Apply for Program Support Grants

Program Support grants support arts and culture organizations and non-arts nonprofit organizations in the production and presentation of high-quality artistic activities that engage the diversity of residents throughout St. Louis City and County. It provides financial support for an ongoing arts program or one-time arts and culture program or project that broadens and deepens participation in and access to the arts.

If you are a new applicant to RAC, Program Support is the appropriate grant category in which to apply.



Amount Awarded

$1,500 - $15,000


Program Support objectives include:

  • Support professional artistic programming and activities of both arts and non-arts organizations
  • Encourage organizations to reflect the diversity of the communities they serve
  • Encourage the development of organizational capacity in arts and non-arts organizations to play a leadership role in their communities

Applicants should have a track record of community programming in the St. Louis region prior to submitting an application. Program Support grants are intended to serve as partial support for arts activities which may be recurring, existing projects or one-time events.

The Program Support grants category is further divided into three categories:

  • Arts and Culture Programs
  • Cultural Festivals, Parades, and Special Events
  • Community Arts Programs

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

Grant Amounts

Eligible organizations can apply for funding in four discrete grant tiers. The maximum amount of funding that an organization can receive from each of these tiers is $15,000, $10,000, $5,000, or $3,000. The grant tiers are based on the overall program or project cost and require at least a 1:1 cash match.

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


Eligibility for Grant

An organization is eligible to apply for Program Support provided that it meets a number of requirements, including:

  • Nonprofit and tax-exempt status
  • The program is open and accessible to all citizens and occurs in St. Louis City or County
  • Primary purpose of the program is the creation or utilization of art

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

Grant Restrictions

  • An organization may apply for only one Program Support grant per grant cycle.
  • A first-time applicant is eligible to apply only at the $3,000 and $5,000 grant tier in Program Support.
  • 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.
  • Applicants for Program Support may not apply to the Regional Arts Commission for:
    • Programs that are part of a religious service
    • Political advocacy
    • Programs, projects or events not accessible to the public
    • Capital improvements
    • Purchase of real property
    • Tuition assistance
    • Art therapy programs (i.e. programs that are for the primary purpose of rehabilitation)
    • Benefits or fundraisers
    • Costs of receptions and social activities, except when they are incidental and related to arts activities
    • Deficit or debt reduction efforts

Fiscal Sponsorship Policy
New and emerging arts organizations are eligible to apply with a fiscal sponsor (agent) in Program Support at the $5,000 and $3,000 grant levels.

For more detailed information about fiscal sponsorship, please see the RAC Grants Information Guide.


Grant Schedule

Grant Cycle: July 01, 2019 – June 30, 2020 (proposed programs must occur between these dates)

Grant Application Review Period: November 2018 – May 2019

Grant Seekers Information Workshop (Two Sessions): 

Pre-Application Available at Monday, November 05, 2018

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

Notification of Eligibility via Email: Thursday, December 20, 2018

Full Application Available at Thursday, December 20, 2018

Application Writing Workshop (4 sessions):

Advance Review Submission Deadline: Thursday, January 17, 2019

   Only 100% completed applications will be reviewed.

Final Application Deadline: Thursday, February 07, 2019 at 11:59 p.m.

Program Support Panel Meetings: March 19 through April 5

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

Full Commission Vote on Awards: Thursday, May 9, 2019

Award Announcements: Wednesday, May 22, 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. In this category, a 2+ is the minimum rating that will be considered for funding. Available funds vary and a rating of 2+ or higher is no guarantee of funding. Each organization will receive a 10% reduction from the maximum funding level for each step down in rating.

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

Grant Review Criteria

A Program Support applicant receiving the highest ratings will share the following characteristics:

Note: Organizations applying in the Program Support categories vary considerably. Therefore, the rating of the applications is done in consideration of the appropriateness of the criteria relative to the size, budget and organizational capacity of the organizations.

Artistic Merit and Quality of Programs

  • Strong artistic vision and leadership
  • Engages and compensates qualified and experienced artists
  • Distinctive and unique programming that enriches cultural offerings and/or preserves cultural traditions in St. Louis
  • A loyal audience base that is reflected by attendance numbers, community support and ticket sales (if applicable)
  • High quality program(s) demonstrated through support materials including artist bios, printed programs, marketing materials, reviews and coverage in local media (if applicable)
  • Ongoing commitment to evaluation of past programming, setting goals and improving the quality of the program

Community Benefit

  • Demonstrates that the organization understands, works with and serves its defined community/audience and uses its knowledge to inform programming decisions
  • Determines community and audience relevance, interests and needs through interaction with audiences, surveys (if applicable) and/or other basic evaluation tools
  • Diversity of individuals involved in the program (strategies may include intentional outreach strategies and/or partnerships or collaborations with diverse groups)
  • Increases access to the arts (may include community and/or neighborhood-based programming that is open to the public, providing access for people with disabilities, reaching underserved populations, ticket discount policies, etc.)
  • Contributes to vibrant and lively neighborhoods or communities 

Organizational Capacity

  • Experienced administrative staff and/or volunteers to implement the project
  • An engaged and diverse board of directors that contributes financially to the organization
  • History of a successful arts and culture program(s) and a clear plan to implement the project
  • Regular short and long-term planning for the program and organization (if appropriate)
  • A project budget that is realistic, appropriate to the scope of the project and that reflects a diversity of funding sources
  • Implements appropriate marketing efforts for the program
  • Effective management of past RAC grant(s)

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


How to Apply for this Grant

The Program Support application review process begins in November 2018 and ends in May 2019. This process has several steps:

  • Applicants must first submit a pre-application. The Program Support pre-application will be available through November 5, 2018, and is due December 13, 2018.
  • Eligible organizations will be notified on December 20, 2018, and invited to submit a full application on December 20, 2018.
  • Application-writing workshops will be held in January 2019.
  • Applications are due Thursday, February 7, 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 about May 22, 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 Program Support application, please contact Jess Longueville via email.