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Applying for an Arts & Culture Development Grant

2024 Grant Applications
Due Thursday, March 14, 2024

The Schenectady County Legislature dedicates funds from the County's Hotel/Motel Bed Tax to support arts & culture activities presented by local organizations. 

Projects must:

  • Be presented by a Schenectady County 501(c)3 non-profit, school district, municipality, or community organization (in partnership with an eligible fiduciary agent)
  • Feature the performing, literary, visual, or cultural arts, historic education, or increase Schenectady County tourism
  • Provide significant benefit to Schenectady County residents and visitors
  • Enhance Schenectady County's visibility and quality of life

Arts & Culture Grant Application Overview

The Schenectady County Legislature's Arts & Culture Grant-supported events range from large summer concert series, festivals, and cultural celebrations to smaller neighborhood events, exhibits, workshops, and educational programs.

New Grant with New Opportunities!

Applicants may apply for up to two projects. 

Projects may include a single event or an event series. 

Artists and groups that are not 501(c)3 organizations may apply with a fiduciary agency that meets the eligibility requirements.

A fiduciary agency may partner with more than one community organization to assist them in securing an Arts & Culture Development Grant.

General Program Guidelines
  • Arts & Culture Development Grants are competitive grants.  Applicants must be detailed and adequately describe a project and submit a convincing proposal. 
  • Applicants are required to be specific in their grant request. Eligible organizations may apply for a stand-alone event, event series, or multiple events. A separate application must be submitted for each event outside of an event series. 
  • Requests for general operating support or support for fundraising events will not be considered. 
  • In 2023, average grand awards ranged from $500 - $3,000.
  • The maximum request for 2024 is $7,500 for a standalone event and $10,000 for an event series.
  • Grant awards are not guaranteed from year to year. Awardees must re-apply each grant cycle.

Before You Apply

Arts & Culture Development Grants are competitive grants. Be detailed and convincing in your project description and let your idea shine. The information you provide will be evaluated by a panel of judges. Incomplete applications will not be considered. 

Make sure you have the following documents ready to upload. 

Proof of Eligibility
  1. IRS letter of tax-exempt not-for-profit status (501(c)3 organizations
  2. Charter issued by the Board of Regents under Section 216 Education Law
  3. Letter on official letterhead, signed by the appropriate municipal executive verifying the organization’s status as an official agency or entity thereof
Letter from Fiduciary Agency

If you are applying with a fiduciary agent, you will need a signed letter on official letterhead from the organization's principal officer, affirming that they will act as a fiduciary agency for your project application.

IRS W9 Form

Schenectady County must have a W-9 with an eligible organization's Taxpayer Identification Number before issuing a grant.  If you are applying with a fiduciary, the W-9 must contain the information and authorized signature of your fiduciary agent. W-9 forms are available online at IRS.gov. Download Form

2024 Grant Applications

Due Thursday, March 14, 2024

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Eligibility & Selection Criteria

Eligibility

  • An established association or institution whose earnings do not benefit any individual. Evidence of this status must be presented in the form of ONE of the following:

1. IRS letter of tax-exempt not-for-profit status (501(c)(3) organizations)
2. Charter issued by the Board of Regents under Section 216 Education Law
3. Letter on official letterhead, signed by the appropriate county, city, town or village executive or departmental official, verifying the organization’s status as an official agency or entity thereof

  • The organization must be up-to-date with all required filings with the New York State Attorney General Charities Bureau and the IRS (if applicable).
  • The organization must be located in or have a physical presence/office in Schenectady County and the program services for which funding is being requested must be provided within Schenectady County.
  • The organization may not exclude persons because of disabilities, religious preference, age, gender, ethnic background or other practices prohibited by provision of the 1991 American with Disabilities Act, Fair Labor Standards, and Affirmative Action Policies set by the US Government.
  • Programs/Projects must take place within Schenectady County and must increase tourism and/or involve historic preservation and/or the performing/visual/literary arts.
  • Programs/projects must take place between April 1, 2024 - March 31, 2025.

Only two applications per organization will be considered per funding cycle.

Selection Criteria 

Applications are reviewed and judged using the following criteria:

  1. Details and information presented in the application. Arts & Culture Development Grants are competitive grants and the applicant must submit a convincing application to be considered. 
  2. Existing community support for the organization including membership, subscribers, program participation and volunteers, and financial support for the proposed program.
  3. Additional private or other funds to be generated in support of the proposed program.
  4. Collaboration with other Schenectady County nonprofit organizations.
  5. Estimated community participation in or attendance at the proposed program.
  6. The extent to which the proposed program is likely to enhance the visibility and/or attractiveness of Schenectady County and increase visitors from outside of Schenectady County.
  7. The proposed activity represents a project involving historic education or the performing/visual/literary/media/cultural arts.
  8. The effective use of the Arts & Culture award for the proposed program concerning quality, soundness of program administration, adequacy, and appropriateness of cost involved and need for the funds to ensure program success
  9. Projects that received funding in past years will also be judged on growth, new challenges, changes in programming, greater organizational professionalism, funding growth, or audience reach.
  10. Projects that have not received funding in past years will be judged on sustainability and the potential to grow larger and attract more participants in future years.

Proposals for general support of fundraising events will not considered.  Awards may be given in support of events that do have a fundraising component, but award must be used in support of an aspect of the event that includes historic education, tourism, or the performing/visual/literary arts.

 

An artist, performer, or community group that does not meet the eligibility criteria may apply with a fiduciary agent.  The fiduciary agency must be a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, school district, or municipality or municipal agency located in Schenectady County. 

The fiduciary agency is responsible for receiving and managing the funds allocated to the project through the grant.  The grantee must submit a signed letter on official letterhead from the organization's principal officer, affirming that they will act as a fiduciary agency for the project application. The applicant must also upload a signed copy of the fiduciary agency's W-9. 

If awarded a grant, the fiduciary agency will need to sign the contract for the project, receive the check, and payout the funds accordingly.

Not Eligible for Funding

  • Projects that take place outside of Schenectady County.
  • Works of individual artists, except under the sponsorship of such organizations listed above.
  • Programs or projects that are not open to the public, or those that primarily serve the organizations’ members or subscribers.
  • Requests for Capital Projects or the purchase of equipment, except such equipment directly related to programs or exhibits of the performing, visual, literary, media, or cultural arts and/or historic preservation and tourism.
  • Proposals for general support of fundraising events.