Grants for Organizations (GFO) provide 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.

In FY24, MSAC awarded GFO grants to 291 arts organizations and programs across the State totaling $18,000,118.12.


Applicants must:

  • Produce or present the arts to the public through ongoing arts programming. 

  • Have 501(c)3 tax-exempt status from the U.S. Internal Revenue Service at the time of application, except for units of local government and colleges and universities. 

  • Be incorporated in Maryland as a nonprofit or have significant physical presence in Maryland. Organizations that are not incorporated in Maryland but have a significant physical presence in Maryland may not be eligible for a General Operating Grant but may be eligible for an Arts Program Grant to support activities taking place in Maryland. For more information please contact the program director for the artistic category for which this scenario applies. 

  • Have operated as an arts organization or arts program for one full fiscal year and be able to submit a financial statement* for their most recently completed fiscal year at the time of application. 

  • Establish that the majority of the arts activities it produces and/or presents take place in Maryland and that most of the arts organization’s or the arts program’s annual expenditures are devoted to activities that occur within the State of Maryland. 

  • Be governed by a legally-liable board of directors acting under a mission statement and budget specific to the organization.

If your organization is a NEW Applicant or if your organization DID NOT receive a GFO Grant in the most recent funding cycle, your organization must complete the Intent to Apply form in order to be eligible to apply.

MSAC uses a staggered, three-year application cycle to conduct panel reviews of the majority of GFO applications. The cycle designates different artistic disciplines for each year of the cycle. GFO applicants are on an “On” year for one out of every three years, and “Off” years during the other years. Applications are submitted annually by all organizations, but the “Off-Year” application is a simplified application process. Refer to the guidelines for full details.

Please refer to the Review Criteria as you prepare your narrative and other required documents. All materials should tell the same story and represent your organization at its best.

On Year information

On Year application due November 15, 2023

To download the FY25 "On Year" application questions, click here.

To download the FY25 "On Year" scoring rubric, click here.

To access the FY25 "On Year" info session recording, click here.

To download the FY25 "On Year" info session slide deck, click here.

Off Year information

Off Year application due December 15, 2023

To download the FY25 "Off Year" application questions, click here

To access the FY25 "Off Year" info session recording, click here.

To download the FY25 "Off Year" info session slide deck, click here.

Application financials

To download the FY25 GFO Financial Table Template, click here.

To access the FY25 GFO Financial Table tutorial recording, click here.

Grant agreement forms are prepared and emailed after July 1 to those that have been awarded funding. The forms must be signed and the grant recipient must meet all reporting requirements before grant funds are disbursed. Funds are generally distributed in two parts – 75% after the Grant Agreement Form and reports are submitted and the remaining 25% after the Interim Report is submitted in January.

All MSAC grants are paid on the same timeline. To learn more, click here.

If awarded, a GFO grant, recipient organizations must file an interim and a final report in SmartSimple by the deadlines specified in communications from MSAC with the organization. 

See the Grant Guidelines for detailed information