While Americans for the Arts is not a grantmaking organization, we do offer our members the tools, professional development, and programming that will prepare them and their communities to access and better qualify for funding opportunities.

Members enjoy discounted rates to our annual events like Annual Convention and National Arts Marketing Program Conference, both which offer professional development networking opportunities and sessions centered on visibility and fundraising. They also receive access to all our research and reports and discounts on our customizable research and report services.

Local Arts Agencies are like snowflakes; no two are exactly alike. Each has its own strengths and challenges. Some are well funded Departments of Cultural Affairs. Some are small organizations with a shoe string budget. The rest fall somewhere in between. What this means is we have to fundraise to deliver our programs and services and partner as often as possible. Both require patience, flexibility, and an innovative mindset to extend our reach into the community.” – Marc Folk, “Local Arts Agencies are like Snowflakes,” ARTSblog

Learn more about how to become a member.

Funding Resources

Federal Resource Guides

The Americans for the Arts Federal Resource Guides are a set of six documents that provide information on sources of federal funding for nonprofit arts organizations. Read on to find out more about how the guides were created and how you can best use them to find funding opportunities for your organization.

The Resource Guides are offered for free to download through the Americans for the Arts Bookstore. In order to download the guides, you must have an Americans for the Arts account. You can create an account for free by registering here.

Introduction to the Federal Resource Guides

A thumnail cover image of the Introduction guide, featuring an image of the US Capitol Building.

Start with this introductory guide to figure out which of the six guides might be most useful to you.

Federal Resource Guide #1: Community Development

A thumnail cover image of the Community Development guide, featuring an image of a large garage space with artists working on a project on the ground

Federal funds administered by local or state governments for buildings, facilities, and public services (including arts related programs) benefiting low-income residents.

Federal Resource Guide #2: Rural Development

A thumnail cover image of the Rural Development guide, featuring an image of a farm and a rolling field

Funding for organizations in rural areas (generally, population 20,000 or fewer) to improve community facilities (such buildings or equipment), build organizational capacity, and help rural micro-entrepreneurs.

Federal Resource Guide #3: National Service

A thumnail cover image of the National Service guide, featuring an image of a group of people working on a wood project in an alley

Funding for organizations to support volunteers doing short- and long-term service work, or to host service programs or other events.

Federal Resource Guide #4: Congressional Earmarks

A thumnail cover image of the Congressional Earmarks guide, featuring an image of a closed-curtain stage

Federal funding applied for by your member of Congress that can be used for a wide variety of purposes, which has traditionally been a large source of funding for cultural institutions.

Federal Resource Guide #5: Environmental Protection

A thumnail cover image of the Environmental Protection guide, featuring an image of river shore

Funds for organizations looking to build on, clean up, or evaluate polluted sites, as well as funding for environmental education and social justice programs that incorporate the arts.

Federal Resource Guide #6: Economic Development

A thumnail cover image of the Economic Development guide, featuring an image of an under construction building

Funding administered through the EDA and SBA that supports construction, planning, and technical assistance for organizations that create regional economic development or help micro-entrepreneurs.

This contains an archive of Americans for the Arts' older federal resource guides.

Resource Guide #1: Arts Education (2nd Edition)
This publication provides an overview of programs under the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2001. These laws are the basis for most federal funding for the nation's schools. This resource guide (pdf, 137 KB) is a layered document with at-a-glance funding information as well as links to more detailed information and resources. You can also review this state-by-state list of 21st Century Learning Center (after-school) grants.

Resource Guide #2: Community Development Block Grant Program
The Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program is a local economic development program funded through the U.S. Housing & Urban Development (HUD) Department and administered locally. This resource guide (pdf, 212 KB) provides the background, eligible activities, and detailed grant examples to assist localities in using this funding opportunity. Also review this more recent collection of CDBG grants.

Resource Guide #3: Transportation Enhancement Program
The U.S. Department of Transportation operates the Transportation Enhancement program, which helps fund local transportation-related cultural projects. This resource guide (pdf. 103 KB) provides arts examples and includes the newly reauthorized Transportation Enhancement Program guidelines that can assist organizations with navigating this funding opportunity. In 2013, federal transportation grant programs were reauthorized by Congress and a summary of how that impacted the TE program, and further examples, are provided here.

Resource Guide #4: International Cultural Exchanges
The Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs seeks proposals for projects relating to cultural exchange and public diplomacy. This resource guide (pdf) for international cultural exchange is the third version published in six years - an area of the federal government that has experienced significant changes in its programming in the past few years.

Resource Guide #5: Military Base Closings
In November 2005, the 2005 Base Realignment & Closure Commission (BRAC) recommendations went into effect. As a result, 22 major defense installations were closed and another 33 were designated to have their workforce realigned, impacting 27 states. Americans for the Arts has published a resource guide (pdf, 113 KB) for local arts organizations in those affected states to consider how to get involved in the future redevelopment possibilities.

Resource Guide #6: Earmarks for Cultural Agencies and Institutions I
An earmark is a sum of money that, upon request of one or more representatives or senators, Congress directs to a specific project such as a building, transportation project, or cultural program or service. This resource guide provides a list of earmarks for cultural agencies, by federal agency, that Americans for the Arts identified in the FY 2005–FY 2006 (pdf, 245 KB) appropriations bills. Since 2010, U.S. House GOP leaders have put in place a ban on earmarks.

Resource Guide #7: National Endowment for the Humanities
The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) offers significant assistance for a range of arts-related programs, especially activities related to scholarship and public programs in arts history, criticism, and theory. This resource guide (pdf, 134 KB) provides an explanation of the NEH grant program and a representative list of recent arts-related grants. A more recent state-by-state collection provides further examples of NEH grants.

Resource Guide #8: Rural Development
The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Rural Development division administers Community Facilities grant and loan programs designed to develop essential community facilities for public use in rural areas. Communities with populations below 20,000 and 50,000 are eligible for funding under these programs. This resource guide (pdf, 128 KB) provides an explanation of the programs and examples of previously funded projects.

Resource Guide #9: National Service and the Arts
The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNS) offers a variety of service programs and grants that can connect nonprofit arts organizations, schools, colleges, and local agencies with volunteers and financial support to help meet unmet community needs in education, health, environment, poverty, the elderly, and public safety. This resource guide (pdf, 669 KB) outlines the AmeriCorps, Learn and Serve America, and Senior Corps programs with examples of previously funded arts and culture related projects. Further examples are also collected in this recent update.

Resource Guide #10: Earmarks for Cultural Agencies and Institutions II
This resource guide provides a list of earmarks for cultural agencies, by federal agency, that Americans for the Arts identified in the FY 2008 (pdf, 668 KB) appropriations bills. Since 2010, U.S. House GOP leaders have put in place a ban on earmarks.

Resource Guide #11: Artist As Entrepreneur
This resource guide provides a list of insights into the various economic development, community development and business support programs among several federal agencies, including the U.S. Commerce Department, Small Business Administration and U.S. Housing & Urban Development Department. A further update to this resource guide is also available.

There are currently no funding opportunities through Americans for the Arts. Occasionally, Americans for the Arts administers grant programs and provides funding opportunities. In recent years in partnership with Corporate initiatives we have also jointly sponsored projects that contained funding opportunities. Please check back on a regular basis for updates on new programs. To read about past funding opportunities with Americans for the Arts, click on the links below. Please note: Although some projects may be ongoing, Americans for the Arts is not currently accepting proposals for funding for any of the programs listed.

Below is a list of resources to help in your search for funding.

Artist as Entrepreneur: Economic Development Resource Guide
This resource guide provides a list of insights into the various economic development, community development and business support programs among several federal agencies, including the U.S. Commerce Department, Small Business Administration and U.S. Housing & Urban Development Department. A further update to this resource guide is also available.

Americans for the Arts' Arts Education Navigator is a series of e-books, and Getting Started walks you through the steps of creating support—and getting funding—that arts education programs desperately need.

Americans for the Arts' Arts Education Field Guide describes the ecosystem of partners, players, and policymakers in the field of arts education. This tool helps you determine who can best help you receive the type of funding you seek.

Americans for the Arts’ pARTnership Movement connects businesses and arts organizations to create mutually beneficial relationships that strengthen both parties. The site features many tools and resources in the pARTnership Movement Toolbox to help arts organizations approach, plan, and execute financially beneficial partnerships with businesses.

Americans for the Arts has a list of Public Art Funding Resources (documents, reports, and contract templates) that will help you begin a public art project with the appropriate funding in place.

Americans for the Arts’ Local Arts Rapid Response Tool Kit guides you through the process of getting back on your feet and also offers helpful resources to acquire initial funding.

Americans for the Arts created a list of organizations that provide loans for arts organizations. For additional opportunities, check your local community foundations and local arts foundations. We also suggest checking your state and local governments for available loans to arts organizations.

Americans for the Arts created a list of Arts Facilities that recieved funding from their city government.

American Recovery & Reinvestment Act View a chart (pdf, 15 KB) on federal funding opportunities produced as a result of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act.

National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts provides federal funding available for arts initiatives through national, state, and local funding programs.

U.S. Department of Education Grants and Contracts
These pages are designed to help you find grants and contracts through the U.S. Department of Education. Arts-related grant opportunities (current and past) have included Arts in Education Model Development and Dissemination Grants Program, after-school programs, and professional development.

No Subject Left Behind (Updated Version): A Guide to Arts Education Funding Opportunities Through the U.S. Department of Education
The report, No Subject Left Behind, (pdf, 317 KB)  produced by a consortium of national arts organizations, including Americans for the Arts, on the arts-related aspects of No Child Left Behind (NCLB). The report  includes information on arts education policy under NCLB and information on grant opportunities, including program descriptions, Department of Education contact information, and links to many other resources.

Foundation Center
Lists information about funders, allows users to search for grants and funding opportunities, and provides guidance and training for grantseekers.

Fundsnet Online Services
A comprehensive website dedicated to providing nonprofit organizations, colleges, and universities with information on financial resources available on the Internet. Includes an extensive list of arts funders.

WomenArts Foundation List Index
Looking for funding for an individual artist? WomenArts has compiled a list of foundations and other sources who provide funding support for artists.

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