CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grants

General operating support grants to help the state's museums, cultural, humanities, and arts organizations.

CT Humanities is honored to partner with the CT Office of the Arts to administer the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grants program.

On this page, you will find:

  1. Information for FY23 Applicants
  2. Apply
  3. Information for FY22 Grantees
  4. Full List of FY22 Awards
  5. Grantee Testimonials
  6. Press Releases

Have questions about the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant? Attend an information session!

Information for FY23 Applicants

The following information is intended for organizations interested in applying for the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant due November 4, 2022.

What is the CT Cultural Fund?Eligibility & AwardsGuidelines & ApplicationFAQsImportant Dates

CT Cultural Fund Operating Support grants are non-competitive GENERAL OPERATING SUPPORT grants for museums and 501(c)(3) non-profit, municipal, Connecticut state, or Connecticut-based federally or State recognized tribal organizations that provide cultural-, humanities-, and arts-based projects and activities for the public (i.e., museums, historic houses, historical societies, arts organizations, cultural centers, and other organizations that offer activities such as exhibitions, performances, art classes, public programs, or walking tours to the public).

These grants are designed to help the state’s museums, cultural, humanities, and arts organizations maintain and grow their ability to serve their community and the public, connect K-12 teachers and students to strong humanities and arts content, and improve their information technology and digital infrastructure.

In fall 2022, CT Humanities will distribute $8.5 million in CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant awards, ranging in size from $5,000 to $250,000.

The CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grants are administered by CT Humanities (CTH), with funding provided by the Connecticut State Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD)/Connecticut Office of the Arts (COA) from the Connecticut State Legislature.

Eligibility:

Eligible organizations must meet the following criteria:

  1. 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations incorporated in CT, or municipal, Connecticut state, or Connecticut-based federally or State recognized tribal organizations that provide cultural-, humanities-, and arts-based projects for the public
  2. Organizations whose core mission, vision, focus, and legal purpose – as stated in their Articles of Incorporation and Bylaws – articulate a commitment to conduct museum, cultural, humanities, and/or arts activities
  3. Organizations with at least 51 percent of their annual fiscal expenditures allocated specifically to support cultural, humanities, and arts  activities, programming, services, or initiatives

Please note that in fall 2022, fiscally sponsored organizations are not eligible to apply for this grant. However, organizations that have received or applied for 501(c)(3) status before the grant application deadline are eligible for funding consideration.

Award Amounts: 

The minimum grant award amount is $5,000 and the maximum award amount is $250,000. All eligible applying organizations will receive funding support. Award amounts are determined based upon an organization’s budget size and in consideration of any line item funding in this year’s state budget organizations have already received. We anticipate that this year’s CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant awards will be approximately half that of last year’s.

All awards are paid in two installments via check: 75% at the time of contract and upon completion of the grantee survey, and 25% upon completion of the final report and follow up survey.

Please read the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant guidelines before applying. The guidelines outline eligibility requirements, eligible expenses, grant duration, and more.

View Grant Guidelines

To preview the current CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant application, select the option that best describes your organization:

Apply through the CTH Grant Application Portal.

For Returning Grantees:

If I have an open CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant, do I need to complete the final report before applying for the second round of funding?
No. Organizations have until December 21, 2022 to spend their CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant funds, and final reports are due no later than December 31, 2022. Organizations can close out their CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant at any time once the full award has been expended. CTH will not be able to disburse funds for the second CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant award until your first CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant is closed. Waiting until December 31 to close your open grant may delay payment for this second round of funding by a few weeks, but will not impact your eligibility for funding.

Will my final report influence the size of my organization's FY23 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant award?
No. CTH will use final report data to report back to the state and to advocate for continued funding. We will also use the final report to ensure that your organization used grant funds for eligible expenses. Your FY23 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant award will be calculated based on your operating budget size for the last four fiscal years and current fiscal year. We anticipate FY23 awards for eligible organizations will be approximately half the size of FY22 awards.

If I received a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant last year, will I automatically receive this year's CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant?
To receive this year’s CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant, you must apply by November 4, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. As long as your organization continues to be an eligible organization type (see the “Eligibility & Awards” tab for more details), you will receive an award through this year’s CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant.

My organization received a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant last year as a fiscally sponsored organization. Am I eligible to apply again this year?
Unfortunately, fiscally sponsored organizations are not eligible for the FY23 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant. If you have received or applied for 501(c)(3) status before November 4, 2022, you are eligible to apply for this grant. If you do not intend to apply for 501(c)(3) status by the grant deadline, you are not eligible to apply.

Eligibility:

Are libraries eligible for a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant?

Unfortunately, libraries are not among the eligible organization types for the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support grants.  The following exceptions may be considered for eligibility:

  1. If a library also operates a museum, and that part of their operations is highlighted in their mission and budget, the museum side of the operation could be considered for funding support.
  2. If a library also owns and manages significant object-based collections and regularly interprets and exhibits them for the public, and that part of their operations is highlighted in their mission and budget, the collections and exhibit side of the operation could be considered for funding support.
  3. If a library is primarily a genealogical library, their operations could be considered for funding support.

If you are unsure whether your organization may be eligible for the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support grants, please reach out to Lian Partridge at lpartridge@cthumanities.org to discuss.

Are schools eligible for a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant?
K-12 public, private, and magnet schools are not eligible for this funding. If your school is a 501(c)(3) organization that offers cultural, humanities, or arts public programming for your community, you may be eligible for funding. Please contact Lian Partridge at lpartridge@cthumanities.org if you are unsure whether your school is eligible for this grant. Museums within colleges or universities are eligible for funding but will receive a maximum award of $5,000.

My organization was not eligible for funding through CT Humanities in the past. Will I be eligible for the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant?
This grant line is intended for all museums and 501(c)(3) non-profit, municipal, Connecticut state, or Connecticut-based federally or State recognized tribal organizations that provide cultural-, humanities-, and arts-based projects and activities for the public. Please note that 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations must be incorporated in Connecticut. As long as your organization fits these criteria, you will be eligible for the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant and will receive a grant award (see our guidelines for more details on eligibility requirements). CT Humanities’ other project-based grant lines (Quick Grants, Planning Grants, and Implementation Grants) continue to support strong humanities projects such as thematic, interpretive exhibitions, discussion-based public programs, community reads projects, interpretive digital projects, and thematic tours of communities.

We are a museum that does not focus on the arts or humanities. Are we still eligible?
Yes, all CT museums are eligible for funding through the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant.

My organization is in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) status. Are we eligible to apply for the CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant?
If your organization has received 501(c)(3) status between January 1, 2022 and November 4, 2022, you will be required to upload your IRS 501(c)(3) Determination Letter in the grant application.

If you applied for 501(c)(3) status, but have not yet received your IRS Determination Letter, you will be required to upload proof of your application submission, including date of application.

Please note that applying for 501(c)(3) status before the grant’s application deadline makes you eligible for funding consideration. Your organization will still need to meet all other eligibility requirements as listed in the grant guidelines to receive funding.

My organization received a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant last year as a fiscally sponsored organization. Am I eligible to apply again this year?
Unfortunately, fiscally sponsored organizations are not eligible for the FY23 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant. If you have received or applied for 501(c)(3) status before November 4, 2022, you are eligible to apply for this grant. If you do not intend to apply for 501(c)(3) status by the grant deadline, you are not eligible to apply.

Accessing the Grants Portal:

I don’t know if my organization has an account. What should I do?
Email Lian Partridge at lpartridge@cthumanities.org and she can help determine if your organization already has an account and if so, update which individuals have access to it.

Every time I open the grant portal it starts a blank application. How do I get back to my application draft?
If you are clicking the link to apply from our website or email, it may be taking you to a blank application to start a new application. To log in to your account to work on an already started application, go to: https://www.grantinterface.com/Home/Logon?urlkey=connecticuthumanities.You should see your application drafts on your applicant dashboard. To work on your draft, click “edit.” To delete a blank draft, click “edit” on the blank draft, scroll to the bottom of the page, and click “Abandon Request.”

Award Size:

We received grant funding from the state/federal government/Department of Economic Community Development/Connecticut Office of the Arts/Connecticut Humanities. Will this impact my CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant award size?
No. The only factors that would impact your award size are 1) if your organization received funding through a line item in the FY23 State budget, 2) if your organization is a Connecticut State-operated Museum, or 3) if your organization is a Connecticut State college- or university-operated museum.

How do I know whether my organization received line-item funding from the Connecticut State legislature?
Line-item funding refers to organizations that are mentioned by name or within a consortium in the FY23 Connecticut State budget. It does not refer to state grants or any other grants you may have received.

How does CTH determine award sizes?
For FY23, CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant awards will range from $5,000 to $250,000. Awards will be calculated based on a $5,000 base award, plus a prorated percentage of the average of your organization’s last four years and current fiscal year’s operating expenses, subtracting any line item funding your organization may have already received in the State Budget. In FY22, the prorated percentage of operating expenses was 5.8025%.

CTH has approximately half the funding available for FY23 as we did for FY22, so we anticipate most awards will be approximately half of what organizations received last year. No award will be less than $5,000.

Filling Out an Application:

The application asks how we plan to spend the funds. What happens if our plan changes?
In the application, we ask you to briefly explain how you anticipate spending the funds. This information helps us to understand where the greatest need is for operating support. You will not be held to this plan for the use of funds and may use the funds for any operating expenses, as long as they are not listed in the Guidelines under “Funding Exclusions.”

What financial documents do I need to include in this application?
All applicants will need a board-approved budget for your current fiscal year and financial data for your most recently completed fiscal year.

For applicants who have not previously received a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant, you will need to provide financial data for the four previous fiscal years. Acceptable uploads could include audited financial statements, profit/loss statements, budgets with actuals, or any other document that shows your organization’s actual expenses and sources of revenue. Please note that we cannot accept 990s.

We hire many contractors throughout the year, some long-term and some short-term. What should I enter for “Contractors”?
A “contractor” is anyone you hire to help your organization achieve its mission who is not salaried, whether they are hired long- or short-term. Contractors could include musicians, curators, social media managers, etc. Do not include contractors whose work does not directly support your organization’s mission, such as electricians or construction-related contractors. We ask for information about contractors to get a better sense of how many people your organization hires to support its mission. As such, if the number of contractors you work with “on January 1” of any given year is not representative of the true number of contractors your organization works with, then please indicate the number of contractors that your organization hired that year.

How will funds be disbursed?
Funds are disbursed in two installments via check; 75% at the time of fully executed grant agreement and submitted grantee survey, and the remaining 25% after completion of the final report and closing grantee survey. Checks are mailed to the mailing address listed in your organization’s profile. You will find more information about the payment structure in your grant agreement.

Information SessionsVarious dates. For a list of information sessions and recordings of past information sessions, click here.

Application deadline: November 4, 2022 at 11:59pm

Award notification: Week of December 19, 2022

Contract and Grantee Survey Deadline: Week of January 16, 2023

Grant period: 12 months starting from the date of the award notification

 

Apply

Start a New Application

 

To log on to the CTH Grants Portal to continue working on your application draft, click here. You can find your application draft on your Applicant Dashboard.

Questions? Reach out to Lian Partridge at lpartridge@cthumanities.org

Information for FY22 Grantees

The following information is intended for organizations that currently have a CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant with a grant period of December 22, 2021 to December 21, 2022.

Resources for GranteesFAQs for GranteesGrant GuidelinesCT Cultural CensusOrganizational Comparison Data

Resources for Data Collection:

Demystifying Data Collection: How to Ask for Demographic Information from Visitors, Board, and Staff” with Susie Wilkening – YouTube Video

Data Collection Tips and Template – PDF

Editable Data Collection Template – Word

Tips for Collecting Visitation & Audience Data – PDF

Tips & Template for Collecting Staff & Board Demographic Data – PDF

FY22 Grantee Survey (for reference) – PDF

 

Resources for Public Relations:

Public Relations Guidelines – PDF

CT Humanities Logos

Sample Press Release – CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant – Word

Sample Letter of Appreciation to Legislators -Word

Other PR Toolkit Resources

 

Final Report:

The final report must be completed no later than December 31, 2022. In the final report, you will report on how your project went and how you spent grant funds. Please note that you must report on your full grant award even though you will not receive the remaining 25% of your award until you submit your final report.

To complete your final report, log in to the CTH grants portal. Under your project on your applicant dashboard you will see a line that says “CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant Final Report.” Click “View” to edit and submit your final report.

Why was my check amount smaller than my organization’s full grant award amount?
The payment structure for this grant is 75% at the time of contract and completion of grantee survey and 25% after completion of the final report and post-award grantee survey. You can find more information on this payment structure in your grant agreement.

Can I use these funds for things other than what was discussed in my application?

Yes. Since these are general operating funds, you can use your award for any organizational operating expenses as long as they are not listed as funding exclusions in the grant guidelines.

However, grantees are encouraged to use their funding to help advance their organization’s priorities that also support the following program priorities that helped make this funding available from the CT State Legislature:

  • Organizational staffing (bringing back employees or hours lost to the pandemic, hiring new staff, hiring CT contractors, etc.);
  • Activities that help your organization maintain and grow your ability to serve your community and the public;
  • Activities that help connect K-12 teachers and students to strong humanities and arts content;
  • Activities that improve your informational technology and digital infrastructure.

I’m not sure if I can use the funds for what my organization wants to use the funds for. What should I do?
If the activity/expense is not listed in the funding exclusions in the grant guidelines, you more than likely can use the funds for this activity/expense. If you are unsure, feel free to reach out to the Grants staff with your specific question.

The grantee survey asked for visitation and audience demographics data. How do I collect this data?
Data collection is important for CTH to continue to advocate for future funding to support the state’s cultural, humanities, and arts community. That said, we know that this is an area where many organizations are uncomfortable or would like assistance. Please view the “Resources for Grantees” tab for a series of tools, templates, and trainings to help CT Cultural Fund grantees start to better collect data from their respective audiences.

When will we receive the remaining 25% of our award?
To receive the remaining 25% of your award, submit your final report and post-award survey. To complete your final report, log in to the CTH grants portal. Under your project on your applicant dashboard you will see a line that says “CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant Final Report.” Click “View” to edit and submit your final report. You will find your post-award survey in your final report.

Please note that you must report on how your organization spent your full grant award, not just the 75% of your award you have received to date.

Once you’ve submitted your final report, please allow for three weeks for CTH staff to process your application and payment. You will receive the final 25% of your award via check to your mailing address.

Will there be future rounds of CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grants?
Yes. Please see the Information for Applicants at the top of this page for more information on the FY23 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant.

If I have an open CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant, do I need to complete the final report before applying for the second round of funding?
No. Organizations have until December 21, 2022 to spend their CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant funds, and final reports are due no later than December 31, 2022. Organizations can close out their CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant at any time once the full award has been expended. CTH will not be able to disburse funds for the second CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant award until your first CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant is closed. Waiting until December 31 to close your open grant may delay payment for this second round of funding by a few weeks, but will not impact your eligibility for funding.

Have a question not answered in the FAQs? Please feel free to reach out to CTH Grants staff.

Please review the FY22 grant guidelines for funding exclusions, eligible expenses, and other grant requirements.

View Grant Guidelines

Please note that these grant guidelines only apply to the FY22 CT Cultural Fund Operating Support Grant.

To review the data stories created using the data collected through this grant program, visit CT Cultural Census Data Stories. This data provides a snapshot of the CT Cultural Sector and how the pandemic has affected us. Data is organized into Statewide, By County, and Pandemic data stories.

To review the Organizational Comparison Data Sheets created using the data collected through this grant program, visit Organizational Comparison Data Sheets. These data sheets allow your organization to see how it compares to a typical organization in the same organization type, budget, or staff size.

 

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