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, 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.
This grant program is open to any Virginia nonprofit organization, unit of government, tribal government, or higher educational institution presenting the arts. Applications for traditional learning environments, including Prek-12 and lifelong learners with identified learning goals, must be filed under the Education Impact Grant program. Individuals may not apply.
- Meets the basic eligibility requirements as listed on page 9 of the Guidelines for Funding
- The organization is a nonprofit Virginia 501(c)(3) organization or unit of local or tribal government. Groups without tax-exempt status may apply using a Virginia Fiscal Agent (see details below)*
- The applicant meets the Basic Eligibility Requirements listed on page 9 of the Guidelines for Funding
- All programming/services will take place in ADA-compliant facilities
- Must not be under current debarment or suspension from federal funding
- Must have no past-due Final Reports to the VCA at the time of application
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 the 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
- Organizations applying for GOS, OSS, or Education Impact Grants may not apply for Community Impact Grants.
- General operating support or annual budgets for established organizations are not considered projects and are ineligible.
- Applications from colleges/universities should be for activities not otherwise available in the community.
- Projects from colleges/universities that are primarily for academic credit are not eligible.
- Generally, the Commission will not support the same project for more than three years.
March 1, 2024, at 5:00 p.m. EST for the grant period of July 1, 2024-June 15, 2025.
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 Virginia Commission for the Arts will rarely grant more than 50 percent of the cash costs of any project.
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 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 art 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 with an innovative, impactful, and quality artistic experience.
Operational Excellence – The extent to which the applicant can demonstrate sound fiscal and project management.
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 has 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 of directors.
*The Commission will also accept Fractured Atlas and Women In Film & Video as fiscal agents for Community Impact grants only, as approved by the Commission vote. Fractured Atlas and Women in Film & Video are the only exceptions for fiscal agents outside of Virginia.
The following forms will be provided by the VCA 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:
- Short Bios of Principal Staff /Project Leader and Artist(s)
- Three Documents Reflecting Artistic Excellence
- Profit and Loss Statement or Audit from the Most Recently Completed Fiscal or Calendar Year
- Balance Sheet from December 31, 2023
- IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter
- Fiscal Agent Agreement (if applicable)
- The application is due March 1, 2024, by 5 p.m. EST. Commission staff is available for consultation and draft application reviews until February 1, 2024.
- Commission staff reviews the applications and forwards them to members of the statewide, multi-disciplinary advisory panel to review prior to the panel meeting.
- The advisory panel meets with two members of the Commission staff and a Commissioner. Applicant representatives may attend the panel meeting as observers but may not present to the panel. The panelists make their recommendations after a group discussion. Names of Commissioners and advisory panelists, as well as dates and locations of the Commission and the panel meeting, are available on the Commission website.
- The board of the Commission reviews the panel and staff recommendations and takes final action on the applications.
- Applicants are notified of Commission action by email in late June.
- The Commission will generally pay 85 percent of each year’s grant amount by August 15. The final 15 percent will be paid within 30 days after the Commission receives the final report on the grant. The Commission reserves the right to use an alternative payment schedule in special circumstances. Final reports must be submitted within 30 days of the completion of the project and no later than June 1.