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.

The FY23 AG application deadline has passed. Sign up to the Grants Newsletter to receive updates about FY23 and other grant opportunities!

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      Important Dates

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

      Questions?

      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
      Webinars

      Webinars

      • 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

          Guidelines


          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

            This application deadline has passed.

            Applicants are highly encouraged to use the application templates to prepare the narrative and supplementary materials. Need to review or download your application? Access SurveyMonkey Apply (SM Apply) here: https://artsandhumanities.smapply.io/

            Previous Grants Awarded

            FY23 Advancement Grants (AG)

            $336,803 awarded for July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023

            Advancement Grants provide support to non-profit 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 organizations in attaining fiscal stability and long-term viability, including long-term planning and technology improvements critical to an organization’s arts and/or humanities mission. Twelve organizations received FY23 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 ($9,000)

            Adventure Theatre MTC will enlist an outside firm to revamp the organization’s strategic plan, last updated in 2015.

            After School Dance Fund

            Silver Spring, Maryland ($15,500)

            After School Dance Fund (ASDF) will hire a consultant to guide it through a strategic planning and capacity building project, including Board training, management and fundraising workshops, selected stakeholder interviews, strategic visioning sessions, and a framework for a 3-year strategic plan. The consultant will also help ASDF formalize several of its strategic partnerships.

            Clancy Works, Inc., dba ClancyWorks Dance Company

            Silver Spring, Maryland ($30,000)

            Funds will support the digitization, cataloging, and preservation of the ClancyWorks Video Archive, including 20+ years of organizational knowledge, with the goal of enhancing their website to host the digitized video archive for use in their online programs.

            Dance Exchange, Inc.

            Takoma Park, Maryland ($28,130)

            Dance Exchange (DX) is committed to becoming a multicultural antiracist organization. DX will use funding to clarify the scope of its equity audit. Moving from a developmental phase into an activation phase that centers the organization’s DEIA priorities, DX will facilitate its equity audit through partnerships, deep listening, examination, revision, evaluation, and measurement.

            Docs In Progress, Inc.

            Silver Spring, Maryland ($11,050)

            Docs In Progress has launched two new, transformative initiatives: an incubator project for filmmakers with disabilities and an expansion of their education program. The requested equipment is essential in reaching underserved and long-ignored populations. Docs in Progress will be able to teach more students, offer advanced education classes in an accessible setting, as well as provide certified training not readily available in Montgomery County but a workforce requirement by area media companies.

            MOCO Kidsco, Inc., dba KID Museum

            Bethesda, Maryland ($49,600)

            The project supports the creation of a Design & Fabrication Studio, a physical space where the designing, prototyping, and building of KID Museum’s programs and exhibits takes place. KID Museum programs include workshops, interactive exhibits, and large-scale collaborative experiences that require planning and significant space to fabricate. The Studio provides the space, tools, and equipment for KID Museum staff to engage the community in the creation of unique, maker learning experiences.

            National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale of Montgomery County Inc., dba National Philharmonic

            North Bethesda, Maryland ($25,260)

            National Philharmonic (NatPhil) is in the early stages of their racial equity journey to become a multicultural, anti-racist arts and cultural organization. Funding will provide support for their administrative and artistic teams to engage in comprehensive formal training and coaching in advancing racial equity.

            New Orchestra of Washington, Inc.

            Rockville, Maryland ($10,755)

            New Orchestra of Washington (NOW) will work with a digital marketing consultant to develop and expand its digital presence, utilizing digital tools to reach a wider audience. The main objectives are to increase NOW’s visibility to potential arts consumers in Montgomery County and acquire the tools, systems, and skills to benchmark progress toward audience-building goals and increased community responsiveness.

            Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation, Ltd.

            Rockville, Maryland ($10,000)

            Funds will support a project to contract with a Collections Technician who will assess Peerless Rockville’s collection of physical artifacts and determine what items should be prioritized for digitization, as well as digitize these items for public access on Peerless Rockville’s website. The project will make the collection more accessible to the public, expand onsite offerings to better meet the needs of visitors, and enable Peerless Rockville to create digital exhibits of their resources.

            Round House Theatre, Inc., dba Round House Theatre

            Bethesda, Maryland ($44,780)

            Round House Theatre will consult with TRG Arts to develop organization-specific capacity building strategies through the 21st Century Adaptive Capacity Building Consultancy. Grant funds will support ongoing consulting services over a period of 12months as Round House works to implement strategies designed to respond to internal and external challenges in a sustainable, mission-based manner. These strategies will center on demand management, audience development, and organizational capability.

            Story Tapestries, Inc.

            Poolesville, Maryland ($21,698)

            Recognizing the importance of the quality of communication, Story Tapestries (ST) will develop their capacity to reach a wider audience following strategies designed to maximize equity, inclusion, and accessibility. Experts in marketing, public relations, and Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) will provide training, services, and guidance to heighten awareness of ST’s mission and allow ST to connect more deeply with a growing audience base.

            Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc.

            North Bethesda, Maryland ($36,530)

            Strathmore is requesting funding to purchase audio and visual equipment to reduce their reliance on and ongoing expense of audio and video rental equipment. These items are vital in the presenting and producing of their mission-based and educational programs and will meet the touring needs of artists visiting their stage. Funds saved by not repeatedly renting equipment will allow Strathmore to focus these resources on other crucial programming needs.

            The Writer’s Center

            Bethesda, Maryland ($19,500)

            Funds will be used to revamp The Writer Center’s (TWC) website. On the public-facing side, their website will become more accessible, nimble, welcoming, user-friendly, and responsive to multiple devices. On the back end, increased automation of workshop and event registration will improve the user experience, while reducing staff workload and, by minimizing manual tasks, lowering the risk of human error.

            Young Artists of America, Inc., dba Young Artists of America

            North Bethesda, Maryland ($24,000)

            Young Artists of America (YAA) is seeking funding to research and create a Master Community Engagement and Recruiting Plan, with a focus on developing school and community relationships in under-resourced communities that will help connect YAA with young, talented, and committed aspiring performing artists from all corners of Montgomery County.

            FY22 Grantees

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

            Important Dates Post-Application

            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: https://artsandhumanities.smapply.io/

            Need to make changes to your project? Fill out a grant change request form, available on our resources page: https://www.creativemoco.com/find-opportunities/resources/