Hi, I’m Scott! The MRAC team and I are here to help you through the grant application process for
Flexible Support Round 2.
The following are short answers to questions we often encounter. There is sometimes a longer answer attached to the short answer, so please consider this a starting point.
Does it bother you when we ask for help?
Not at all! Every MRAC staff member is passionate about getting arts funding into the community. We find this work gratifying and want to help as much as possible.
Do we have to apply online? How do I request a disability accommodation?
If applying online presents a barrier to you, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will discuss options so you have an equal opportunity to apply.
Can we apply in languages other than English? Can we get help applying in a language other than English?
Yes, MRAC will accept applications in your preferred language. Spanish and Haitian Creole application materials are available now, and you may request materials in additional languages. We can hire an interpreter to assist during any meetings with us. If you need other help related to language, please contact email@example.com.
Can you help me get access to my account/my organization’s grant account?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org with your information, and you will get a response fairly quickly. You can also call 651-645-0402 and leave a message with your organization name and email address – you will receive a response within a business day.
We’re really new, our organization has never received grants – can we apply?
Every grant round, we get many proposals from applicants new to MRAC, or even new to applying for grants in general. If that’s you, welcome!
Are we considered a group?
For MRAC, a group can look like a lot of things. We fund both registered nonprofits and groups without their own nonprofit status. Some groups are only organized to start something new, or to work together temporarily. Others seek resources for something they’ve been doing for a while without any formal structure around it. In all cases, a group must have at least three people in leadership.
Can we apply if we don’t have federal 501(c)(3) nonprofit status?
To apply for the Flexible Support program, you need a group name and either nonprofit status or a fiscal sponsor. A fiscal sponsor is a separate organization with nonprofit status that will formally accept grant funds on your group’s behalf if awarded. If you need one, fiscal sponsors must be confirmed at the time of application. It can take some time to secure a fiscal sponsor (sometimes several weeks), so start that process early.
Who makes decisions about grant awards?
Arts community members, just like you, volunteer to rate and score applications. We call these volunteers “panelists.” Grants are then awarded by the MRAC Board of Directors, based on those combined panelist scores and available grant dollars. MRAC staff members follow strict procedures so we do not personally influence decisions.
Can we see some sample grant applications from groups that were funded?
Six sample applications that received funding are available on the Flexible Support program page. These grantees have agreed to share this version of their work with sensitive information removed. Sample applications represent a variety of group types, artistic disciplines, geographic locations, and project designs.
What is the typical grant size awarded? Is it better to ask for less money?
Asking for less money does not make you more likely to receive a grant. Ask for what you need. A large majority of groups request the maximum grant award of $15,000.
Should we number our responses? How should budgets be formatted?
You do not need to format in a specific way, but clarity is important. Check out the sample applications (especially the budgets) to learn how successful applicants presented their information.
What are the most common mistakes you see in applications?
Budget errors are the most common. Always double-check your math, including adding up individual budget items, and ensure all items are eligible. Errors can affect the size of the award, or even make the whole application ineligible. We also see issues with fiscal sponsors. Usually an applicant should have applied with one but did not, or their fiscal sponsor was not eligible. Take advantage of MRAC staff’s offer to review an application draft so we can catch issues early.
Can we get feedback from our previous grant application to MRAC? Will addressing panelists’ feedback make us more likely to be awarded in this round?
MRAC staff can help you review any eligibility issues in your previous application. You may also request a copy of the panel’s feedback by emailing email@example.com with “Requesting panel feedback” in the subject line. The reality of a panel-based process is that in some cases the same application submitted again to a different set of panelists may find better success. That said, you may wish to review the panel’s feedback for common themes.
Can we fix/change/update something in our application after the deadline?
Unfortunately, no. After the deadline, no one is allowed to make edits.
What if my project details change after we get an award?
It is very common for the details of a project to change after the application. We have a generous Project Change Request process and approve almost all changes proposed. However, you will need to get approval before making a change to ensure it follows requirements.
Reminder: Virtual Question & Answer Session
Do you have more questions after reviewing the guidelines and/or viewing the webinar on the Flexible Support page? MRAC program directors will host an informal drop-in Zoom session to answer brief questions in a large group setting. Please note, this is not a grant information webinar. We recommend viewing the webinar and/or reading the guidelines in advance of attending a Virtual Q & A Session, as many frequently asked questions can be found there. Pre-registration for the Virtual Q & A Session is required. These sessions are not recorded.
- Tuesday, January 17, 2023, 5:30-6:30 PM
- Register for the January 17 Q&A session
Photo from “Freeing Assata,” part of Exposed Brick’s Through Our Eyes Festival. Photo Credit: Dan Norman.
Image description: a Black woman is wearing loose-fitting pants and shirt. She is sitting on a bench on a stage, looking up with a slight smile.