NYSCA NEA CARES Grants Guidelines


Guidelines Release Date: Friday May 8, 2020

Application Deadline: Tuesday May 26, 2020 at 4 pm

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act  provides economic assistance for American workers, families, and small businesses, and preserve jobs for our American industries, including the arts sector. Through the CARES Act, the National Endowment for the Arts will distribute $75 million to help save jobs in the arts sector and keep the doors open to the thousands of organizations that add value to America’s economy and the creative life of our communities.

This program includes funding directly to nonprofit arts organizations as well as funding available through State Arts Agencies, including NYSCA.

1.     Program Goal:

NYSCA CARES ACT funds are intended to assist arts organizations and their employees in enduring the economic hardships caused by the forced closure of their operations due to COVID-19. 

As available funds are limited, NYSCA intends to make awards that will impact a broad constituency. This includes a wide geographic range and organizations that serve underserved populations such as those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited by geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. 

In partnership with the New York Foundation for the Arts, NYSCA will also offer $1,000 grants directly to New York based artists in the Capital Region, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Long Island, Mid-Hudson, Mohawk Valley, North Country, Southern Tier, and Western New York, allowing artists to continue their creative practices. More information on this fund will be announced shortly. 

2.     Total Funding Available: $490,000

3.     Eligibility:

To be eligible for a NYSCA NEA Cares Grant, an organization must: 

  • Have been awarded a general operating support (GOS) grant from the New York State Council on the Arts in the most recent round of funding (FY 2020) either through a new application or as part of an ongoing multiyear GOS grant.
  • Have no more than $1,500,000 in total organizational revenue in the most recent IRS Form 990 submitted through the Grants Gateway Document Vault as of April 21, 2020.  
  • Have no outstanding NYSCA grant reports. 

4.     What We Can Fund: 

• $10,000 per grant up to 49 grants.
• Funded expenses may cover only: salaries (and fringe benefits), fees for artists and other contracted personnel, and operational facilities costs (e.g., rent, utilities, etc.).
      •Salaries and contracted personnel may be full or part-time and cover one or more positions.
      •Fees for individual artists must be for working on programs and activities (not as a one‐time monetary recognition award).  Eligible work includes presentations, training, research, and/or creation of an artwork, with tangible outcomes including work distributed online.
• Expenses must be spent during any period between July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2021.

5.     Ineligible Expenses:

  • Expenses that are funded in full by any other grant or source, including another NYSCA grant, any NEA or other CARES grant, or any other COVID-19-related government source.
  • Expenses for travel, food, entertainment, or out-of-state activity.  No time spent by any salaried or contractual personnel on these items can be allocated to the award.

6.     How to Apply:

There is only one step to apply:  Submit a Grant Request Statement (2,000 character max) that answers the questions in item 7 below into the single text box on the COVID page of the NYSCA.org grantee portal. (See one page PDF for instructions on accessing the COVID page at www.nysca.org/downloads/files/NEA_NYSCA_CARES_INSTRUCTIONS.pdf.)

Deadline to submit a Grant Request Statement is: Tuesday May 26, 2020 at 4 pm.

7.     What to Include in the NYSCA NEA CARES Grant Request Statement:

Please write a detailed statement (2,000 character max). In your response, include the following information, supported by specific examples:

  • Provide one sentence with FY2020 GOS program name and why your organizational revenue meets the eligibility requirements. (See 3: Eligibility above for revenue requirements and FAQ:12 below.)
  • Describe your community or service area, including both artists and audiences.
  • What impact does your organization have on your community or service area?
  • What is the availability of comparable services or activities in the geographic region you serve?
  • How would your organization spend the $10,000 in funds received from the CARES act between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021? (See 4/5: What We Can Fund/What We Can Not Fund above and make sure your proposed expenses meet requirements. Please state affirmatively that these expenses will not be funded from any other grant or source.)

8.     Who to Contact with Questions:

Any program staff member is available to answer your questions.  We recommend that you contact the program director for your GOS grant in the first instance.  See https://arts.ny.gov/programs

For technical help with your user name and password to NYSCA.org or accessing the COVID page to submit your Grant Request Statement, contact [email protected].

9.     A Note On Our Streamlined Process: 

To streamline the process at this time, please note the following are not required for your application to be eligible for review:

  • Project income budget, or estimate of matching funds.
  • Proof of Prequalification in the Grants Gateway at the application deadline.
  • Registration or application submission in either the Consolidated Funding Application or the Grants Gateway. 
  • Org information on the NYSCA.org grantee portal can be updated at the organization's option but is not required.

10.  Our Review:

  • Applications will be reviewed by NYSCA staff for eligibility and against the NYSCA scoring rubric against the Service/Outreach to the Public criteria only.  NYSCA will also take into account the most recent panel review of your GOS grant. 
  • Priority will be given to organizations that further NYSCA's goal of impacting a broad, diverse constituency in New York State.
  • For information on the NYSCA scoring rubric, the Service/Outreach to the Public criteria, and NYSCA's council review and appeals process see How Applications Are Evaluated.

11.  Awards Information:

  • Awards will be announced by NYSCA as soon as practicable with a target of no later than July 7, 2020.
  • Awards will be subject to the NYS grants standard terms and conditions (including the requirements for Federally funded grants) attached to an award notification letter and accepted by grantee signature of an attached claim for payment form.
  • All grantees will be required to submit a final report no later than 60 days after the end of the grant period. Grantees will be encouraged to complete the final report as soon as possible after spending the full grant amount. 
  • All grantees must be Prequalified in the Grants Gateway to receive a payment of the award.

12.  FAQs:

  1.  Can we receive a NYSCA NEA CARES grant if we also apply for and receive an NEA CARES award directly from the NEA?

    No. You may apply for both grants though.  NYSCA will hold award notifications until the NEA CARES awards funding is approved and announced publicly by the NEA.  NYSCA will remove any applications from its award list that have received a NYSCA NEA CARES grant directly from the NEA.

  2. We are a FY2020 NYSCA grantee or a FY 2021 NYSCA applicant but do not meet the Eligibility requirements. Can I apply?

     No. You must meet the Eligibility requirements to apply to this opportunity. 

  3. How can we check our most recent IRS Form 990 submitted in Grants Gateway as of April 21, 2020 to confirm we meet the Eligibility revenue requirement?  

    Log onto Grants Gateway, click on Organization, then on Document Vault, and then on the IRS 990 link and look at your most recent IRS Form 990 submitted on or before April 21, 2020.

  4. We do not meet the Eligibility revenue requirement as our most recent IRS Form 990's total revenue exceeds $1,500,000 but can the Eligibility review by NYSCA exclude revenue from unusual sources (e.g., amounts that our organization does not consider to be operational funds for that year) or revenue that we did not spend/include in expenses in that year? 

    No. NYSCA will look at total revenue in your most recent Form 990 filing in Grants Gateway to confirm eligibility.   The only exception is that if your organization does not meet the eligibility threshold in the most current year Form 990 but your organizational budget in your most recent NYSCA filing as of April 21, 2020 was below $1,500,000, you may alternatively be eligible on the basis of your organizational budget size in your most recent NYSCA filing.  Please state such an alternative basis in your Request Statement.

  5. My organization is exempt from providing an IRS Form 990 that shows organizational revenue in Grants Gateway. How will the revenue Eligibility be reviewed? 

    NYSCA will review revenue information from other sources including your last application and any information within Grants Gateway. 

  6. Is this grant request subject to NYSCA grant request limit per year or NYSCA limits on the percentage of an overall budget NYSCA can fund?

    No, a NYSCA NEA CARES request is exempt from both of these limits.

  7. Do we need to propose to spend grant award funds within the same cost categories as our FY 2020 GOS grant? 

    No. You may propose to use the funds for any eligible cost for this opportunity (see 4/5 above).   Reminder that your proposed use of the grant funds can't be for the same expenses that are funded by any other grant or source, including another NYSCA grant. For example, if your NYSCA GOS grant partly funds a specific staff salary, you can propose the NYSCA NEA CARES fund the other parts of that same salary or chose another eligible cost.    

  8. Can we propose to spend grant award funds to non-operating facilities costs such as capital work or a mortgage? 

    No. You can spend the grant awards funds on operating facilities costs such as rent or utilities.

  9. Who will receive notifications about my NYSCA NEA CARES application?

    Notices will be sent to the primary and secondary contacts listed in the contact page of the Org Info section of NYSCA.org.  You may update that contact information at any time. 

  10. May artists or organizations apply through fiscal sponsors? 

    No. This opportunity is not available for fiscally sponsored projects. Please stay tuned for an announcement about our forthcoming individual artist grants in partnership with NYFA.