Grants FAQs

The Regional Arts Commission is delighted to once again announce its annual awarded grants. As part of this announcement, we thought it might be helpful to provide some additional information about our grantmaking process. Below you’ll find our most Frequently Asked Questions.  As always, we welcome your comments and any additional questions you might have about who we are and how we are working to make St. Louis a better place to live through the arts.

Now, on with the FAQs!

Where does the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) get its funding?

Through a legislative mandate established in 1985, RAC receives its funding from 4/15 of the hotel/motel room sales tax revenue from St. Louis City and County, in addition to special project grants from foundations and corporations.

Where does the Regional Arts Commission (RAC) get its funding?

Through a legislative mandate established in 1985, RAC receives its funding from 4/15 of the hotel/motel room sales tax revenue from St. Louis City and County, in addition to special project grants from foundations and corporations.

How many grant programs are offered by RAC?

RAC offers four grant programs:

  1. General Operating Support, which provides unrestricted, renewable funding to support the day-to-day operations of nonprofit arts organizations that produce and present year-round programming.
  2. Program Support Grants provide aide for a one-time project or ongoing program that broadens and deepens participation in or access to the arts. If you are a new applicant to RAC grants, program support is the appropriate grant category.
  3. Artist Support Grants provide direct funds for an individual artist’s projects, needs, or creative opportunities in all artistic disciplines.
  4. RAC Artist Fellowships provide awards that recognize artistic excellence and honor the work of seasoned artists, advance the work of mid-career artists, and nurture the work of developing artists.

How many organizations applied for grants this year?

RAC received a total of 204 applications for this grant cycle: 168 organizations applied for Program Support, and 36 applied for General Operating Support.

How many organizations received funding this year?

In 2018, RAC funded 125 organizations.

How much does RAC give out in awarded grants annually?

On average, RAC awards about $4 million in grants annually. This includes both organization and individual artist grants.

How can I apply for a RAC grant?

Any organization or individual artist interested in applying for grant from the RAC must first determine eligibility.  Check out eligibility requirements here. If you have any questions about your eligibility, please contact the Grants Department.

If applying for an organization grant, you must fill out a pre-application, which becomes available every November. All eligible applicants will then be invited to fill out a full application.

Applications for individual artist grant opportunities become available every January, July, and August.

All applications are submitted through RAC’s online grant application website: grants.racstl.org.

Who decides who gets funded?

Funding is determined at the end of a multi-step process that involves several key participants working together over several months:

  1. RAC Staff reviews applications for eligibility.
  2. Citizen Review Panelists review and rate applications and consider appeals.
  3. RAC Grants Committee recommend the grantees for funding and the allocation of funds.
  4. The RAC Board of Commissioners approve the grantees and final allocation of funds.

What is the Citizens Review Panel?

Citizen Review Panelists play a central role in RAC’s annual grant-making process. Panelists review all grant applications individually prior to attending a public meeting where the same applications are discussed and rated with other panelists as a group. The Citizen panelist’s rating is one of several factors that determines the applicant’s funding. Each year, RAC invites dozens of local citizens representing a broad and diverse range of artistic and cultural viewpoints, professions, and backgrounds, to volunteer on panels. We’re always looking for individuals with experience and/or expertise in the arts to serve as panelists. If you’re interested in becoming a RAC Citizen Review Panelist, email jess@racstl.org to express your interest.

Is the grant review process kept confidential?

RAC works to make every aspect of its grantmaking process as transparent as possible. We encourage anyone who is interested to sit in on a Citizen Review Panel meeting to observe how the process works. The names of panelists are shared with applicants prior to the review of their applications. Although we publicly announce the names of awarded grantees on our website and in the media, we responsibly keep confidential the names of applicants who are not approved for funding.

Can organizations reapply the next year if they do not receive funding this year?

Yes, eligible organizations not approved for funding are encouraged to reapply in the future. Applicants should review the comments received from the Citizen Review Panel to learn ways to make their application better. RAC staff provide technical assistance opportunities throughout the application period to help all organizations submit more competitive applications.

If mistakes were made in reviewing my application, can I appeal my rating?

Yes, after applicants receive their organization’s panel comments and rating, they have the right to appeal if they believe an error was made during the review process. Applicants must have solid grounds for an appeal for it to be considered. Dissatisfaction with a rating is not sufficient ground for an appeal. Solid grounds for an appeal are based on a misstatement of fact made during the panel meeting that is evidenced by written information found in the application. A successful appeal will result in a higher rating, but a higher rating does not guarantee funding.

How do we find out more about RAC’s grants programs?

Announcements about our annual grants are posted on the RAC website, on our Facebook page, and our Twitter account. If you are interested in learning more about our grants programs, click here or you may contact James Anderson, Director of Grants, at james@racstl.org.