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Grants for Organizations

Grants for Organizations


Strengthening Maryland's Arts Infrastructure: Grants for Organizations

From large, internationally renowned institutions to local gems of the community, Maryland invests in organizations and programs that uplift, inspire and enrich our citizens through the boundless power of the arts. 



The Grants for Organizations (GFO) granting program provides unrestricted 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.  GFO awardees educate children, uplift communities, stimulate business activity and support jobs. 

See past and current awardees lists here.


GFO Grant Guidelines

For information on the GFO Grant Program as well as a detailed walk through of the application, please refer to the FY20 GFO Grant Guidelines.

Other referenced documents can be found here:

Creative Conversations - Regional Fall Arts Institutes - Please consider joining us for an evening in your region to learn more about the GFO application and other partnerships. More information can be found here.


GFO Panel Dates

Panel Review Dates will be announced shortly. 
Times are subject to change and the provided schedule is an estimate based on the day's agenda. 
FY21 Application information will be available in August 2019. 

Applications submitted after the deadline will not be considered for funding.


GFO Panelists

The Maryland State Arts Council is seeking panelists to review Grants for Organizations grant applications for the 2021 Fiscal year. 
Serving as a panelist is a great opportunity to learn about and support Maryland’s vibrant arts organizations and programs, while also learning about MSAC's granting processes.  
What does a panelist do?
Panelists play a vital role in the grants process of the Maryland State Arts Council.
Panelists will: 
  • Review written grant applications online
  • Conduct on-site interviews and phone evaluations to act as a more comprehensive advocate for assigned organizations in the panel discussion process
  • Submit reports about your assigned applications prior to a mandatory spring Grants Review Panel Meeting
Overall, the panelist role requires an average commitment of 40 hours over the course of four months.
Who can be a panelist? 
We rely on the wide array of arts experts and enthusiasts from across the state of Maryland to serve as panelists. Panelists are selected with a focus on diversity of experiences and diversity of location. Regardless of your connection to the arts, we encourage you to apply! 
How do I apply to be a panelist? 
Fill out the application by September 26, 2019. 
Selected panelists are appointed by the Maryland State Arts Council for a one-year term, which may be renewed. Panelists will receive a modest honorarium and travel reimbursement for serving.

National arts organizations (National Endowment for the Arts, National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Americans for the Arts) have clarified and shared approaches to uncover cultural bias in the procedures and policies of state arts organizations. In response, the Maryland State Arts Council has committed to equity, diversity, and inclusion in grantmaking as all funding mechanisms continue to be examined and updated. The design of the Grants for Organizations application is meant to inspire authentic reflection and internal analysis for each applying organization, with the knowledge that the Maryland State Arts Council is to be seen and utilized as a collaborative partner in the process. The driving goals of this new vision for the granting processes are: 

  • To acknowledge positions of privilege while questioning practices, shifting paradigms of status quo arts activities, and taking more risks. 

  • To yield a greater variety of funded projects. 

  • To eliminate biases that may be found in any part of the granting process (i.e. - applications, panelist procedures, adjudication systems). 

  • To expand the deliberations about rigor beyond current conventions or Western traditions. 

  • To aspire to make investments that contribute to social change and demonstrate aesthetic excellence in terms relevant to context and intent. 


New Applicants  

If your organization is a NEW Applicant or if your organization DID NOT receive a Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 MSAC GFO Grant, your organization was required to complete the Intent to Apply form in order be eligible to apply for an MSAC FY2021 GFO Grant.

If your organization was deemed eligible, you will complete a Full Application for FY21.

To confirm eligibility and complete the "Intent to Apply" form, you must be able to answer "YES!" to all five sections in the chart below.

If you were not able to confirm all five, but are still interested in learning more about the growth of your arts organization, please let us know how we can help by connecting with GFO Program Staff.

The Intent to Apply form is available to complete in Smart Simple beginning August 15, 2019. 

Forms submitted after the deadline will not be considered.


Returning Applicants

The Maryland State Arts Council's BASIC ARTS OPERATING GRANTS and BASIC ARTS PROGRAM GRANTS have been restructured into a new CREATIVITY GRANT program. The CREATIVITY GRANT application includes answers to three questions, has a maximum request amount of $3,500, requires minimal economic data reporting, and has no deadline (applications will be reviewed monthly starting July 1). 

If your organization has consistently been applying for and receiving GFO grant awards, with no recent lapses in application submissions, you are asked to submit one of the following two applications: 

  1. FY20 Full Application 
  2. FY20 Request for Funding (RFF) 

 Guidelines for these applications can be found here


All grantees are required to submit a Final Report communicating data required by the National Endowment for the Arts. This required data can be found here. For program specific Report information, please see the corresponding Guidelines.