Apply for General Operating Support Grants

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.



Amount Awarded

$15,000 - $300,000


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 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.


Grant Schedule

GOS Grant Schedule

Grant Cycle: July 01, 2019 – June 30, 2021 (two-year grant cycle)

Grant Application Review Period: November 2018 – May 2019

Grant Seekers Information Workshop (Two Sessions): 

Pre-Application Available at grants.racstl.orgMonday, November 05, 2018

Pre-Application Deadline: Thursday, December 13, 2018 at 11:59 p.m.

Notification of GOS Eligibility via email: Thursday, December 20, 2018

Full Application available at grants.racstl.orgTuesday, February 05, 2019

GOS Application Writing Workshop (2 sessions):
(Registration links will be available December 20, 2019)

Advance Review deadline: Thursday, March 07, 2019

   (Level III and new applicants only)

Full Application deadline: Thursday, April 11, 2019, at 11:59 p.m.

GOS Citizen Review Panel Meetings: Third week of May 2019

  • Level III: Tuesday, May 14, 2019, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at RAC
  • Level II: Wednesday, May 15, 2019, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at RAC
  • Level I: Thursday, May 16, 2019, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at RAC

Appeals Process: Appeals are due within one week after receiving comments

Full Commission Vote on Awards: Thursday, June 13, 2019

Announcement: Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Grant Cycle Start: Monday, July 01, 2019


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 for this Grant

The GOS application review process begins in November 2018 and ends in June 2019. The process has several steps including:

  • The GOS pre-application will be available through on November 5, 2018, and is due December 13, 2018.
  • Eligible organizations will be notified on Dec. 20, 2018, and invited to submit a full application on February 5, 2019.
  • Application workshops will be held in February 2019.
  • Applications due Wednesday, April 11, 2019.
  • Applications are reviewed by a Citizen Review Panel.
  • The Grants Committee, a subcommittee of RAC’s Board of Commissioners, makes final recommendations based on the Citizen 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 on or around June 19, 2019, after the full Commission meets and approves the awards.
  • And more. (Please see RAC Grants Information Guide for more information.)

If you have questions regarding the GOS application, please contact James F. Anderson via email.