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General Project Grants for Community Engagement
Postmark Deadline: July 25, 2014
(for projects between November 1, 2014 - September 30, 2015)

Grant Coordinator: Cassandra Mason
(603) 271-7926

These FY2015 Grant Guidelines are valid for fiscal year July 1, 2014 - June 30, 2015

Communities benefit from a lively arts and cultural sector both socially and economically. General Project Grants for Community Engagement are designed to help nonprofit organizations, Main Street Programs, municipalities, and schools bring arts presentations and activities into communities to enhance the quality of life for citizens, attract visitors, and help stimulate local economies through the arts. This competitive and matching grant category supports a wide range of activities including:

  • Performances, concerts, exhibits, workshops, local festivals, collaborative public art projects, etc., that engage the arts and artists for the benefit of New Hampshire residents and communities.
  • Short-term arts presentations and activities in schools or after school programs for youth of all ages.
  • Projects that help to preserve, document, and showcase heritage & traditional arts and cultural diversity of N.H. communities.

Organizations seeking funding in this category are strongly encouraged to develop projects that:

  • Include and compensate New Hampshire artists.
  • Bring arts presentations and activities to underserved populations in New Hampshire, including people living in rural areas; people with economic or social circumstances that restrict their access to the arts including recent immigrants and refugees; youth; seniors; and/or people with disabilities.
  • Develop projects that integrate the arts into other subjects, such as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), history and social studies.

Maximum Grant Request
Requests may be made for $750 - $4,500.

FUNDING DISCLAIMER: All grant categories and amounts are subject to change, depending upon availability of state and federal funds for any fiscal year.

Required Match
At a minimum, grants must be matched on a one-to-one basis.
In-kind contributions may comprise one half of the required match and will also be considered by the reviewers as evidence of support and commitment by the community and/or partner organization. State Arts Council funds may not be matched by other State Arts Council or National Endowment for the Arts funds.

Who May Apply?
Any organization with 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status from the IRS and not-for-profit incorporation in the State of New Hampshire; state, federal, county, municipal, or government agency; school; or unit of a post-secondary educational institution that:

  • Makes its facilities and programs accessible to people with disabilities;  
  • Has submitted all required reports on past State Arts Council grants;
  • Is in good standing with the N.H. Secretary of State’s Office and the N.H. Attorney General’s Office; and
  • Has at least a one-year history of arts programming prior to application deadline.
  • Organizations that are incorporated in a neighboring state of Maine, Vermont or Massachusetts, physically headquartered within 50 miles of the New Hampshire border, can demonstrate that over 50% of the individuals who benefit from their work are N.H. residents, and have a significant representation of N.H. residents on their board, are also eligible.


To allow for broad distribution of public funds to benefit youth in New Hampshire, in FY2015, nonprofit organizations and/or schools may APPLY for ONE grant in the following categories:

This grant does not support:

  • General operating expenses not directly related to the project.
  • Lobbying or fundraising expenses.
  • Projects already receiving funds from another State Arts Council grant category for the same project.
  • Commercially viable "for-profit" publications, recordings, or films.
  • Any cost item listed in the glossary under “ineligible expenses.”
  • Organizations that are current Public Value Partnership recipients.
  • Projects/activities that are not open to the general public.

Sample Projects

  • A series of public performances for the local farmer’s market or town center.
  • A series of community social dances featuring live music.
  • A series of art activities/workshops for families with pre-school children at the local community center.
  • An “Arts Walk” for downtown to coincide with local productions and a holiday celebration.
  • A partnership with a local Main Street program, library, and historical society to create a community mural on a downtown building or a series of banners that reflect the history, cultural heritage, or landscape of the town created by an artist working with local students.
  • A concert featuring compositions by a New Hampshire composer or playwright accompanied by an open rehearsal and public discussion following the performance.
  • A creative writing enrichment camp for young people.
  • A presentation/hands-on workshop by an artist in a local school.
  • Additional examples for projects involving youth may be found at NH Arts Learning Network under "Resources".

Application Review Process
A panel with expertise in the focus area of the grant category meets to review and rank applications according to the funding criteria listed. Whenever possible, 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 Councilors 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. Errors and omissions may affect a panel's evaluation of your application, so please prepare your application carefully and follow instructions.

Funding Criteria
The following criteria are used by reviewers to rank applications for this grant category:

Quality of Arts Programming

  • Artistic quality of participating artists.
  • Inclusion of New Hampshire artists.
  • Clearly defined process for the selection of the artist(s).

Administrative Capacity

  • Well-designed project plan with realistic timetable.
  • Appropriate qualifications of project staff.
  • Detailed publicity plan to attract audience/participants.
  • Realistic budgetary projections. (Please see the glossary for a list of ineligible costs.)
  • Ability to meet cash and in-kind match.
  • Evidence of providing programmatic access to persons with disabilities and to underserved populations.


  • Clearly stated project goal/s and desired outcomes.
  • Connection to organization’s mission and/or long range plan.
  • For projects in schools only: How the arts project will contribute to arts learning for youth.

Public Value/ Community Support

  • Evidence of support from community/ies benefiting from the project/activities. (Up to three letters may be submitted with Support Materials; in-kind donations may be indicated in budget.)

Evaluation & Documentation

  • Clear method of evaluating the effectiveness, outcomes and/or success of the project.
  • A plan for documenting the project/activities.

How to Apply
Applicants are encouraged to discuss their proposals with the grant coordinator listed for this category before writing their applications. 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 copies. When sending in a draft, please clearly indicate DRAFT FOR REVIEW in BOLD letters on your submission. Applicants should also review the legal and reporting requirements relevant to State Arts Council grants.

Submitting the application:

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Narrative Questions
Please answer the following narrative questions on no more than four typed pages. Margins (not less than 1 inch), fonts (not smaller than 12 point), and spacing should provide easy reading for the panelists. Please number and respond to the following questions in the order in which they appear, noting the section titles in bold.

INTRODUCTION: Tell us about your organization

  • Provide a profile of your organization including its mission and goals. Please keep in mind that some panelists may not be familiar with your organization or its importance to New Hampshire.

1. Why do you want to undertake this project?

  • Explain the goal(s) and intended outcome(s) of the project/activities.
  • Explain how your project relates to your organization’s mission, goals and (if available) long-range plan.

Special Focus Question for Projects in Schools: (If you are not applying for a project in a school, please skip to the next question.)

  • Explain how the arts project will contribute to arts learning for youth.

Special Focus Question for Projects focused on Preserving and Showcasing Heritage & Traditional Arts: (If you are not applying for this focus area, please skip to the next question.)

  • Explain how the arts project will help the public better understand the traditional art forms presented or how the arts project will help to preserve the traditional art form. For more information on definition of heritage and traditional arts, click here.

2. What community support do you have and how will the community benefit?

  • How will this project benefit the public and/or your community?
  • Please tell us what organizations, businesses, and leaders are in support of this/these project/activities.
  • Will volunteers be used for this project? If so, how?

3. What are you planning to do?

  • What are the activities, programs or services you are planning?
  • When will the project/activities occur?
  • Where will the project/activities occur?
  • Who are the participating artists* you will be involving? (Note: If you have not fully identified them, name as many as you can and how you plan to choose the ones who are not yet identified).
  • Who is/are your targeted audience(s) and or participants?

*Note: Resumes or background summaries (2-4 paragraphs) and work samples must be included for all artists. If you are featuring an artist on one of the NHSCA Rosters- NH Artist Roster, Arts in Health Care Directory, or the Traditional Arts & Folklife Listing- you may print out their entry and submit with the application.

4. How are you going to accomplish your project?

  • What is the timeline for the planning and implementation of the project?
  • Include the name and qualifications of the Project Director who will be managing this project/activity and attach his/her biography or resume.
  • Describe your marketing/promotion plan or other methods you will use to attract participants or audiences. Include a plan for crediting the New Hampshire State Council on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts for supporting projects that are funded.
  • Describe how you plan to meet the cash and in-kind match. Helpful hint: Make sure that the project costs outlined on the budget forms correspond with the activities you have described.
  • Identify the ways you will provide access to people with disabilities and senior citizens so they may benefit from this project (i.e., physical access, programmatic access via large print programs and signage, sign language interpretation, assistive listening devices, transportation, etc.).

5. How will you evaluate and document your project?

  • How will the outcome of the goals listed for the project/activities be measured? Please include a copy of your evaluation form in Support Materials, if available. For information on evaluation techniques, click here.
  • How do you plan to document the project/activity (i.e., photography, video, web site)?

Required Support Materials
Six sets (original plus five copies)

  • One-page resume or biographical statement of project director.
  • Selected written materials on outside contractors who will be assisting with the implementation of the project.
  • Letters of support by community members and/or participating partners. (if applicable)
  • Evaluation form for the project/activities, if available.
  • Selected relevant program materials such as reviews, season performance schedule, exhibition catalogues, etc. of previous programming.

One copy of :

  • List of current board or arts advisory committee members.
  • Board-approved financial statement for most recently completed fiscal year.
  • An arts organization embedded within an institution (e.g. a university art gallery) 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.
  • Work samples for all artists (e.g., CDs, DVDs, manuscript pages).
  • 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 State of New Hampshire Attorney General's office.

NOTE: Registration of IRS 501 (c) (3) nonprofits is required every five years, for the 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 & budget form and make five copies.
2. Complete and make five copies of the answers to the narrative questions.
3. Collate the original signed application form and copies to result in six sets.  Each set should contain the following items arranged in the order in which they are listed.

1) the signed application form (the original application should be with the first set)
2) narrative questions
3) project director biography or resume
4) written materials on outside contractors
5) letters of support (if applicable)
6) sample evaluation form(s), if available
7) sample flyers, programs, or other materials from previous projects (optional)

4. Include work samples of artists. See Preparation of Work Samples for instructions on preparing work samples/support materials. Reminder: If you are featuring an artist on one of the NHSCA Rosters- NH Artist Roster, Arts in Health Care Directory, or the Traditional Arts & Folklife Listing, you may print out their entry and submit with the application.

5. Include with your first set (original signed application):

A) List of current board or individuals serving on an arts advisory committee.
B) Board-approved financial statement for most recently completed fiscal year.

FIRST-TIME nonprofit organization applicants only (municipalities and schools are exempt from these requirements):
C) One copy of IRS letter certifying 501(c)(3) status.
D) One copy of the Letter of Good Standing that was received upon registering with the N.H. State Attorney General’s office.

6. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope for any materials that you would like to have returned.
7. Please do not use binders, folders, or protector sheets for the six separate sets of materials. Staples or clips are acceptable. Separate large envelopes may be used to contain the collated materials. It is helpful if you 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 with the original signature on top. Mail or hand-deliver to: N.H. State Council on the Arts, 19 Pillsbury Street, 1st Floor, Concord, NH 03301.

Why all these copies?
The original is for the State Arts Council files. Additional copies are for the panelists who will review your application prior to discussion at the panel meeting.

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 your application, so please prepare your 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 N.H., 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.


  • All grant agreements must be returned by January 15 of the fiscal year (July 1 to June 30) they are awarded. Failure to return the grant agreement by that date could result in the cancellation of the grant and reallocation of funds.
  • Payment of a grant will be withheld if the final reports for previous grants are not in compliance with policy below.

Grant Period and Reporting Requirements
The grant period is November 1, 2014 – September 13, 2015. A final report is due by October 31, 2015.

Failure to submit the final report by the required date will result in the organization becoming ineligible to apply for NHSCA funding for two years. Additionally, failure to submit the final report may result in a withholding of funds from any currently awarded NHSCA grant.

Click here for the Final Report Download Center.



Last updated: March 6, 2014
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