Education Impact Grants

Education Impact Grants

Education Impact Grants

These grants provide Virginia’s Pre-K-12 students and teachers opportunities to work with professional artists in an in-school, after-school, or other community setting, including summer activities.


To provide opportunities for students, educators, youth, and adult citizens throughout Virginia to participate in and learn through the arts by working with highly-qualified professional artists in both traditional and non-traditional learning environments.


Education Impact Grants fund hands-on participatory programs/residencies that enrich instruction in-school arts curriculum, engage diverse populations in community-based settings, and provide professional development for artists and educators. There is a 1:1 required cash match for the grant.

Eligible Applicants

  • Virginia federally tax-exempt schools (public, public charter, private, alternative, special education schools, homeschools, career and technical centers, colleges, and universities)
  • Virginia nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations
  • Virginia units of local and tribal governments (including libraries, departments of parks and recreation, correctional facilities, etc.)

Applicants applying for Education Impact Grants may not apply for Community Impact Grants.

Eligible Activities

  • New or expanded artist residencies based upon identified learning goals. Grant funding supports multi-day projects, typically between three and 10 days in length.
  • New or expanded in-school, after-school, or summer arts education
  • New or expanded training programs for artists or arts integration professional development for teachers who work with Virginia’s Pre-K-12 students.
  • Teaching Artists may be proposed in the application with supplemental documentation of the artist’s qualifications or selected from the VCA Teaching Artist Roster. Grant funds may be used for artist stipends, equipment, supplies, and costs for documenting and/or evaluating program outcomes.
  • Applicants utilizing the VCA Teaching Artist Roster will be reviewed in-agency only and recommended for funding, if eligible.
  • The Commission will not fund the same activity by same applicant for more than three years without significant program expansion.

Eligibility Requirements

  • Meets the basic eligibility requirements as listed on page 9 of the Guidelines for Funding
  • Groups without tax-exempt status may apply using a Virginia Fiscal Agent (see details below)
  • All programming must take place in Virginia 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

Fiscal Agents

A nonprofit, tax-exempt Virginia organization or unit of government may act as fiscal agent for an Education 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 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

April 1, 2024, by 5:00 p.m. EST, for activities/residencies taking place between July 1, 2024 – June 15, 2025.

Amount of Assistance

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 / school’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 and participatory arts education programs and/or services with the following priorities:

Education 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:

  • Residency/workshop lesson plan
  • IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter
  • Fiscal Agent Agreement (if applicable)

Applicants must also generate and upload the following documents if not using an artist from the VCA Teaching Artist Roster:

  • Teaching artist(s) resume(s)
  • One letter of reference
  • Three documents reflecting artistic excellence

Application/Review/Payment 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. If not utilizing an artist on the VCA Teaching Artist Roster, Commission staff forwards the application to members of the statewide, multi-disciplinary Advisory Panel to review prior to the Advisory Panel screening session. Applications utilizing the VCA Teaching Artist Roster will be reviewed in-agency only.
  4. The Advisory Panel meets with two members of the Commission staff. Commissioners attend Advisory Panel screening sessions 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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