Community Impact Grants

Community Impact Grants

Community Impact Grants

Community Impact Grants fund high-quality creative arts programming, the creation of new work, the expansion of successful arts projects, and/or arts-based services to the field.  Impact Grants support any artistic discipline and on any scale. There is a 1:1 required cash match for the grant.  


To facilitate new and innovative art-based projects or services that reach and impact communities, including those that are underserved, under-resourced, and under-represented.


Community Impact Grants fund high-quality creative arts programming, creation of new work, expansion of successful arts projects, and/or arts-based services to the field.  Impact Grants support any artistic discipline and on any scale. There is a 1:1 required cash match for the grant.

Eligible Applicants

  • Virginia nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations
  • Units of local and tribal governments
  • Higher educational institutions presenting the arts
  • Groups without tax-exempt status may apply using a Virginia Fiscal Agent (see details below).
  • Applications for traditional learning environments, including Pre-K-12 and lifelong learners with identified learning goals, must be filed under the Education Impact Grant program.
  • Individuals may not apply.

Eligible Activities

Community Impact Grants provide support for a wide range of new and expanded arts programs that drive impact, including, but not limited to:

  • New or expanded performances, exhibitions, screenings, conferences, readings, public art projects, and festivals that focus on engaging new and underserved, under-resourced, and under-represented audiences or communities
  • Program enhancements that enable participation of individuals with disabilities
  • Commissions of new works of visual, performing, and media arts
  • Public art projects that commission an artist for the creation of new work that engage the community in the planning, presentation, and/or fabrication

Fiscal Agents

A nonprofit, tax-exempt Virginia organization or unit of government may act as fiscal agent for a Community Impact Grant request by an organization that is not tax exempt or not incorporated in Virginia.* The fiscal agent must complete and sign the application and, if a grant is received, is legally responsible for the completion of the project and for the proper management of the grant funds. The Commission requires that a fiscal agent have a written agreement with the individual or organization that will actually administer the project, to avoid misunderstandings. The Commission requires a signed copy of the written agreement between the two parties as part of the application. The fiscal agent may not have a staff member affiliated with any aspect of the project, either as an employee or in a policymaking role such as serving on the Board.


*The Commission will also accept Fractured Atlas and Women In Film & Video as fiscal agents for Community and Education Impact grants only, as approved by Commission vote. Fractured Atlas and Women in Film & Video are the only exceptions for fiscal agents outside of Virginia.

Application Deadline

March 1, 2024, by 5:00 p.m. EST for the grant period of July 1, 2024 – June 15, 2025.

Assistance Amount

Generally, the grant amounts will be between $1,000 and $5,000. Applicants may submit more than one application for a combined total of no more than $5,000 and must provide at least a 1:1 cash match of the requested grant. The Commission will rarely grant more than 50 percent of the cash costs of any project.

Cash Match

Grant awards to organizations must be matched 1:1. For example, if an organization requests $1,000 from VCA, it must have at least $1,000 in cash income from another source (other than state or federal funds) towards the expenses of that same project. Sources of matching funds may include revenue from the project activities such as ticket sales; contributions from individuals, foundations, or corporations; or cash from the organization’s own accounts.

In-kind Support

In-kind contributions cannot be counted as part of a cash match. In-kind contributions are the dollar value of materials and services that are provided to a project at no cash cost from sources other than the applicant, e.g., volunteer hours or donated space. However, it is important to document and include information on in-kind contributions as part of the application budget. In-kind donations help to demonstrate a community’s support of a project.

Criteria for Evaluating Applications

The Virginia Commission for the Arts is interested in innovative, collaborative arts programs and/or services with the following priorities:

Community Impact – The extent to which there is an active, two-way engagement between the applicant and the audience/community in the planning, participation, and evaluation of the proposed activity, including intentional strategies to reach new and underserved, under-resourced, and under-represented communities.

Artistic Excellence – Relative to the budget size of the organization, the extent to which the applicant demonstrates a committed effort to provide its audience/community an innovative, impactful, and quality artistic experience.

Operational Excellence – The extent to which the applicant can demonstrate sound fiscal and project management.

Required Attachments

The following forms are provided by the Commission via upload in the online grant application:

  • Project budget form
  • Signed Certification of Assurances
  • Virginia W-9 Form

Applicants must generate and upload the following documents:

  • Artist(s) bios
  • Three documents reflecting artistic excellence
  • Profit and Loss Statement or audit from the most recently completed fiscal or calendar year
  • IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter
  • Fiscal Agent Agreement (if applicable)

Application/Review Process

  1. Applicants must complete and submit the online application to the Commission by the deadline.
  2. The Commission staff reviews each application for completeness and eligibility. Incomplete or ineligible applications will not be reviewed, will be returned to the applicant with an explanation, and will not be funded.
  3. Commission staff forwards applications to members of the statewide, multi-disciplinary Advisory Panel to review prior to the Advisory Panel screening session.
  4. The Advisory Panel meets with two members of the Commission staff. Commissioners attend Advisory Panel screening session as silent observers. The Advisory Panel makes its recommendations after group discussion.
  5. The Commission Board then reviews the recommendations of the Advisory Panel and staff and takes final action on the applications.
  6. Applicants are notified of Commission action by email following vote at the Commission Board meeting and pending enactment of the fiscal year budget per the General Assembly.
  7. The Commission will pay the grant amount in full by mid-August. The Commission reserves the right to use an alternative payment schedule in special circumstances.
  8. Final Reports must be submitted 30 days after the completion of all funded activities or by June 1 at the latest. Failure to submit a Final Report by the deadline will impact future funding.
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