General Operating Support II

Scroll down to see GOS II FAQs.

General Operating Support II Grants (GOS II), formerly known as General Operating Support Grants for Large Arts and Humanities Organizations, are available to nonprofit arts and humanities organizations that had both cash operating expenses and cash operating income of more than $150,000 during its most recently completed fiscal year. Grants are also available for an arts and/or humanities division within an umbrella nonprofit organization, provided that the division’s cash operating expenses and cash operating income were more than $150,000 during the most recently completed fiscal year. These two-year 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 between the organization and the community in the planning, participation, and evaluation of public activity/activities, which include intentional strategies for diversity, equity, access, and inclusion;
  • 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;
  • 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;
  • Improve and/or stabilize the management infrastructure and effectiveness of arts and humanities organizations.
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Letter of Intent Deadline
Friday, February 14, 2020 - 11:59 pm
Application Deadline
Friday, March 20, 2020 - 11:59 pm

AHCMC Grants Team

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

FY21 Submission Deadlines

  • Guidelines Released – Monday, December 23, 2019 – 11:59 p.m.
  • Letter of Intent – Friday, February 14, 2020 – 11:59 p.m.
    • This submission deadline has passed
  • ApplicationFriday, March 13, 2020 – 11:59 p.m.
    • DEADLINE EXTENDED: Friday, March 20, 2020 – 11:59 p.m.
    • The FY21 submission deadline has passed

First-time applicants are highly encouraged to contact Grants Program staff. Letters of intent, applications, and all relevant materials must be submitted online. Late letters of intent, applications, and relevant materials will not be accepted.

Applications will be accepted for activities occurring from July 1, 2020 through June 30, 2022.

Additional Dates Post-Application

  • Panel Review (conference call)
    • Friday, April 24, 2020 from 9:30 a.m. – 3:40 p.m.
  • Award Announcement – late June 2020
  • FY21 Mid-Year Report Due – January 31, 2021
  • FY21 Final Report Due – July 31, 2021
  • FY22 Mid-Year Report – January 31, 2022
  • FY22 Final Report – July 31, 2022
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 and Webinars page to see all upcoming workshops and webinars.


Workshops and webinars allow grant-seekers to ask AHCMC grants staff specific questions about the grant guidelines, application, and FluidReview online grant portal. At each workshop and webinar, grants staff will review major eligibility requirements, present an overview of the grant category, and offer technical assistance for the application process and use of the FluidReview online grants portal.


Frequently Asked Questions for General Operating Support II

How does an organization figure out whether it makes more sense to apply for GOS II funding or a GOS I grant to get the largest potential grant?

GOS II is a highly competitive and rigorous category. Rather than simply focusing on the grant award, applicants are encouraged to consider organizational capacity, financial stability, and right-sizing. When determining which funding opportunity is the most appropriate fit, applicants should also consider which category will allow the organization to grow their organizations in a healthy, protracted manner, strengthen sustainability and create strong partnerships in the community. 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


Click here to view the full FY21 GOS II Guidelines

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 at least the past 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

The application deadline has passed.

We are no longer accepting letters of intent or applications for this year.

If you are a grantee, all grant agreements and final reports must be completed on the FluidReview application portal. Click HERE to login.

Guides for FluidReview:

Previous Grants Awarded

FY20 General Operating Support Grants for Large Arts & Humanities Organizations

*renamed General Operating Support II Grants in FY21*

$3,374,941 awarded for July 1, 2019 – June 30, 2020

General Operating Support Grants for Large Arts & Humanities Organizations provide support to nonprofit organizations in Montgomery County that have annual cash operating expenses and income of over $150,000, full-time paid directors, and an annual audit. Twenty-seven organizations received FY20 awards within this category.

Review General Operating Support Grants for Large Arts & Humanities Organizations from previous fiscal years and all of our grants awarded from any grants category HERE.

Adventure Theatre MTC

Glen Echo, Maryland ($137,156)

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


Silver Spring, Maryland ($40,543)

Artivate engages communities to create interactive arts experiences that inspire learning. The organization 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 in order to captivate the imagination and activate human potential. Through Artivate’s focus on education, the organization enables access to the arts for all, particularly under-resourced communities.

ArtStream, Inc.

Chevy Chase, Maryland ($38,426)

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.

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

North Bethesda, Maryland ($258,976)

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

Bender Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington

Rockville, Maryland ($58,515)

The Bender JCC is an all-inclusive community – from the people served to the programs offered – rooted in Jewish values. The JCC’s arts and cultural programming illuminates the human experience through film, music, gallery exhibits and literary events. Their workshops and classes present the community with the opportunity to try something new in a comfortable, welcoming supportive place. The Bender JCC Kreeger Auditorium, a 290-seat performing arts theater, is utilized for internal events and external rentals.

BlackRock Center for the Arts

Germantown, Maryland ($80,869)

BlackRock Center for the Arts inspires the community to explore, experience, and engage in the arts through artistically excellent programs that foster lifelong participation in the arts. BlackRock’s overarching goals are to: present local and international artists of the highest quality; offer educational opportunities in a variety of arts disciplines; and to provide leadership within our community by forging partnerships.


North Bethesda, Maryland ($97,468)

Since its founding in 1996 with a mission to transform lives and communities through dance, 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 achieves its mission by providing high-quality dance instruction including a pre-professional training program for students ages 3-18; producing and presenting world-class professional dance; and providing tuition-free dance programming to students from low-income communities.

Dance Exchange

Takoma Park, Maryland ($33,876)

Dance Exchange ignites inquiry, inspires change, and connects people of all ages to the questions at the heart of our lives through dance making and creative practices. Dance Exchange collaborates across generations, disciplines, and communities to channel the power of performance as a means for dialogue, a source of critical reflection, and a creative engine for thought and action.

Friends of the Library, Montgomery County Maryland, Inc.

Rockville, Maryland ($53,591)

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

Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts and Culture, Inc.

Glen Echo, Maryland ($109,125)

Glen Echo Park presents vibrant artistic, cultural, and educational offerings and promotes the park as a unique destination for the region’s diverse population. The Partnership nurtures a dynamic community of artists and performers while preserving and managing historic facilities within the National Park Services. The strategic objective is to bring an overarching identity with a seamless experience for visitors, participants, and donors as they interact with Glen Echo Park.

Imagination Stage

Bethesda, Maryland ($265,554)

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.

Levine Music

Silver Spring, Maryland ($139,427)

Levine 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. The organization’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

Silver Spring, Maryland ($118,383)

Maryland Youth Ballet (MYB) provides the highest caliber of training and performance opportunities to prepare young dancers for a career in the performing arts as well as to provide classes to dancers of all ages and levels, together with high-quality classical ballet productions, to the community.

Metropolitan Ballet Theatre, Inc.

Gaithersburg, Maryland ($48,156)

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

KID Museum, Inc.

Bethesda, Maryland ($74,206)

The KID Museum empowers kids to become the creative problem-solvers of tomorrow. The museum provides impactful hands-on learning that incorporates art, culture, creativity and critical thinking.

Montgomery Community Media

Rockville, Maryland ($177,715)

Montgomery Community Media (MCM) creates and delivers unique content that educates, entertains, informs, and inspires those who live and work in Montgomery County. The organization’s vision is to become the preeminent resource for all people who live, learn, work, and play in Montgomery County, to create and access media content that enhances our community. MCM creates original content, provides educational instruction, presents resident’s contributed content on multiple platforms, and digitally archives their community contributions in the humanities and arts.

Montgomery History

Rockville, Maryland ($18,403)

Montgomery History has been serving Montgomery County through exhibits, programs, educational activities, a research library, and history-themed conferences since the organization was founded in 1944. The organization collects, preserves, interprets, and shares the histories of all of Montgomery County’s residents and communities.

National Philharmonic and Chorale of Montgomery County, Inc.

North Bethesda, Maryland ($107,662)

The National Philharmonic is a dynamic organization providing quality orchestral, choral, and other musical experiences to enrich and inspire the lives of people in Montgomery County through concerts and educational programs for all ages.

Olney Theatre Center

Olney, Maryland ($359,462)

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

Round House Theatre

Bethesda, Maryland ($210,554)

Round House Theatre 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

Sandy Spring, Maryland ($31,885)

Founded in 1981 to preserve the unique history of Sandy Spring, Sandy Spring Museum (SSM) has consistently adapted to the demands, requests, and needs of its community. In direct response to community feedback, SSM embraced a mission that shifted the museum’s efforts from a focus on preservation to one on participation. Sandy Spring Museum supports community-driven cultural arts and educational programs. SSM gathers community to build a sense of place and belonging.

Strathmore Hall Foundation, Inc.

North Bethesda, Maryland ($620,460)

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 Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts (VisArts)

Rockville, Maryland ($98,956)

The Metropolitan Center for the Visual Arts (VisArts) transforms individuals and communities through the visual arts.

The Puppet Co.

Glen Echo, Maryland ($22,981)

The Puppet Co. creates and presents professional puppet theater for children and families as an art form, reflecting excellence in both the performance and visual experiences. The organization provides an array of supporting programs including classes, demonstrations, publications, and exhibitions. In addition, they maintain a puppetry library, a collection of puppets, and puppetry memorabilia focused on the mid-Atlantic region of the United States, available by request.

The Writer’s Center

Bethesda, Maryland ($66,745)

The Writer’s Center empowers writers, and those who want to write, through workshops, events, and creative collaboration. They also support and celebrate those who publish.

Washington Conservatory of Music

Bethesda, Maryland ($55,098)

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

Washington Revels, Inc.

Silver Spring, Maryland ($50,749)

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. The organization strives to illustrate the world’s common humanity, connecting all people in a community that stretches across ethnic, cultural, and religious divisions.

FY20 Information

Click here to view the full FY20 General Operating Support for Large Organizations Guidelines

Applicable ONLY to FY20 grantees.

All grant agreements, mid-year reports, and final reports must be completed on the FluidReview application portal. Click HERE to login.

Remaining FY20 Dates

  • FY20 Final Report Due – August 31, 2020 – 11:59 p.m.
  • Download the FY20 GOS for LO Final Report (Know that this is a template for your reference only)