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Arts Organizations

Public Value Partnership Grants : FY2014 & FY2015
(formerly Operating Grants)

Deadline: April 26, 2013

Grant Coordinator: Cassandra Mason
(603) 271-7926

These Grant Guidelines are valid for the tw0-year grant period July 1, 2013 - June 30, 2015. Applications must be submitted on April 26, 2013 for both years.

Public Value Partnerships for general operating support of nonprofit cultural organizations are an investment in the cultural infrastructure and creative economy of New Hampshire. The creative economy is made up of artists, nonprofit organizations and creative businesses that positively impact quality of life in communities, generate jobs and produce revenue for municipalities, cities and the state. Public Value Partnerships also ensure that the arts are available and accessible to all New Hampshire citizens.

In FY2014 a limited number of competitive and matching grants will be awarded to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations that demonstrate excellence in planning, administration and programming. Grantees are expected to provide high quality and broadly accessible arts experiences, activities and services for New Hampshire citizens. They are also expected to to promote the arts as integral to the local economy by developing and maintaining close relationships with other community-based organizations and businesses and policy makers.

Maximum Grant Request & Required Match
Requests are for unrestricted operational funds and may be made for up to $13,000 per year*, for a two-year period (FY2014 & FY2015). The request for the first year of the grant period may not exceed 10% of income in the organization's last fiscal year prior to application. Applicants also must be able to leverage other support and project a cash match, excluding federal and state funds, of at least $10 for each $1 requested from the State Arts Council.

Important Note: All grant categories and amounts are subject to change, depending upon availability of state and federal funds for any fiscal year. Due to the uncertainty of financial resources, the NHSCA has lowered teh maximum request and anticipates funding a limited number of grants for the two-year funding period.

Who May Apply?
Nonprofit organizations with incorporation in New Hampshire and a 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, whose primary mission is to produce, present or serve the arts.
In addition, applicant organizations must:

  • Have been in continuous operation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization for at least five years prior to application for a Public Value Partnership;
  • Have an independent board of directors that meets at least quarterly;
  • Have a paid, full-time arts administrator;
  • Have a long-range plan in place that covers the two-year grant period;
  • Be fully in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements;
  • Have submitted all required reports on past State Arts Council grants;
  • Be in good standing with the State Arts Council and NH Attorney General’s Office.


  • Applicant organizations must be physically located in New Hampshire, not just incorporated in the state.
  • In general, a college, university, library, or school is not eligible for Public Value Partnerships unless its primary mission is the arts and the majority of its arts activities are open to the general public. Independent arts units within an educational institution with separate administrative and program budgets and independent advisory councils, such as some college art galleries, are eligible if the majority of their programming is for the general public.
  • Grant awards may not be used for previously incurred debts or deficits.
  • Public Value Partnership awards may not be used for endowments or capital projects.

NEW! For FY2014, organizations may apply to multiple grant categories but RECEIVE ONE grant in the following categories:

  • Public Value Partnership (formerly Operating Grants)
  • General Project Grants for Community Engagement

Application Review Process
A panel with expertise in the field meets to review and rank applications according to the funding criteria listed. A State Arts Councilor facilitates the meeting. After discussion and review of work samples submitted, applications are ranked by the panel. Funding recommendations are forwarded to the State Arts Council for review and approval. If the organization’s cumulative total of grants received from the State Arts Council for that fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) is $5,000 or more, the grant recommendation must also be submitted to the Governor and Executive Council for approval.

Funding Criteria
The following criteria are used by the panelists to rank Public Value Partnership applications:

Quality of Arts Programming or Services

  • Artistic quality of programs for the general public and/or quality of service to New Hampshire artists;
  • Outreach to and/or inclusion of New Hampshire artists;
  • Range and scope of arts programming over time.

Response to Community and Audience Needs

  • Evidence of community need and support;
  • Evidence of compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act;
  • Evidence of inclusive programming policies, e.g., affordable admissions, culturally diverse programming;
  • Evidence of audience development planning;
  • Evidence of efforts to educate audiences and broaden their appreciation for the arts;
  • Degree of public benefit to New Hampshire citizens.

Administrative Capacity

  • Stable organizational history;
  • Quality of long-range plan;
  • Board composition and staff qualifications;
  • Variety and balance in revenue/income sources;
  • Realistic budgetary projections;
  • Sound marketing and fundraising plans;
  • Successful administration of past Council grants and all reports;
  • Clarity of proposal.

How to Apply
Before Submission: Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of the State Arts Council’s grant information sessions and to discuss their proposals with the appropriate grant coordinator noted above before writing their applications. Applicants also should review the legal and reporting requirements relevant to State Arts Council grants.

Draft applications may be reviewed if submitted at least two weeks in advance of the application deadline. First time applicants are especially encouraged to submit draft applications.

When sending in a draft, please clearly indicate DRAFT FOR REVIEW in BOLD letters on the submission.

Submitting the application:

Errors and omissions may affect a panel's evaluation of the application, so please prepare the application carefully and follow instructions.

Don't have Adobe Acrobat Reader®? Click here to download for free!

Narrative Questions
The total narrative portion of the application should not exceed 7 typed pages. Margins (not less than 1”), fonts (not smaller than 12 point), and spacing should provide easy reading for the panelists. Please respond to the following questions in the order in which they appear.

INTRODUCTION: Tell us about your organization

  • Provide a profile of the organization including its mission and goals. Include the unique characteristics that help define the organization's role in bringing/providing arts experiences to communities in New Hampshire. Please keep in mind that some panelists may not be familiar with your organization or its importance to the cultural life of the state.

Artistic Quality

  • Identify the criteria and process the organization uses to select the artists or art works that the programs feature.
  • Explain how the organization’s work benefits and includes New Hampshire artists.
  • Summarize arts programming highlights from the past two years and plans for the future. Reference support materials in the response.

Response to Community and Audience Needs

  • Describe any key changes in the area the organization serves (demographic, economic, etc.) that affect planning and the response to these changes. (Note: Refer to relevant sections of the organization’s long-range plan.)
  • Describe specific ways the organization involves or plans to involve individuals who have limited access to the arts due to disabilities, low income, distance from arts centers, or other barriers. Include information on the cultural diversity of the programming and any scholarships or discounted admissions that make the programs accessible to more people. Note the collaborations with other cultural organizations in the area to coordinate scheduling and types of programming and maximize potential audiences for all area arts activities.
  • Describe specific strategies used to develop audiences over the last two years. Summarize what marketing surveys or studies have been conducted to identify current and potential audiences. Based on the data collected, describe the goals for audience development in the next two years.
  • Explain how the organization contributes to the general public's understanding and appreciation of the arts. Briefly describe the program, if any, for reaching K-12 students with arts education opportunities. Reference support materials in the response.

Management & Financial Practices

  • Describe the process used to develop the organization’s long-range plan. Note the ways New Hampshire citizens, beyond staff and board members, are involved. Attach the organization’s current long-range plan.
  • For the governing board, explain the method of selection, terms of office, frequency of meetings, committee responsibilities. For the staff, explain any policies and budget commitments relating to continuing professional development. Attach brief biographies of key administrative and artistic staff and a staff chart showing areas of responsibility.
  • What are the goals for board activity, staffing, and financing the operations for the future? (Note: Refer to relevant sections of the long range plan.)
  • Identify and evaluate the fundraising strategies used in the past two years, indicating what will continue or change in the future.
  • Identify the marketing strategies used during the last fiscal year, indicating what has worked well enough to continue and what might change in the future.
  • Applicants are required to submit a copy the organization’s 3-year financial statement with this application; explain line items in the 3-year financial statement/budget that reflect a change of 25% or more from the previous year. If the financial statement shows a deficit, explain plans for reducing it. If the statement shows a surplus, explain plans for using it.

Evaluation & Measurable Outcomes

  • Define the key benefit(s) the organization delivers to the citizens of New Hampshire.
  • How will the organization evaluate the effectiveness of the strategies identified to meet the goals outlined in the long-range plan? Identify any measurable outcomes utilized to make the evaluation, such as increasing audience numbers, bringing arts programs to more schools or communities, decreasing administrative costs, or employing more New Hampshire artists.

Required Support Materials
10 copies of

  • Completed Application Form & Narrative
  • Completed Budget Form
  • Brief biographies of key staff
  • Organizational staffing chart
  • List of current board with terms of service. Please indicate which board member is responsible for advocacy.
  • Current long-range plan that covers the grant funding period.

3 copies or sets of

  • Board-approved financial statement or audit for most recently completed fiscal year (for organizations with an annual budget of $500,000 or more per year).
  • Balance sheet and profit and loss statement (for organizations with an annual budget of less than $500,000).
  • Arts organizations embedded within institutions should submit an income statement for the past two years and other financial documents, approved by a financial officer of the supervisory institution. This income statement should detail how much support the arts organization has been receiving from internal and external sources, as well as where those funds have been going. These organizations should submit a balance sheet, if available. DO NOT submit financial statements or audits for the parent institution. If there are questions, please contact us.
  • Two samples of public education materials and selected program materials such as reviews, performance schedules, exhibition catalogues, etc., of last year's programming.
  • Work Samples: Audio-visual materials that best demonstrate the quality of the organization's artistic activity (include an identification sheet with each audio-visual item).

One copy of

  • First-time applicants only: Tax exempt status letter from the IRS and a copy of the Letter of Good Standing that was received upon registering with the Attorney General's office
  • Completed New Hampshire Nonprofit Checklist: This checklist conveniently lists all the Legal requirements for NH Nonprofit Organizations.

NOTE: The State of New Hampshire requires registration of IRS 501(c)(3) nonprofits every five years (years ending in 0 or 5). This registration may be done on-line at

How to Prepare the Application Package
1. Fill out and sign the original application form and the three-year Public Value Partnerships Budget form and make 9 copies.
2. Make 10 copies of the answers to the narrative questions.
3. Collate the original signed application form and copies with the answer to the narrative questions, completed three-year Public Value Partnership budget form, brief biographies, list of board members, and current long-range plan, resulting in 10 sets.
4. Collate 3 copies of the audit or financial statement, 3 copies of the selected program materials, 3 copies of work samples (audio-visual materials), and add the resulting 3 sets of support materials to the original plus 2 copies of the collated application materials above.
5. The original application and one set of collated support materials are for State Arts Council files. Add to this set, the single copy of IRS letter, the Letter of Good Standing and the New Hampshire Non-Profit Checklist, if applicable.
6. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if you want the audio-visual materials returned.
7. Do not use binders or folders for the 10 separate sets of materials. Staples and clips are acceptable. Three separate, large envelopes may be used to contain the collated support materials. It is helpful to use post-it notes or label the application cover sheets to indicate original, set 1, 2, 3, etc.
8. Make one copy of everything for your files!
9. Put everything together in one package, putting the set with the application form with original signature on top. Cover letters are unnecessary. Mail or hand-deliver to: NH State Council on the Arts, 19 Pillsbury Street, 1st Floor, Concord, NH 03301.

Why all these copies?
The originals are for the State Arts Council files. The 2 sets of the collated copies and support materials are for the 2 panelist(s) who will be assigned to do an in-depth review of the application. The remaining copies of materials are for the other panelists who will read the application prior to discussion at the panel meeting. The Council’s set of Support Materials will also be available for the panelists to review at the panel meeting. Don't forget to make a copy for your own files, too.

Applications must be postmarked or hand delivered to the N.H. State Council on the Arts office at 19 Pillsbury Street, 1st Floor, Concord, by 4:30 p.m. on the deadline date noted above. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. The office is closed all state and most federal holidays. Late applications will not be accepted. The Council cannot accept applications transmitted by facsimile (FAX) or e-mail and is not responsible for applications lost in transit. Errors and omissions may affect a panel's evaluation of the application, so please prepare the application carefully and follow instructions.

Applicants will be notified of their application status within approximately 10 weeks of the application deadline.

The NHSCA disburses funds appropriated from public sources, both federal and state. Checks are issued by Administrative Services of the State of NH, not the Department of Cultural Resources or the State Arts Council. Upon receipt of properly executed grant forms, the State of New Hampshire generally pays grants under $5,000 to grantees within four to six weeks. If an organization is awarded $5,000 or more or has received other State Arts Council funds which bring the cumulative total received for that fiscal year (July 1 - June 30) to $5,000 or above, grants need to be approved by Governor and Executive Council; consequently, payment can take up to 10 weeks. All awards are subject to availability of state and federal funds. Therefore, we ask grantees to plan cash flow accordingly.

IMPORTANT: All grant agreements must be returned by January 15th of the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) in which they are awarded. Failure to return the grant agreement by that date could result in cancellation of the grant and reallocation of funds.

Payment of a grant will be withheld if final reports for previous grants are not in compliance with policy below.

Grant Period & Reporting Requirements
The grant period for Public Value Partnership grants covers two fiscal years, but payments will be made one year at a time. You will be required to submit an Interim Report after the first year of funding and a Final Report after the second year of funding.

An Interim Report for the first year of funding will be due by July 31, 2014. The State Arts Council may schedule a meeting to review the Interim Report in person. The organization’s Executive Director, one other staff member, and a board member may be invited to update representatives of the State Arts Council (including the Director, a State Arts Councilor, and the grant coordinator) on the long range plan submitted with the original application. It will also be an opportunity to update the State Arts Council on the successes of the past year and the challenges for the coming year of the grant period.

Report Deadlines
The Interim Report is due July 31, 2014. The Final Report is due July 31, 2015. Both deadlines are postmark deadlines. If unexpected problems prevent meeting the deadline for either report, extensions of up to 90 days may be requested, but the request must be made in writing before the deadline for filing has passed.

Failure to file required reports by the original or extended deadline will result in penalties. Failure to file a timely interim report will result in loss of second year funding. Failure to file a final report will result in being ineligible to submit any application for any type of State Arts Council funding for the two years following the date the report was due.

Click here for the Final Report Download Center.


Last updated: December 26, 2013

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