General Operating Support II

General Operating Support II Grants (GOS II) are available to non-profit arts and/or humanities organizations located in Montgomery County, MD that have had both cash operating expenses and revenue of at least $150,000 for the last three completed fiscal years. FY21-22 grants will be awarded for activities occurring from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2022.

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

  • Encourage organizations to maintain an active, two-way, ongoing relationship with the community in the planning, participation, and evaluation of public activities, which include intentional strategies for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access (DEIA);
  • Promote stability in arts and humanities organizations by providing a base of funding to support operating budgets;
  • Help ensure diverse arts and humanities experiences for constituents of Montgomery County, MD;
  • Stimulate local support and involvement in the arts and humanities, including volunteer participation, audience development, and financial contributions;
  • Strengthen the scholarly and artistic capabilities of arts and humanities organizations; and
  • Improve and/or stabilize the management infrastructure and effectiveness of arts and humanities organizations.

We are no longer accepting applications for FY21-22 GOS II Grants. Sign up for the Grants Newsletter below to receive updates about the FY23 grants cycle, other grant opportunities, deadlines, and webinars!

    Back to Grants Homepage

    Important Dates

    Letter of Intent Deadline
    Friday, February 14, 2020 - 11:59 pm
    Application Deadline
    Friday, March 20, 2020 - 11:59 pm


    Karen Judson
    Grants Program Manager
    (301) 565-3804
    Takenya LaViscount
    Grants Director
    (240) 839-4519
    Dates + Deadlines

    FY21 Important Dates

    • Guidelines Published – Monday, December 23, 2019
    • Letter of Intent Deadline – Friday, February 14, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
    • Application DeadlineFriday, March 13, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
      • DEADLINE EXTENDED: Friday, March 20, 2020 at 11:59 p.m.
      • The FY21-22 submission deadline has passed

    First-time applicants are highly encouraged to contact AHCMC grants staff. All Letters of Intent, applications, and relevant materials must be submitted online through AHCMC’s grants portal.

    Late letters of intent, applications, and relevant materials will not be accepted.

    Additional Dates Post-Application

    • Panel Review (virtual)
      • Friday, April 24, 2020 from 9:30 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.
      • This event has passed.
    • Award Announcement – late June 2020
    • FY21 Mid-Year Report January 31, 2021
      • Deadline Extended to February 22, 2021 at 11.:59 p.m.
    • June 1, 2021 – FY20 990, FY20 audit, AHCMC Reporting Data, AHCMC Budget Worksheet
      • Deadline Extended to June 30, 2021 at 11.:59 p.m.
    • FY21 Final Report – July 31, 2021
    • FY22 Mid-Year Report – January 31, 2022
    • FY22 Final Report – July 31, 2022

    All reports must be submitted online through SM Apply. A link for SM Apply will be available soon in January 2021.

    Workshops & Webinars

    Workshops at AHCMC

    • Wednesday, February 5, 2020 from 4:00 – 5:00 p.m.
    • This event has passed


    • Monday, February 10, 2020 from 3:00 -4:00 p.m.
    • This event has 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.


    Frequently Asked Questions for GOS II Grants

    How does an organization determine whether it makes GOS I or GOS II is a better fit?

    When determining which funding opportunity is most appropriate, applicants should consider which category will allow the organization to grow in a healthy manner, strengthen sustainability, and create strong partnerships in the community. GOS II is a highly competitive and rigorous category. Rather than focusing on the grant award, applicants are encouraged to consider organizational capacity, financial stability, and right-sizing. Applicants are always encouraged to contact AHCMC staff for guidance before the application deadline if it is unclear which grant category represents the best fit.

    Why don’t the new grant categories address the complexity of comparing organizations with budgets of $150,000 to those with multimillion-dollar budgets?

    Updates to AHCMC guidelines are iterative and developmental. The FY21 changes are intended to more equitably distribute the county’s finite resources with the least amount of harm to the fewest number of organizations.

    What is a multiyear grants model?

    GOS II grants are a multiyear funding opportunity, offered every two years. During each 2019 “Listening Session”, constituents expressed the need for two-year awards to reduce administrative burden, allow for long-term budget planning, and afford greater financial stability.

    Applicants will be required to complete a full application for panel review in FY21. Grantees will submit a mid-year report and final report. In FY22, the administrative process will repeat except grantees will not submit a full application. Instead, grantees will simply provide updated financials, including their FY20 audit and 990. Grantees will also be required to submit a FY22 mid-year and final report, providing updates on organizational changes, progress made toward achieving organizational goals, other successes, and/or organizational challenges.

    How can you guarantee multiyear funding without knowing the county’s final appropriation? How are annual fluctuations calculated into the second year of a grant cycle?

    Each year, all grant funding is subject to fiscal appropriation, including possible reduction or termination, by the Montgomery County Government. For FY21 and FY22, GOS II base awards will consist of a percentage of the organization’s average total allowable cash expenses and/or allowable cash income during the past three completed fiscal years.

    Each grants cycle, in FY21 and in FY22, AHCMC will calculate the allowable financial figure for each of the past three fiscal years based on the organization’s audits. The base awards will incorporate allowable cash/income calculations as well as the current county allocation. While the base award percentage may shift due to county allocation budgetary shifts, AHCMC’s budget advocacy is aimed at ensuring that base awards do not fall below 5% to avoid causing financial instability for grantees.

    A grantee’s score will remain the same for both FY21 and FY22, until the grantee submits a full application for FY23 panel review. A more in-depth explanation can be found on page 9 of the guidelines.

    How will this two-year cycle affect annual bonus awards?

    The competitive excellence awards will be provided if funds remain after the minimum 5% base awards have been calculated for all GOS II grantees. As detailed on page 10 of the guidelines, the competitiveness excellence awards factor in the organization’s panel score, the average panel score of all organizations that are recommended for a grant, and the mean. Grantees receive an excellence award if their score is above the mean. Grantees who receive an excellence award in FY21 will also receive an excellence award in FY22. The higher the grantee’s score and the further away from the mean, the higher the grantee’s excellence award. The score earned in FY21 will be carried forward in FY22.

    If the appropriation increases, will the 5% base percentage increase?

    Since 2012, the guidelines for organizations that meet the eligibility requirements have remained constant in that all GOS II awardees will receive a minimum 5% base award. Should funding allocations from the county increase in accordance with increased demand and growth in the budget size of organizations in this category, the base awards will continue to fluctuate, based on overall budgets, demand, and the county’s appropriation.

    For GOS II, should an organization’s score be much lower than expected, will there be an opportunity to resubmit a full proposal the next year to alter the grantee’s score?

    No. Scores awarded in FY21 will be used for funding allocations in both FY21 and FY22. If an organization scores below a 60 and is not funded in GOS II in FY21, that organization may apply for a GOS I Grant, a Programming & Capacity Building Project Grant or Advancement Grant in FY22.

    The ability to appeal panel scores seems more limited under the new general operating support guidelines.

    The appeals process remains unchanged from prior years. The guidelines provided to the field in FY20 contained the same appeals process.

    Why has AHCMC instituted a maximum grant award amount for GOS II?

    AHCMC has instituted a funding cap for GOS II to more equitably distribute the county’s finite resources to the majority of our funding portfolio. In the process of revising the grant guidelines, AHCMC staff researched the grantmaking practices and reviewed guidelines created by a significant number of arts/humanities funders across the country, paying special attention to counties comparable to Montgomery County in size.

    Some arts/humanities funders set firm caps for their general operating grants, for example, Fairfax County’s cap is $50,000. Other funders use a regressive funding formula. For example, San Antonio uses a regressive formula; organizations with operating expenses over $10 million receive up to 3% of their operating budget.

    Communities are unique. What helps to grow the arts sector in one community in one part of the country will differ from what helps the sector to thrive in another. AHCMC is fortunate to serve a multicultural community with a vibrant arts scene and strives to nurture a broad and varied portfolio of artists, scholars, and arts/humanities organizations.

    How was the amount of $600,000 determined?

    We reviewed the most recent grant awards, the eligible budget for grantees, and determined that capping grant awards at $600,000 will ensure the equitable distribution of the county’s finite resources to the greatest number of eligible applicants with the least amount of harm to the fewest number of organizations.

    Does the $600,000 cap apply to the total award for both years combined?

    No. The cap is per year and applies to GOS II only. Applicants may also be eligible to seek additional funding in other categories.

    For GOS II, why is an organization’s score not part of the base funding calculation as it is with the MSAC?

    Considering that AHCMC’s goals differ from that of MSAC, our approach to funding calculations also differs.

    Guidelines + Eligibility


    The grant awards for recommended GOS II applicants are based on a percentage of the organization’s average total allowable cash expenses and/or allowable cash income during the past three consecutive completed fiscal years, the panel’s ratings, total number of eligible applicants, and the public dollars available.

    *Please note that in FY21, as part of the application, organizations will be required to submit a budget worksheet provided by AHCMC indicating allowable and non-allowable income and expenses. The worksheet should be completed based on the organization’s FY19 audit and should be emailed to AHCMC with the organization’s FY19 audit and FY19 990, no later than June 1, 2020. This form will be available in FluidReview and below under the “Application” tab.

    *Please note that eligible organizations must have met all of the eligibility requirements for the last three completed fiscal years.*

    Required Application Materials:

    1. Completed Narrative
    2. Organizational Support Materials
      • IRS Letter
      • List of Board of Directors
      • List of key staff
      • Strategic plan (if available)
    3. Financial Support Materials
      • FY19 990 (must be received by AHCMC no later than June 1, 2020)
      • FY19 audit (must be received by AHCMC no later than June 1, 2020)
      • Financial statements (Profit & Loss and Balance Sheet) for the most recently completed fiscal year
      • Current fiscal year operating budget with actuals year-to-date
      • Budget worksheet provided by AHCMC
      • Projected FY21 budget (if available)
    4. Programming Support Materials
    5. Work Sample(s)
    6. For Affiliate/Associate organizations only
      • A list of FY19 eligible expenses and income that directly support eligible programs
    Application + Templates

    This application deadline has passed.

    Need to review or download your application? Access SurveyMonkey Apply (SM Apply) here:

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

    Previous Grants Awarded

    FY21-22 General Operating Support II Grants (GOS II)

    $3,500,777 awarded for July 1, 2020 – June 30, 2022

    GOS II Grants provide general operating support to non-profit arts and/or humanities organizations located in Montgomery County, MD that have had both cash operating revenue and expenses of at least $150,000 for the past three completed fiscal years, have a full-time paid director, and can provide an annual audit. 26 organizations received FY21-22 awards in this category.

    Click here to review grants awarded for General Operating Support II Grants from previous fiscal years, and all grants awarded from our other grants categories.

    Adventure Theatre, Inc., dba Adventure Theatre MTC

    Glen Echo, Maryland ($142,431)

    Adventure Theatre MTC educates and inspires new generations of theater artists and audiences with exceptional theatrical experiences.

    Artivate, Inc.

    Silver Spring, Maryland ($30,788)

    Artivate engages communities to create interactive arts experiences that inspire learning. Artivate offers arts-based learning to motivate and invite audiences to participate through performances and workshops representing a wide range of artistic disciplines and cultural traditions. Artivate enables access to the arts for all, particularly under-resourced communities.

    ArtStream, Inc.

    Chevy Chase, Maryland ($37,144)

    Through collaborative performance and lifelong learning opportunities, ArtStream enables people with intellectual and developmental disabilities gain the skills and confidence to engage with the world. ArtStream’s staff believe that when people make their own choices and are engaged, stimulated, challenged, and inspired, they surpass both their own and others’ expectations. ArtStream’s Vision: To build an inclusive world where everyone can perform their art out.

    Baltimore Symphony Orchestra, Inc.

    North Bethesda, Maryland ($201,819)

    Founded in quality symphonic music of all eras that nurtures the human spirit, the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is committed to engaging, inspiring, educating, and serving its audiences in a fiscally responsible manner and to enhancing Maryland as a cultural center of vitality and importance.

    Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington

    Rockville, Maryland ($63,355)

    The Bender Jewish Community Center (JCC) is an all-inclusive community – from the people served to the programs offered – rooted in Jewish values. The JCC cultivates communities in a warm and inclusive environment grounded in strong values by offering a wide variety of programs and events through which people of all ages, backgrounds and interests can find a place to belong. Arts and cultural programming illuminate the human experience through film, music, gallery exhibits and literary events.

    Germantown Cultural Arts Center, Inc., dba BlackRock Center for the Arts

    Germantown, Maryland ($87,996)

    BlackRock Center for the Arts brings inspiring performing and visual arts experiences to diverse audiences in a welcoming and intimate setting, providing opportunities to explore, celebrate and engage in the arts. Overarching goals are to present programs and artistic experiences of the highest quality to attract, retain and grow participation in the arts, facilitate opportunities for engagement and life-long learning in the range of artistic disciplines and; reflect, celebrate and engage the diversity of local communities.

    CityDance Ensemble, Inc., dba CityDance

    North Bethesda, Maryland ($108,726)

    Since its founding in 1996, CityDance has pursued its vision of a thriving arts community where every child has access to the benefits of an arts education and where world-class dance is available to all. CityDance provides high-quality dance instruction, including a pre-professional training program for students ages 3-19, producing and presenting excellent professional dance, and by offering tuition-free dance programs that provide pathways to personal and academic success.

    Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Maryland, Inc.

    Rockville, Maryland ($64,240)

    Friends of the Library strengthens, promotes, and champions Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL), enabling MCPL to better serve the learning interests and needs of diverse and changing communities.

    Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc.

    Glen Echo, Maryland ($117,023)

    Glen Echo Park Partnership for the Arts and Culture presents vibrant artistic, cultural, and educational offerings. It promotes the Park as a unique destination for the region’s diverse population, and nurtures a dynamic community of artists while preserving and managing historic facilities in the Park.

    Imagination Stage, Inc.

    Bethesda, Maryland ($269,471)

    Imagination Stage (IStage) empowers ALL young people to discover their voice and identity through performing arts education and theatre. IStage envisions a future where theatre experiences are a fundamental aspect of children’s lives, nourishing their creative spirit, inspiring them to embrace the complexity and diversity of their world, and helping them overcome their challenges with hope, courage, and above all, creativity.

    MOCO Kidsco, Inc., dba KID Museum

    Bethesda, Maryland ($89,852)

    KID Museum empowers kids to become the creative problem-solvers of tomorrow.

    Levine Music, Inc.

    North Bethesda, Maryland ($160,110)

    Levine Music is the region’s preeminent center for music education committed to developing a lifelong love of music in everyone, regardless of age, ability, or means. Levine is founded on three pillars: Education, Performance, and Community. Levine Music’s goals are to provide the cognitive and social benefits of arts education; create a new generation of music appreciators; spur community redevelopment; provide mentors to students; and offer scholarships and free outreach programs for hundreds of children with limited financial resources.

    Maryland Youth Ballet, Inc.

    Silver Spring, Maryland ($134,230)

    Maryland Youth Ballet provides the highest caliber classical ballet training to prepare young dancers for professional careers in the performing arts and/or acceptance to top level dance training centers. The ballet provides the region’s adults with the highest quality of classes and professional-quality ballet performances. Financially disadvantaged young children are given a free introduction to ballet and full-training scholarships are provided for those with dance potential. Young children with physical disabilities are given the opportunity to experience the joy of dance.

    Metropolitan Ballet Theatre, Inc.

    Gaithersburg, Maryland ($61,001)

    Metropolitan Ballet Theatre provides arts opportunities for all through exceptional dance education, community outreach and inspiring performances.

    Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts, dba VisArts

    Rockville, Maryland ($113,606)

    VisArts transforms individuals and communities through the visual arts.

    Montgomery Community Television, Inc., dba Montgomery Community Media

    Rockville, Maryland ($190,523)

    Montgomery Community Media (MCM) creates and delivers hyperlocal content, including local news, to those who live, work, or have interests in the Montgomery County. MCM is the only independent, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization providing local access to public media on multiple platforms, including 9 digital platforms and 3 cable TV channels. MCM provides facilities and training in podcasting, video production, editing, writing, producing and media literacy.

    Montgomery County Historical Society, dba Montgomery History

    Rockville, Maryland ($24,175)

    Montgomery History collects, preserves, interprets, and shares the history of all of Montgomery County’s residents.

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

    North Bethesda, Maryland ($117,916)

    The National Philharmonic provides the highest quality orchestral, choral and other musical experiences to enrich and inspire the lives of people in Montgomery County and beyond through concerts and educational programs for all ages.

    Olney Theatre Corporation, dba Olney Theatre Center

    Olney, Maryland ($427,497)

    Olney Theatre Center produces, presents, and tours extraordinary performances for a diversity of audiences, educates and inspires the next generation of theater-makers.

    Round House Theatre, Inc., dba Round House Theatre

    Bethesda, Maryland ($234,620)

    Round House is a home for outstanding ensemble acting and lifelong learning. Round House seeks to captivate audiences with stories that inspire compassion, evoke emotions, and demand conversation.

    Sandy Spring Museum, Inc., dba Sandy Spring Museum

    Sandy Spring, Maryland ($33,357)

    Sandy Spring Museum supports community-driven cultural arts and educational programs. The museum gathers community to build a sense of place and belonging.

    Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc.

    North Bethesda, Maryland ($600,000)

    Strathmore presents and produces exemplary visual and performing arts programs for diverse audiences; creates dynamic arts education experiences; nurtures creative ideas and conversations that advance the future of the arts.

    The Puppet Co.

    Glen Echo, Maryland ($23,333)

    The Puppet Co. creates and presents professional puppet theater, especially for children and families, reflecting excellence in both performing and visual arts. The Puppet Co. provides an array of supporting programs including classes, demonstrations, publications, and exhibitions. The organization maintains a puppetry library, a collection of puppets, and puppetry memorabilia focused on the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, available to the public by request.

    The Writer’s Center

    Bethesda, Maryland ($58,993)

    The Writer’s Center empowers writers and those who aspire to write through workshops, events, and creative collaboration. The Writer’s Center also supports and celebrates those who publish.

    Washington Conservatory of Music

    Glen Echo, Maryland ($61,232)

    The Washington Conservatory of Music provides exceptional musical learning and listening experiences for their students and for the community.

    Washington Revels, Inc.

    Glen Echo, Maryland ($47,339)

    Washington Revels uses performance, education, and community engagement to revive, sustain, expand, and celebrate cultural traditions — in music, dance, storytelling, and drama — that bind people together in spirit and joy. Washington Revels strives to illustrate the world’s common humanity, connecting all people in a community that stretches across ethnic, cultural, and religious divisions.