Operational Grants: Small / Mid-size Organizations

Performers Emily Paton Davies and Tim McCracken in Outside Mullinger*

Performers Emily Paton Davies and Tim McCracken in Outside Mullinger*


To bolster the sustainability of the community’s cultural organizations, a system of operational 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 within the “Support for Cultural Organizations” strategy. [Link See Pages 19-20]


Operational Grants may be used to cover day-to-day activities or ongoing expenses such as administrative salaries, utilities, office supplies, technology maintenance, etc., as well as for project costs, technology purchases, and professional development. Some restrictions apply, see Exclusions under “General Eligibility Requirements.”

Total Funds: $100,000

Awards: 10 @ $10,000 each

Cycle: Triennially (Every year for three years)


      • Cultural organizations with annual revenues less than $200,000 (according to the latest 990 tax documents made available on the IRS website) are invited to apply. In addition, emerging organizations that have not yet achieved not-for-profit tax status may apply within the conditions listed below.
      • Once an applicant is approved to receive an Operational Grant, the approval would be valid for three one-year terms.
      • Reporting twice a year, the organizations will be responsible for providing the BAC with necessary information to track progress on their stated evaluation. Due to the rules of the City budget, the commitment is made for only one year at a time. At the end of each year, the BAC will certify that the grant continues into the next year.
      • At each November meeting of the BAC, 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. At that time, the BAC 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.
Sunset Holding Monsoon by Vischi**

Sunset Holding Monsoon by  Bobby Vischi**

Eligibility Criteria

General Eligibility. Meets all general eligibility requirements.
Budget Threshold. Cultural organizations with annual revenues less than $200,000.
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 have been conducting this programming in Boulder for at least two years.
Consistent Management. The organization must have consistent management with no planned or expected changes to leadership during the term of the funding.

Governance, Non Profit StatusEmerging organizations that have not yet achieved not-for-profit status and community-oriented businesses may also apply for this grant.These organizations must be able to demonstrate the following:
  1. The organization has community-oriented mission and goals, services, and programming.
  2. The organization is currently active and has conducted programming consistently for at least two years.
  3. 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.

Jury Evaluation Criteria

Capacity Building
Community Priorities
Boulder Focus
Proposed Outcomes and Evaluation Strategy
For applicants without non profit status, the grant must be used for community services
and programming, and not directly contributed to profit-making ventures. Describe the
ways in which the operation of the grant will maintain that distinction and how it will be
documented and evaluated.


Deadline: Wednesday, February 10, 5pm (Closed)

December 7, 5:30-7:00 p.m. Grants Coaching Session (Canyon Theater, Main Library)
February 11 – 18 
   Staff review of grant applications
February 19 – February 23    Grant revisions by applicants (if necessary)
February 24 – March 8    Online review/scoring by Commissioners (reasons for scoring)
March 9    Grant scoring released on the arts department website
March 9 – 16    Applicants have time to prepare 3 minute optional presentation/case for their grant/answer questions
March 16     BAC Meeting- Applicant presentations; final decision on grant awards


To apply you must either sign up or log in on the grants system. NOTE: You must be signed in as an organization to see this application.

Applicant Login

Operational Grants (Small / Mid-sized) Guidelines / Process
General Eligibility Criteria
Grant FAQs
Grants Tool/Application & Report Forms

*Performers Emily Paton Davies and Tim McCracken in Outside Mullinger. Photograph by Michael Ensmiger. Image appears courtesy of Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company, 2015.
**Sunset Holding Monsoon by  Bobby Vischi. Image appears courtesy of the artist, 2015.