Colleagues, As announced in December, Governor Mike DeWine and the Ohio legislature have approved $50 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) arts funding for certain nonprofit performing arts organizations and cultural arts museums. We have important information to share for those interested in this one-time opportunity. As is the case in other states managing similar ARPA funds, this grant program will be administered by our sister agency and partners at the Ohio Department of Development. The Ohio Department of Development has released guidelines for this funding, now titled the Ohio Arts Economic Relief Grant Program. Program guidelines and an application guide are available online. NEW (updated 3/3): The application is now available for review and data entry. Submission will open later on Thursday, March 16 at 10 a.m. Funds will be first-come, first-served, so be prepared to submit! Unlike with OAC applications, there will not be a "cure" or "remedy" period to change your application after submission, so get started now to be sure your application is accurate. To begin your application, you will need to review the Department of Development's application procedures and then create a login . Applications will close Friday, March 31 at 4 p.m. Full information can be found at development.ohio.gov/business/state-incentives/artsgrant . To get ready, below are actions you can take now, so that you can be prepared: Review the program guidelines and the application guide . The guidelines provide an overview of the grant opportunity, and the application guide details the information you will be required to submit when the application opens. As you review the guidelines and application guide, take notes, and begin gathering all of the documents you will need for your application. Fairly extensive financial and other documentation is required of all applicants. Register to receive email updates specific to this funding opportunity from the Ohio Department of Development at public.govdelivery.com/accounts/OHDOD/signup/35749 NEW (updated 3/3) : View a recording of the Department of Development's webinar to explain the program. (Recording is still pending.) NEW (updated 2/24, 3/3) : Review the application procedures and then create a login to view the application and begin entering your date. You will be able to save data you enter now, but submission will not be possible until Thursday, March 16 at 10 a.m. Because applications are first-come, first-served, we would encourage you to enter and save data now so you are ready to submit application as soon as it is possible. Unlike with OAC applications, there will not be a "cure" or "remedy" period to change your application after submission, so get started now to be sure your application is accurate. Applications will close Friday, March 31 at 4 p.m. We know you may have questions even after taking these steps. The Department of Development has established a dedicated email address that will be staffed to address your questions, so please email email@example.com directly with any specific questions. In addition, the OAC has prepared a preliminary Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document below to provide context and help guide you. It will be updated as needed. As always, on behalf of the nonprofit arts sector, I am grateful for your leadership and your conversations with elected officials to make this funding a reality. I know these efforts aren’t new – they have been years, often decades, in the making, thanks to your relationships with policymakers at all levels of government. Your work has maintained Ohio’s long-held reputation as one of the best regarded states for consistent, balanced public funding for the arts. It is thanks to the high-quality arts programming, learning opportunities, and cultural experiences you provide that the arts in Ohio will stay strong and prosper, now and in the future. OAC Grant Opportunities and State Budget Update Separate from this opportunity through the Department of Development, please remember that several OAC grant programs have upcoming deadlines. This includes one of our major project-based programs—ArtSTART. Visit www.oac.ohio.gov/grants to learn more about these grants and additional funding opportunities from the OAC. Our professional staff is always at the ready to help you submit and strengthen your funding applications. Lastly, as I write this, the OAC’s FY 2024-2025 grantmaking budget is under consideration by the state legislature, starting with the Ohio House of Representatives. The OAC has asked for an additional $10.6 million in grant funding, seeking a new record high in public funding for the arts that would build on our current record high appropriation of $40 million. You helped us achieve these goals and now we hope you will keep OAC arts funding and Ohio’s cultural communities strong. Thanks for all you do! Until next time, Donna S. Collins Executive Director Frequently Asked Questions – Ohio Arts Economic Relief Grant Program ($50 Million American Rescue Plan Act/ARPA Funding through the Ohio Department of Development) Q: Where can I view the program guidelines? A: The program guidelines are available online . Q: What will I need to apply? A: The Department of Development has created an application guide that details the information needed to apply . NEW Q (updated 3/3): What is the submission period and deadline? A: Funding is first-come, first-served, so be prepared to apply as soon as the application opens. Applications will open Thursday, March 16 at 10 a.m. and close Friday, March 31 at 4 p.m. NEW (updated 2/24): On February 24, the application became available for review and data entry, although submission will not be possible until applications open on March 16. Unlike with OAC applications, there will not be a "cure" or "remedy" period to change your application after submission, so get started now to be sure your application is accurate. To begin your application, you will need to review the Department of Development's application procedures and then create a login . Q: Can I start my application now? A: Yes. You will be able to enter data into your application and save it, but not submit it until Thursday, March 16 at 10 a.m.. We encourage you to do so because the program is first-come, first-served, so that you are ready to submit your application as soon as possible. Q: What resources are available to learn more? A: View the Ohio Department of Development’s dedicated web page to the program, and sign up for email updates from the Ohio Department of Development to learn more. View a recording of the Ohio Department of Development's webinar to learn more. (Recording link pending.) Q: I’m not sure if my organization is eligible. Should my organization apply? A: The Ohio Department of Development has recommended all interested nonprofit organizations apply for this one-time funding opportunity, regardless of your perceived eligibility, just to be sure you do not miss a chance to be considered for funding. Q: Does my organization need to be a paid member of an advocacy coalition to be eligible for these funds? A: No. Membership in any advocacy or lobbying organization has no bearing on any organization’s eligibility status for funding. Q: Our organization received CARES Act funding from the OAC in late 2020/early 2021. Is my organization eligible? A: The legislation that provides this funding opportunity specifies that priority must be given to organizations who did not receive CARES Act funding from the OAC. Important Note: it is possible funds will remain after priority applications are processed, so you are encouraged to apply even if you received OAC CARES Act funding. Q: I’m uncertain whether or not my organization received CARES Act funds from the OAC in 2020/2021. How can I check? A: A list of the nearly 300 organizations who received OAC CARES Act funding is available online . Q: Our organization received CARES Act funding from a different source other than the OAC. Is my organization eligible for these funds? (Updated) A: Your organization’s receipt of other non-OAC COVID-related funding (CARES, ARPA) will have no bearing on its eligibility for these funds. It may be counted as part of your budget, however. Organizations who received CARES Act funding from federal sources, from local or county sources, or from other state agencies (such as the Ohio Humanities Council) will be considered for high priority funding, and should make plans to apply at the earliest opportunity. As stated previously, the legislation that provides this funding opportunity specifies that priority must be given to organizations who did not receive CARES Act funding from the OAC specifically, but it is possible funds will remain after priority applications are processed, so you are encouraged to apply even if you received OAC CARES Act funding. Q: Our organization is a current OAC grantee. Is my organization eligible? A: Being a current OAC grantee has no impact on your eligibility for this one-time program. Q: I am not certain my organization will be considered a nonprofit Performing Arts Organization or a Cultural Arts Museum according to the program’s definitions, but we do conduct arts activities in our community (e.g., provide arts-related services, work with artists, offer arts education, etc.) Am I eligible? A: The Ohio Arts Council was not involved in the decision to include or exclude any part of the arts and cultural community. While the OAC is supportive and grateful that nonprofit arts organizations will benefit from this arts relief, the OAC did not have input on crafting this funding opportunity legislation. After the legislation was passed, the OAC consulted and partnered with appropriate parties at the Ohio Department of Development and the Ohio General Assembly to bring awareness to any real or perceived barriers to eligibility. While understanding and sympathetic, the Ohio Department of Development will be bound by state law on administering this program and will ultimately make funding decisions. The Ohio Department of Development has recommended all interested nonprofit organizations apply for this one-time funding opportunity, regardless of perceived eligibility, just to be sure you do not miss a chance to be considered for funding. OAC and Development staff have worked closely together, and consulted with the Ohio General Assembly, since the legislation’s adoption to try to overcome various logistical and eligibility hurdles inherent in the law authorizing the program, but some nonprofit arts and cultural organizations may be unable to access these funds at this time. Q: My organization does not have an audit. Is my organization eligible? (Updated 3/3) A: Although state law initially required an audit for program eligibility, it is almost certain that this requirement will be removed before applications open for submission. Accordingly, at present, even if your organization does not conduct a formal audit, it is encouraged to apply for this funding opportunity. We anticipate that the final application will ask whether organizations perform an audit as a simple “yes/no” question and allow them to apply regardless. Because awards are first-come, first-served, it remains better to apply early. After the initial legislation created the program, the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives later approved legislation that removes the audit requirement. To ultimately become law, the Governor of Ohio must sign or allow the law to be enacted, which is expected very soon. The Ohio Arts Council deeply thanks state lawmakers for hearing the arts sector’s concerns on addressing this barrier, as we estimate hundreds of otherwise-eligible arts nonprofits cannot meet this requirement. Since last year, the OAC has been in touch with the Ohio General Assembly and worked with our sister agency to relay concerns expressed by constituents and find a solution. The OAC, together with its expert outside panelists and board, understands that nonprofit organizations of all budget sizes do excellent work and exhibit exemplary fiscal stewardship without a formal audit, which is why for many years audits have only been an eligibility requirement for our largest and most financially complex applicants. Again, the OAC greatly appreciates the Ohio legislature's action. We look forward to a final resolution in coming days. Q: If my organization is not eligible for this round of the Department of Development’s Ohio Arts Economic Relief Grant Program, or misses the stated deadline, can it just apply at a future deadline? A: No, not at this time. It is our understanding that these are one-time grants that will not be offered again. However, the Ohio Arts Council has offered ongoing support for Ohio’s arts and cultural community for more than 50 years, including more than $19 million in grants in each of the last two years, and more than $16 million in grants in each of the two years before that. Ohio has long offered robust, flexible, and accessible public funding to artists and arts organizations via the OAC, which regularly funds organizations of all sizes and genres in each of Ohio’s 88 counties. To learn more about how to apply to regular OAC programs, visit oac.ohio.gov/grants . Q: I have specific policy questions (e.g., What is the maximum grant? How are grants calculated? What documents do I need to gather? What expenses are covered by the grant?) Where can I find answers? A: The OAC recommends you consult the Ohio Department of Development’s guidelines and application guide first. This is your primary source for understanding the program. If questions remain, you should contact Ohio Department of Development staff directly at firstname.lastname@example.org . Q: Where can I view the exact text of the legislation that created this program? A: The text of the legislation is available online. Q: I have a question that was not addressed here. Where do I go for help? A: Please contact the Ohio Department of Development staff directly at email@example.com .