Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)

Frequently Asked Questions

I am an individual artist or humanities scholar.  Am I eligible for a grant?

Our Grants to Individual Artists and Scholars are available for individual artists and humanities scholars. To be eligible, you must be a resident of Montgomery County for at least the past 12 months and be at least 21 years old.  You also must be a practicing artist or scholar with demonstrated ability in the art or humanities discipline of your proposed project.  You may also be an individual or a group of individuals who have a history of working together or collaborating on projects, such as a musical ensemble. 

We also offer individuals and groups of individuals who work together the opportunity to be listed on our Artists and Scholars Roster for Community Programs.  This Roster is available online for any organization to use to book a performance, presentation or workshop at their venue.  Applicants for the Roster do not need to be based in Montgomery County, but must be available for bookings in the County.  To be included on the Roster, you must apply and have your materials evaluated by a review panel.  To see the current Roster, click here.  For more information about the requirements, go to Overview for Individuals or see the guidelines for the Artists and Scholars Roster for Community Programs.  In addition, grants are available to qualified community-based organizations located in Montgomery County that serve underserved populations to book artists and scholars who are listed on the Roster.  (See Overview for Community Organizations.)

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We are a group or organization.  Are we eligible for a grant?

We offer grants to groups and organizations based in Montgomery County and serving the residents of the County.  Several types of organizations are eligible, as follows:

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations whose primary mission is related to an arts or humanities discipline, such as a theater, an orchestra or a historical society.  For more information, please see Overview for Arts and Humanities Organizations.
  • Groups of affiliated individual artists or scholars who regularly work together but are not incorporated.  For more information, please see Overview for Individuals.
  • Community-based organizations that serve underserved populations, such as senior living facilities and programs for at-risk children.  For more information, please see Overview for Community Organizations.

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If I want a grant, how do I get started?

Read the overview page and see if one of the categories seems to meet your situation.  Consult the grant guidelines that appear to fit your needs.

Think about the following questions:

  1. Do I (we) meet the eligibility requirements for the grant?
  2. Does my project or program appear to be eligible for funding?
  3. Do I have all of the materials that are required to be submitted or can I get them assembled in time to apply?

If you are uncertain about the answers to any of these questions, or would like to discuss your potential for a grant with a staff member, please do not hesitate to call our grants staff at 301-565-3805. 

Further information and assistance are available at our grant preparation workshops.  Workshops are scheduled prior to the deadline of each specific grant category.  At these workshops, staff will explain how to fill out the application and how your application will be evaluated.

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When are grant applications due?

All AHCMC grants applications must be submitted online. Please consult the guidelines for the grant for which you are applying to verify the date and time that your application is due.
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Is it okay to call your office with questions?

Our grants staff is happy to answer any question, no matter how small.  We realize that you may be applying for a grant for the very first time.  And even if you have applied for grants before, different questions arise every time.  Please call 301-565-3805 and ask to speak to a staff person with regard to grants.  

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How much money is available for grants?

Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) is fortunate to receive regular annual funding from the Montgomery County government for grants.  The amount we receive varies each year depending on the availability of funds in the County budget.  However, we are very fortunate that our elected officials generously support our grants program. In each grant category, we have sufficient funds to make a significant number of grants in proportion to the number of applications.  Typically, we fund from 40 to 60 percent of the applications that are submitted, although many are not funded for the total amount requested.

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How do you decide which applications to fund?

The staff convenes a group of people with experience and expertise in the field to review the applications. This group of people is referred to as the grants review panel.  A separate review panel is organized for each type of grant.  The panels usually consist of four or five people.  When they meet, they review the applications based on the evaluation criteria listed in the grant guidelines.  The panel scores each application and then agrees on a score below which they recommend no funding.  

Panel meetings are open to the public.  Applicants are notified by e-mail of the date of the panel meeting during which their applications will be considered.  You also may call the office (301-565-3805) to inquire about panel meeting dates.

The staff considers the panel scores and the amount of funds available and develops funding recommendations.  These recommendations are sent to AHCMC’s Grants Committee that is made up of members of AHCMC’s Board of Directors and members of the community who have grants experience in a variety of fields.  The Grants Committee reviews the staff’s recommendations and evaluates them.  They then approve these recommendations, or approve them with modifications, and send their action forward to AHCMC’s Board of Directors for final approval of the grants.

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What are my chances of receiving a grant?

Your chances of receiving a grant depend on several factors.  One factor is the level of competition – that is, how many other applications there are. Obviously, this is a factor you can’t control. You can control, however, the following factors:

  1. The quality of the outcome of the proposal:  Are you proposing a high quality program or project?  The quality of the anticipated results of your proposal, whether a performance, an exhibition, a research study, a piece of equipment, or any other purpose, must meet the standards of quality for the outcome of the grant as expressed in the grant guidelines.
  2. The organization, clarity and completeness of the proposal:  Have you followed the instructions?  Answered all of the questions completely?  Written your answers clearly so that the reviewers can understand what you are proposing?  Submitted all of the required materials?  Formatted your application as required?  Paying attention to these basic requirements will enhance your chances of getting your grant funded.
  3. The reality of the proposal:  Are you proposing to do far more than you or your group appears capable of doing?  Are you requesting a large amount of money for what appears to be a small project?  Are your plans vague or unclear?  The reviewers are not looking for grand plans – they are looking for realistic ways in which to support, present and understand the arts and humanities in our community.

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How long does it take to find out if I have received a grant?

With a few exceptions, AHCMC offers grants twice a year with deadlines in the spring and the fall and decisions in June and December.

Spring deadlines occur in February, March and April.  These applications are approved and announced in June.  These grants must be used during AHCMC’s fiscal year which runs from July 1 of the year in which the decision is made through June 30 of the next year.

Fall deadlines occur in Septembe