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 $100,000 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 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 $100,000 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.

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


Grant Schedule


Grant Cycle: July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018

Grant Seekers Information Workshop: Wednesday, November 09, 2016, 5:00p.m. – 6:30p.m. at RAC

Grant Seekers Information Workshop: Monday, November 14, 2016, 9:00 a.m. – 10:30a.m. at RAC

Pre-Application Available: Thursday, December 01, 2016

Pre-Application Deadline: Thursday, December 15, 2016 at 12:00a.m. midnight

Notification of GOS Eligibility via Email: Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Full Application Available on eGrant: Monday, February 06, 2017

GOS Application Writing Workshop: Thursday, February 9, 2017, 3:30p.m. – 5:00p.m.

GOS Application Writing Workshop: Wednesday, February 15, 2017, 9:00a.m. – 10:30a.m.

Advance Review Deadline: Thursday, March 09, 2017

Final Application Deadline: Thursday, April 06, 2017 at 12:00a.m. midnight

GOS Panel Meetings: First week in May 2017

Appeals Process: Appeals are due within two weeks following panel meeting

Full Commission Votes on Awards: Thursday, June 08, 2017

Announcement: Tuesday, June 15, 2017

Projects Start: Saturday, July 01, 2017


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 new 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 December 2016 and ends in July 2017. The process has several steps including:

  • The GOS pre-application will be available through RAC’s eGrant system December 1, 2016 and is due December 15, 2016.
  • Eligible organizations will be notified by Dec. 20, 2016 and invited to submit a full application by April 6, 2017.
  • Application workshops will be held in February 2017.
  • Applications are reviewed by a citizen’s 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 May 25, 2017 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.