Advancement Grants

Advancement Grants (AG) are available to non-profit arts and/or humanities organizations located in Montgomery County, MD that have had both allowable annual cash operating revenue and expenses of at least $50,000 for the last three completed fiscal years. Grant awards support capacity-building projects for organizations that work in a wide array of arts and humanities disciplines including performing arts, media arts, visual arts, literary arts, and folk and traditional arts, history, and philosophy. Grants for FY23 will be awarded for activities occurring between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023.

Award amounts range from at least $10,000 up to $100,000. Requests over $25,000 require the applicant to submit an audit or financial review for the most recently completed fiscal year. Requests over $50,000 require the applicant to submit an audit for the most recently completed fiscal year.

By awarding Advancement Grants, the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) seeks to:

  • Assist arts and humanities organizations in maintaining fiscal stability and long-term viability;
  • Support arts and humanities organizations in their long-term planning, planning for capital improvement projects, emergency preparedness planning, and/or technology improvements critical to their mission; and
  • Encourage the use of intentional strategies for achieving Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA) in the field.
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      Important Dates

      Application Deadline
      Friday, February 11, 2022 - 11:59 pm


      Karen Judson
      Grants Program Manager
      (301) 565-3804
      Ana-Alicia Feng
      Grants Program Assistant Manager
      (301) 565-3805 x21
      Dorotea Racz
      Grants Program Coordinator
      (301) 565-3805 ext. 20
      Takenya LaViscount
      Grants Director
      (240) 839-4519
      Dates + Deadlines

      FY23 Important Dates

      • Guidelines Published – Wednesday, December 22, 2021
      • Application Deadline – Friday, February 11, 2022 at 11:59 p.m.

      New applicants are highly encouraged to contact AHCMC grants staff. All applications and relevant materials must be submitted online through AHCMC’s grants portal, SurveyMonkey Apply (SM Apply).

      Late applications and relevant materials will not be accepted.

      Additional Dates Post-Application

      • Panel Review (virtual) – April 2022
      • June 1, 2022 – FY21 990 and FY21 audit/financial review, if applicable, due
      • Award Announcement – late June 2022
      • FY23 Mid-Year Report Due – January 31, 2023
      • FY23 Final Report Due – July 31, 2023


      • Wednesday, January 19, 2022 from 2:00 – 3:30 p.m.
      • Tuesday, January 25, 2022 from 4:00 – 5:30 p.m.
      • These events have passed.

          All AHCMC webinars will be hosted through the Zoom platform. Go to our Workshops & Webinars page to see upcoming workshops and webinars for all open grant categories.

          Webinars allow grant-seekers to ask AHCMC grants staff specific questions about the grant guidelines, application, and online grants portal.

          At every webinar, grants staff will review major eligibility requirements, present an overview of the grant category, and offer technical assistance for both the application process and the online grants portal.

          Guidelines + Eligibility


          Required Application Materials:

          1. Completed Narrative
          2. Organizational Support Materials
            • IRS Letter of Determination;
            • List of Board of Directors;
            • Bios of key staff and volunteers;
            • Current Strategic plan, if available; and
            • Organizational Chart, if available.
          3. Project Support Materials
          4. Financial Support Materials
            • FY21 990 or letter of extension (must be received by AHCMC no later than June 1, 2022);
            • FY21 audit or financial review, or letter of extension, if applicable (audit/financial review must be received by AHCMC no later than June 1, 2022);
            • Profit & Loss Statement for the most recently completed fiscal year;
            • Balance Sheet for the most recently completed fiscal year;
            • Current fiscal year operating budget with actuals year-to-date
            • AHCMC Budget Worksheet;
            • Projected FY23 budget, if available.
          5. Programming Support Materials
          6. Work Sample(s)

          Information about Audits and Financial Reviews

          An audit is conducted by an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA) not employed by the organization and provides an unbiased opinion regarding the organization’s financial statements. The auditor conducts their examination in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). An audit requires a much higher level of scrutiny and analysis as compared to a financial review.

          A financial review is also conducted by an independent CPA and provides assurance that the organization’s financial statements are materially accurate. However, as a financial review is more limited in scope than an audit, the assurance is more limited.

            Eligibility Requirements

            Read the guidelines for full eligibility requirements. An organization eligible to apply has to have met ALL the following criteria by the published application deadline and for the last three completed and consecutive fiscal years:

            • Has its primary mission as the exhibition, presentation, production and/or performance of, and/or education in, an arts and/or humanities discipline, and/or provides support services to artists and/or scholars and/or arts and/or humanities organizations;
            • Has its primary office in Montgomery County, MD, as demonstrated by the address included in the IRS Letter of Determination;
            • Has a balanced budget and documented allowable annual cash operating revenue and expenses of no less than $50,000;
            • Demonstrates 501(c)(3) status as described on page 4 of the FY23AG guidelines;
            • Is governed by an independent, legally liable Board of Directors operating under a mission statement for the organization and an operating budget specific to the organization;
            • At least 40% of its Board members reside and/or work in Montgomery County, MD;
            • At least one paid employee (not contracted staff) works a minimum of 5 hours a week (or 20 hours a week for grant requests over $25,000) to support the organization’s board, comply with the grant requirements, and maintain ongoing programming;
            • Offers at least 51% of its programs and services in Montgomery County, MD, as demonstrated by previous, current, and projected activities and programming. Activities may be open to the public, with or without an admission fee, in person or virtually. In person activities must follow current COVID-19 guidelines as required by the Montgomery County Health Department; and
            • Has met all outstanding requirements for any grant(s) received from the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County in prior years.

            Project Eligibility Requirements

            Eligible activities must:

            • Take place between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023;
            • Take place in Montgomery County, MD;
            • Contribute to the applicant’s fiscal stability and/or long-term viability;
            • Address long-term planning, planning for capital improvement projects, emergency preparedness planning, and/or technology improvements critical to an applicant’s arts or humanities mission; and
            • Heighten the applicant’s ability to provide services that directly benefit Montgomery County constituents.
            Application + Templates

            Ready to apply? Click here to access the SM Apply portal.

            Applicants are highly encouraged to use the application templates to prepare the narrative and supplementary materials.

            Previous Grants Awarded

            FY22 Advancement Grants (AG)

            $236,948 awarded for July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

            Advancement Grants provide support in attaining fiscal stability and long-term viability for arts and/or humanities organizations located in Montgomery County, MD that have had both allowable annual cash revenue and expenses of at least $50,000 for the last three completed fiscal years. Grants support long-term planning and technology improvements critical to an organization’s arts and/or humanities mission. 8 organizations received FY22 awards within this category.

            Click here to review grants awarded for Advancement Grants from previous fiscal years, and all grants awarded from our other grants categories.

            Adventure Theatre, Inc., dba Adventure Theatre MTC

            Glen Echo, Maryland ($63,863)

            Adventure Theatre will use a portion of the funds to overhaul its sound and projection systems. Both systems are well beyond their useful life and are failing regularly; new and upgraded sound and projection will improve the quality and experience for patrons. An investment in reliable pianos and speakers for Academy training will provide the level of musical support required to maintain excellence for students in theatre classes. Finally, a portion will fund a new strategic plan to provide a solid roadmap for Adventure Theatre in the post-COVID world.

            Artpreneurs, Inc., dba Arts on the Block

            Silver Spring, Maryland ($52,500)

            Arts on the Block (AOB) will use grants funds for three initiatives: Racial Equity, Human Resources, and IT. A Racial Equity facilitator will provide racial equity training to the board, staff, program participants, and families. AOB will work with HR consultants to create a new Community Handbook and improve their human resources processes. AOB will also work with IT consultants to acquire data and use technology in alignment with their socially inclusive, equitable values.

            Arts for the Aging, Inc.

            Rockville, Maryland ($12,100)

            Arts for the Aging’s (AFTA) project entails updating, coordinating support for, and executing a new Communications Plan that is comprehensive, pandemic resilient, and more inclusive. AFTA will: review and update their 2019 Communications Plan for a post-pandemic landscape based on consultant expertise; meet the increased need for strong digital communications due to the pandemic; assess and revise all communications through the lens of equity, diversity, and inclusion; provide professional development for a new full-time Fundraising and Communications Coordinator, and1` engage stakeholders through strategic communications to build pandemic-resilient programs.

            ArtStream, Inc.

            Chevy Chase, Maryland ($35,000)

            To position ArtStream in a post-pandemic world, grant funds will be used to support a transition to hybrid in-person/remote programming via the crafting of a new strategic plan. The plan will be informed by extensive research on COVID’s long-term impact on arts and disability organizations. The project incorporates a thorough assessment of the best ways to mobilize virtual and in-person engagement, including how widespread vaccinations will affect the ability to gather safely for high-risk constituencies. The hybridization of their operations will enable ArtStream to expand their programming options, as well as welcome an even more diverse staff, constituency, and audience.

            Dance Exchange, Inc.

            Takoma Park, Maryland ($17,500)

            Dance Exchange will complete a Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility Audit of the organization. With support from a racial equity firm, legal consultants, and accessibility experts, Dance Exchange will: work towards goals outlined by their Racial Equity Board Committee and establish a BIPOC Advisory Committee; revise bylaws and governance practices to be more in line with the organization’s current goals, mission, and vision; and begin accessibility upgrades to their website. Dance Exchange will identify ways to adapt and update all virtual and in-person programming to align with accessibility needs.

            Imagination Stage, Inc.

            Bethesda, Maryland ($10,260)

            Grant funds will be used to assist Imagination Stage (IStage) in strengthening its long-term viability and meet its mission of reaching young people by investing in technology improvements that are critical to delivering programs. IStage will replace its aging and inadequate supply of computers for full-time staff. This update is crucial to ensure employees have the tools to complete the tasks necessary to plan, implement, and manage programming and operations.

            Montgomery County Historical Society, dba Montgomery History

            Rockville, Maryland ($25,550)

            This project will create a new website to host Montgomery History’s multifaceted online programs and services. Funds will be used to create a fully functional site with cohesive, sleek graphics; new backend code with responsive design for multiple devices; and digital ADA compliance. The site is the central hub of Montgomery History’s digital ecosystem. It will result in an online presence that increases access to local history.

            Sandy Spring Museum, Inc., dba Sandy Spring Museum

            Sandy Spring, Maryland ($20,175)

            Sandy Spring Museum will use the funding for the creation of a Digital Folklife Lab (DFL), a suite of digital audio, photo, and video equipment, to be housed at the Museum. The Lab will serve three purposes: 1) to build the digital capacities of Montgomery County’s traditional artists; 2) to build the Museum’s capacity for hosting digital programs in partnership with traditional artists, and 3) to digitally document the cultural traditions of Montgomery County. The project will fund training for Museum staff and traditional artists to use the DFL, a pilot program to test the system, and a marketing campaign to raise awareness about this resource.

            FY22 Grantees

            The FY22 AG cycle runs from July 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022.

            Important Dates Post-Application

            • Final Report – July 31, 2022

            For current FY22 grantees, all mid-year and final reports must be completed online through AHCMC’s grants portal, SurveyMonkey Apply (SM Apply). Access SM Apply here:

            Need to make changes to your project? Fill out a grant change request form, available on our resources page: