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:
- Operating grants maintain the autonomy of grantees, allowing them to allocate the dollars to their most pressing needs.
- Operating grants tend to be more predictable over time, which helps organizations maintain continuity of services to their communities.
- Because Operating grants are flexible, grantees can use the funds in more opportunistic or entrepreneurial ways than project-restricted funds often allow.
- Operating grants come with stringent accountability and management requirements that incentivize and perpetuate good business practices among arts organizations.
- 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.
- Operating grants strengthen the non-profit arts infrastructure and deepen working relationships between funders and core grantees.
How to Apply
- Review the below information in full.
- 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.
- Complete the application by 11:59 p.m. on the day of the deadline. The application consists of:
- Online application form.
- Major Contributors.
- In-kind Contributions.
- Board of Directors List.
- Position(s) on the board (officer and committee positions)
- Occupation and name of employer and/or affiliation(s)
- City or county of residence
- Term end date for each board member
- Proof of IRS Federal Tax-exempt Status or Alternative.
- Anti-discrimination Statement.
- Staff List.
- Completed Financial Overview Document.
- Annual Report or Strategic Plan. (Optional)
- Evaluation Results. Provide the organization’s most recent evaluation results or findings relevant to this request. (Optional)
- Look for an automated email message confirming receipt of your application.
- After the deadline, staff will send all applications to the panel for scoring and comments. The panel consists of the seven City Council-appointed Boulder Arts Commissioners.
- You will receive notification that the panel’s preliminary scores and comments on your application are available. Please review their scores and comments and prepare a one-page response for the panel.
- Before the Arts Commission meeting, the panel will re-score the applications. At the decision meeting, the members of the Boulder Arts Commission then deliberate to decide final approval of the applications which will receive a grant.
- When a grant is awarded, staff from the Office of Arts and Culture will contact the successful Applicant to complete any necessary paperwork.
Total Funds: $758,000
Awards: In 2022 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 your 2019 or 2020 tax documents (990 or 990-EZ) will determine your award category. The Commission will use the higher of the two revenue numbers to determine your category. You may submit a completed but unfiled 990 or 990-EZ should you need.
- 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.
DEADLINE TO SUBMIT APPLICATION: Monday, March 14, 2022, at 11:59 p.m.
General Operating Support Grants – Large and Mid-Sized Organizations
- Monday, March 14 at 11:59 p.m. – Deadline for applications
- March 14 to 18 – Review by staff for eligibility and revision by applicants if necessary
- March 18 to April 4 – Preliminary review and score by panel (18 days)
- April 4 to 8 – Score processing by staff
- April 8 – Preliminary scores and comments sent to applicants via email
- April 8 to April 15 – Applicants prepare and send written responses to the panel’s questions. The written response should be emailed to Lauren Click at email@example.com by Friday, April 15, 2022, at 11:59pm.
- April 15 to 20 – Response processing by staff
- April 20 – Responses sent to panel
- April 20 to May 4 – Final review and score by panel (15 days)
- May 4 to 11 – Processing of final scores
- May 11 – Final scores sent to applicants via email
- May 18, 2022 – Arts Commission meeting. Discussion and final decisions on grants
General Operating Support Grants – Extra Large and Small Organizations
- Monday, March 14 at 11:59 p.m. – Deadline for applications
- March 14 to April 8 – Review by staff for eligibility and revision by applicants if necessary
- April 8 to May 2 – Preliminary review and score by panel (25 days)
- May 2 to 6 – Score processing by staff
- May 6 – Preliminary scores and comments sent to applicants via email
- May 6 to 13 – Applicants prepare and send written responses to the panel’s questions. The written response should be emailed to Lauren Click at firstname.lastname@example.org by Friday, May 13, 2022, at 11:59pm.
- May 13 to May 18 – Response processing by staff
- May 18 – Responses sent to panel
- May 18 to June 3 – Final review and score by panel (17 days)
- June 3 to June 8 – Processing of final scores
- June 8 – Final scores sent to applicants via email
- June 15, 2022 – Arts Commission meeting. Discussion and final decisions on grants
- General eligibility. Meets all general eligibility requirements.
- Budget thresholds – 2022 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. For the determination of programming or organizational headquarters location, the term “Boulder” is defined in the Boulder Valley Comprehensive Plan. For additional information on the planning area and Comprehensive Plan visit this link. As a short hand, office staff use addresses with the zip code starting with 803— to determine if it is in the acceptable area.
- 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.
- 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)
- Encouragement points (Maximum 4 points)
Log onto the Boulder Arts Commission online grant portal to preview and apply. 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.
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 in with the same user name and password utilized to submit the application. After logging in, go to the ‘Dashboard’, then you’ll see a ‘Follow Up’ section for the grant. On the far right is the ‘Edit’ button. That will take you to complete the final report.
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 email@example.com or 720-564-2355 if you do not receive email confirmation.