organizations” strategy.



Our approach to operating funding is derived from the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, and is here modified to suit the circumstances of the Community Cultural Plan:

  1. Operating grants maintain the autonomy of grantees, allowing them to allocate the dollars to their most pressing needs.
  2. Operating grants tend to be more predictable over time, which helps organizations maintain continuity of services to their communities.
  3. Because Operating grants are flexible, grantees can use the funds in more opportunistic or entrepreneurial ways than project-restricted funds often allow.
  4. Operating grants come with stringent accountability and management requirements that incentivize and perpetuate good business practices among arts organizations.
  5. Because the grantee—not the grant maker—ultimately defines the activities for which Operating grants are used, this funding mechanism can reduce “mission drift” among grantees and can help to curtail the proliferation of programs designed solely to appeal to funders.
  6. Operating grants strengthen the non-profit arts infrastructure and deepen working relationships between funders and core grantees.

How to Apply

  1. Review the below information in full.
  2. Log onto the Boulder Arts Commission online grant portal. If you have not logged on before, make a profile. Applications must be submitted using our online grant applications. We encourage you to watch this training video for instructions on registering and applying online.
  3. Complete the application by 11:59 p.m. on the day of the deadline. The application consists of:
    1. Online application form.
    2. Budgets.
    3. Major Contributors.
    4. In-kind Contributions.
    5. Board of Directors List.
    6. Position(s) on the board (officer and committee positions)
    7. Occupation and name of employer and/or affiliation(s)
    8. City or county of residence
    9. Term end date for each board member
    10. Proof of IRS Federal Tax-exempt Status or Alternative.
    11. Anti-discrimination Statement.
    12. Staff List.
    13. Completed Financial Overview Document.
    14. Annual Report or Strategic Plan. (Optional)
    15. Evaluation Results. Provide the organization’s most recent evaluation results or findings relevant to this request. (Optional)
  4. Look for an automated email message confirming receipt of your application.
  5. After the deadline, staff will send all applications to the panel for scoring and comments. The panel consists of the five City Council-appointed Boulder Arts Commissioners and four members of the community.
  6. You will receive notification that the panel’s scores and comments on your application are available. Please review their scores and comments and prepare a 3-minute presentation for the Arts Commission meeting.
  7. At the meeting the panel will hear all applicant presentations. The panel will then rescore the applications, discuss the scores, and make final decisions on the grants.
  8. If you are awarded a grant, staff from the Office of Arts and Culture will contact you to complete any necessary paperwork.


Total Funds: $502,000

Awards: In 2019 there will be four levels of GOS grants, based on the size of the organization’s budget:

  • Extra Large Orgs (1M or more) with grants of $50K each
  • Large Orgs (250k – 999k) with grants of $20K each
  • Mid-sized Orgs (100k – 249k) with grants of $10K each
  • Small Orgs (99k or less) with grants of $8K each.

The number of General Operating Support Grants in each category will vary depending on the number of applicants in order to ensure that levels of competition are similar in each category. Review the fund structure here.

Cycle: Triannual (Every year for three years).

  • Your annual revenue according to the latest 990 tax documents made available on the IRS website determines your award category.
  • Once an applicant is approved to receive an Operating Grant, the approval would be valid for the full three cycle.
  • Reporting once a year, the organizations will be responsible for providing the Boulder Arts Commission with necessary information to track progress on their stated evaluation.
  • Due to the rules of the City of Boulder’s budget process, the commitment is made for only one year at a time. At the end of each year the Boulder Arts Commission will re-certify that the grant continues into the next year by approving the report.  At that time, the Boulder Arts Commission may also choose to review specific organizations that may have defaulted on the terms of their award in order to advise staff to take action.
  • At each November meeting of the Boulder Arts Commission, when the city budget is identified, staff will build recommendations on allocations for the following year. This may include increases or decreases to the award allocations for grant recipients in proportion to the overall change of the budget of the Office of Arts Culture.

Decision timelines

DEADLINE TO SUBMIT APPLICATION: Monday, March 11 at 11:59 p.m.

General Operating Grants – Large and Mid-sized Organizations. **schedule updated 3/15/19**

  • Monday, March 11 at 11:59 p.m. – Deadline for applications
  • March 11 to March 19 – Review by staff for eligibility and revision by applicants if necessary
  • March 19 to April 7 – Preliminary review and score by panel (20 days)
  • April 7 to April 10 – Score processing by staff
  • April 10 – Preliminary scores posted online
  • April 10 to April 17 – Applicants prepare 3-minute optional presentation for the Boulder Arts Commission meeting
  • April 17 – Arts Commission meeting. Presentations by applicants; panel rescore; discussion and final decisions on grants

General Operating Grants – Extra Large and Small Organizations

  • Monday, March 11 at 11:59 p.m. – Deadline for applications
  • March 11 to April 12 – Review by staff for eligibility and revision by applicants if necessary
  • April 12 to May 3 – Preliminary review and score by panel (22 days)
  • May 3 to May 8 – Score processing by staff
  • May 8 – Preliminary scores posted online
  • May 8 to May 15 – Applicants prepare 3-minute optional presentation for the Boulder Arts Commission meeting
  • May 15 – Arts Commission meeting. Presentations by applicants; panel rescore; discussion and final decisions on grants

Eligibility Requirements

  • General eligibility.Meets all general eligibility requirements.
  • Budget thresholds – 2019 there will be four categories, listed below. The number of General Operating Support (GOS) Grants will vary depending on the number of applicants in order to ensure that levels of competition are similar in each category. Review the fund structure here.
    • Extra Large Orgs (1M or more)
    • Large Orgs (250k – 999k)
    • Mid Orgs (100k – 249k)
    • Small Orgs (99k or less)
  • Service area and programming. Must be able to demonstrate that a majority of the organization’s programming takes place in the City of Boulder and that the programming meets the criteria described in the Chapter 14-1-2 of the City of Boulder Revised Code. The organization must also demonstrate that they are headquartered in Boulder.
  • Governance, Non Profit Status. Applicants must either provide formal IRS documentation of their 501(c)3 status or, for organizations with revenues under $250,000, alternative means of proof are described below. See a sample of IRS documentation here.
  • Emerging organizations with revenues under $250,000 that have not yet achieved not-for-profit status or community-oriented businesses may also apply for this grant. These organizations must be able to demonstrate the following:
    • The organization has community-oriented mission and goals, services, and programming.
    • The organization is currently active and has conducted programming consistently for at least two years.
    • The organization has oversight from a board, advisory committee, or other stewardship group. That group must include community representation.
  • In lieu of Non Profit Verification, the applicant is encouraged to provide a copy of their form CR0100 (Colorado Business Registration) and documentation of the above criteria. This can take the form of strategic or business plans, year-end-reports, media clippings, letters of support, or other documents.
  • Consistent Management. The organization must have consistent management with no planned or expected changes to leadership during the term of the funding. It is recommended, but not required, that organizations maintain a succession plan in their human resources policies in order to demonstrate fulfillment of this requirement.

Review Process

  • Grant applications are reviewed at Boulder Arts Commission meetings. See schedule.
  • Evaluation of applications. Funding in previous years does not imply continued support. Each application is reviewed anew in the context of current policies and applications. Applicants that have received repeated funding should be aware that the Boulder Arts Commission looks for indication of growth and a fresh approach to their work. Though there is no eligibility restriction for applicants who have applied for, or received, or are currently executing other Arts Commission grants, be aware that the grants panel may take such circumstances into account.
  • Evaluation criteria
    • Capacity Building (Maximum 8 points)
    • Community Priorities (Maximum 8 points)
    • Proposed outcomes and evaluation strategy (Maximum 8 points)
    • Cultural equity (Maximum 8 points)
    • Boulder focus (Maximum 4 points)

The complete scoring system and rubric for the General Operating Grants can be found here.


To preview and apply, log on to the Boulder Arts Commission grants software and complete the online grant application. The software is new for the Arts Commission as of Fall 2017, so you may need to make a new profile.

Appeals Process

Written Appeals Process. The deadline for a written appeal is 14 days after funding decisions has been made by the Boulder Arts Commission. The appeals process can be found here.


Grant report forms are on the Boulder Arts Commission grants software. Log onto the same account used to apply for the grant, and look under “Follow Up Forms” for the reporting form.

After you submit the report you’ll receive email confirmation and copy of the report via the email that you have included in the report. Contact Lauren Click at clickl@boulderlibrary.org or 720-564-2355 if you do not receive email confirmation.

More Information

General Eligibility Requirements
2019 Grant Application Schedule
2019 Grant Scoring System and Rubric
General Grant Guidelines & Process
Grant FAQs