Group C

Organizations with an arts-mission that have received other grants through ArtsMemphis for the past three consecutive fiscal years. 

Eligible Organizations:

  • ArtWorks Foundation
  • Blues City Cultural Center
  • Collage Dance Collective
  • Creative Aging Memphis
  • Crosstown Arts
  • Dixon Gallery and Gardens
  • Germantown Performing Arts Center
  • IRIS Orchestra
  • Levitt Shell
  • Luna Nova Music
  • Memphis Boy Choir
  • Memphis Men's Chorale
  • New Day Children's Theatre
  • The Orpheum Theatre
  • Playback Memphis
  • PRIZM Ensemble
  • RiverArts Fest
  • Tennessee Shakespeare Company

Operating Support Grant Eligibility

Group C Applicants must…

  • Have received consecutive funding through ArtsMemphis in each of the past three fiscal years (FY2015, FY2016, FY2017). This includes Arts Build Communities, ArtsFirst, ArtsZone, and other designated grant programs.
  • Have a current 501(c)(3) federal tax-exempt status with a primary place of business in Shelby County.
  • Have a primary mission of arts programming.
  • Offer programs that are accessible to all Shelby County citizens regardless of race, color, sex, religion, age, national origin, marital status, sexual orientation, disability or any characteristic protected by law.
  • Offer a full season of programming and/or year-round activity.
  • Have proof of compliance with all local, state, and federal laws or requirements (i.e. IRS form 990, state auditor forms, TN solicitation license, etc.).

Operating Support Grant Guidelines

  • A maximum of $110,000 will be available for investments in 18 eligible organizations.
  • Not all eligible organizations will receive a grant award.  We anticipate funding a portion of the applicants at a significant level, rather than making smaller grant amounts to all eligible organizations.
  • Arts investments (grant awards) decisions are competitive and awards are based on an organization’s documentation of progress and success against the stated criteria.
  • Requests for FY18 funding should not exceed 5% of the three-year average of the organization’s operating expenses for the past three completed fiscal years as reported on your Form 990 or in your P&L statements if you do not file a Form 990. 
  • Presenting organizations should focus narrative responses on the work the organization does outside of presenting performances created outside of Memphis and Shelby County. 
  • Review Process:
    • Review panel comprised of ArtsMemphis board members
    • A site visit or pre-review meeting may be scheduled for select organizations and 1-2 review panel members.  Details to be communicated by ArtsMemphis staff in October.
    • Review Meeting with applicants and full review panel, November 21. Exact time TBA.
  • Applications and associated materials must be received online via the link provided by October 17 at 5:00 p.m. unless otherwise noted. Emailed and hard copy applications will not be accepted. In fairness to others, we will not accept late or incomplete applications. An application may be deemed incomplete and ineligible if information in the appropriate format is not provided by the deadline. No deadline extensions are granted. Please do not submit more materials than stipulated; excess materials will be discarded.
  • You are encouraged to contact ArtsMemphis in advance of the deadline with any questions or to seek guidance.  A list of Frequent Asked Questions will be available here and updated regularly up to October 13, 2017.

Application – Deadline October 17, 5:00 p.m.

Below are links to a PDF of the application form, the online application, and the required Financial Appendix attachment.

IMPORTANT:  Please download the PDF of the application form before beginning to fill in the requested information so that you may compile your responses.  It is not possible to save your work mid-way through completion of the online application form, and it must be filled out in one sitting.

Criteria for Evaluation

This is a new funding opportunity for organizations meeting the eligibility requirements noted above.  This grant will serve as a pilot program for ArtsMemphis as we redesign our arts investments to focus on strengthening our local communities through the arts, and define success in part based on the community impact of an organization or their programming.  This funding is intended to provide support for ongoing organizational priorities. 

These criteria will be used as a guide by review panel members to assess each application.

1. Mission, Capacity and Impact (60%)

  • Does the organization demonstrate progress against their stated mission and goals?
  • Do the organization’s goals align with ArtsMemphis’ mission and vision?
  • Is there stability within the organization and its leadership?
  • Does the organization have the administrative capacity to carry out its goals today and plan for tomorrow?
  • Does the organization have the artistic capacity to carry out its goals?
  • Does the organization show advancement in program excellence in all creative endeavors?
  • Does a program(s) or initiative noted in the application address underserved populations and/or youth populations?
  • Was a program(s) or initiative noted in the application developed due to and/or utilizing research or evaluation data?
  • Does the organization have existing relationships/partnerships to advance inclusion in their programming, and/or to leverage assets and capacities with other organizations to expand impact, access and sustainability?
  • Does the organization present art works that are inclusive of all members of the community or use art to tell stories that are inclusive of all members of the community?
  • Does the organization have key metrics and an evaluation plan to track success against stated goals?
  • Does the organization create innovative new programs and cultural experiences?
  • Does the organization offer programs that are relevant to the broader community?


2. Governance and Fiscal Accountability (40%)

  • Does the Board financially support the organization and is it actively involved in the organization? 
  • Does the Board structure align with the needs of the organization?
  • What is the general financial health of the organization?
  • Does the organization have diverse revenue streams?
  • Does the organization have a defined strategy for growth and/or sustainability?
  • If the organization is operating at a deficit, does it have a reasonable plan for reversing this trend? 
  • Does the organization have reserve funds available in the event of a deficit? Are there controls in place to maintain a reserve?
  • Is there an effort to improve the efficiency of operations and control expenses?  


September 12:  Application available

September 13:  Meeting for applicants

September 14:  Meeting for applicants

October 6:  Deadline to create or update Where to Give Profile

October 17:  Application deadline

November 1-10:  Panelists meet with applicants (site visits – select organizations)

November 21:  Grant Review Meeting (exact time TBA)

December 6:  Applicants notified

December 13:  Signed contract due

December 15:  50% FY18 payment

March:  FY19 plans announced

April 30:  50% FY18 payment (March 30 financials)

June:  FY19 application deadline (tentative)