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General Operating Support Grants

GOS is currently off-cycle. GOS grantees are currently completing a two-year grant cycle that began July 1, 2019, and ends June 30, 2021.

General Operating Support (GOS) grants support arts and culture organizations in the production and presentation of ongoing, sustainable, high-quality artistic activities that engage the diversity of residents in St. Louis and beyond.

GOS grants are made to arts organizations with a history of RAC funding and annual operating expenses of $150,000 or more. The GOS grant money provides unrestricted, renewable funding to support day-to-day operations.

  • ABOUT
  • ELIGIBILITY
  • SCHEDULE
  • REVIEW CRITERIA
  • HOW TO APPLY

ABOUT

Amount Awarded

$15,000 - $300,000

Details

The GOS grant program is RAC’s primary vehicle for supporting the efforts of grantees by providing unrestricted support. Successful applicants will demonstrate clarity of vision, leadership, support, staffing, funding and strategy.

More detailed information is available in the RAC Grants Information Guide.

ELIGIBILITY

Eligibility for Grant

The GOS grant program is open to an arts and culture mission-based organization that meets the following requirements:

  • Non-profit and tax-exempt status
  • A three-year consecutive history of receiving RAC funding through Program Support
  • Performs 75 percent of its programming within St. Louis City or County
  • Must employ at least one permanent full-time employee or one permanent full-time-equivalent (FTE)
  • Must have a three-year average annual operating expenses (AOE) of $150,000 or more
  • Among other requirements (see the RAC Grants Information Guide for further details)


Grant Restrictions

  • Educational institutions including schools, child care centers, colleges and universities are ineligible to apply. Organizations that are closely affiliated with such institutions should contact RAC prior to submitting an application and may be asked to provide additional information.
  • Faith-based or religious-affiliated organizations are ineligible to apply in the General Operating Support category but may apply in Program Support.

More detailed information is available in the RAC Grants Information Guide.

SCHEDULE

Grant Schedule

Mid-Cycle Reporting: June 2020

Pre-Qualification Process Opens: Fall 2020

Application Opens: Winter 2020

Staff Phone Consultations: Winter 2020/Spring 2021

Application Deadline: Spring 2021

GOS Panel Review: Spring 2021

Appeals Due: One week after panel meetings conclude

Grants Committee Review: One week prior to Commission approval

Commission Approval: June 2021

Grant Cycle Starts: July 01, 2021

Grant Cycle Ends: June 30, 2023

REVIEW CRITERIA

Grant Review Criteria

Each application will be rated according to RAC’s review criteria. RAC uses a four-point rating system (4-1) with steps in between each rating (4, 4-, 3+, 3, 3-, 2+, 2, 2-, 1).

Your rating is used to determine your RAC award. A rating of 4 is rare and that of a model organization. Organizations with a 3 are strong, 2 are considered fundable and 1 will not be recommended for funding. A rating of 2 or higher is no guarantee of funding. Available funds vary and RAC cannot predict the lowest rating that will be funded in a given year.

GOS applicants receiving the highest ratings will share the following characteristics:

Artistic Merit and Quality of Programs

  • Strong artistic vision and leadership
  • Some recognition of artistic excellence and quality of programs including awards, recognition, occasional local media
  • Maintains a loyal audience base that is evidenced by consistent attendance numbers and ticket sales
  • Hires local professional artists and builds the pool of artistic talent

Community Benefit

  • Diversity goals achieved through intentional outreach efforts and/or partnerships with diverse groups
  • Implements strategies and programs to promote lifelong learning through the arts and to broaden and deepen an understanding of the art form through accessible and affordable programs
  • Evidence of a commitment to diversity in staffing, board recruitment, and use of vendors
  • Increases access to the arts through local and neighborhood based programming
  • Awareness of the responsibility to increase awareness of value of the arts and participate in advocacy activities, when possible
  • Ongoing efforts to assess and evaluate audience needs through surveys and other basic evaluation tools

Organizational Capacity

  • Solid administrative leadership and management
  • An engaged and contributing working board of directors
  • Strategic planning efforts undertaken on a regular basis
  • Progress in establishing sound financial policies and practices
  • Practice of generating renewable sources of annual income
  • Accurate and timely preparation of financials
  • Demonstrated progress toward establishing cash reserves to sustain the organization
  • Provides training and professional development opportunities for staff and board members

General Operating Support – Funding Formula

A funding formula is used to determine the award amount in GOS. This formula is based on an organization’s average annual operating expense (AOE) which is determined by averaging an organization’s total functional expenses from their last three IRS Form 990’s. You can estimate the maximum award your organization may receive by using the Funding Formula Calculator.

More detailed information about the funding formula is available in the RAC Grants Information Guide.

HOW TO APPLY

How to Apply for this Grant

The GOS application has several steps including:

  • The GOS pre-application will be available through grants.racstl.org.
  • Application writing workshops will be held.
  • Applications are reviewed by a Review Panel.
  • The Grants Committee, a subcommittee of RAC’s Board of Commissioners, makes final recommendations based on the Review Panel’s ratings of the applications.
  • RAC’s Board of Commissioners votes on the recommendations made by the Grants Committee.
  • Public announcement of grant awards will be made after the full Commission meets and approves the awards.

If you have questions regarding the GOS application, contact grants@racstl.org.