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Our Town

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Agencies for Arts and
Culture Programs that Address Community Issues

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National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)

Deadline Date:

08/06/20 11:59 PM ET - submittal; Submit applications to the Applicant Portal by 08/18/20, 11:59 PM ET.


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Grants to USA and territories government agencies and nonprofits for collaborative arts and cultural projects that address community issues. Applicants are advised that required registrations must be completed prior to applying. Eligible projects are those that utilize a partnership between a local government entity and nonprofit organization, one of which must be a cultural organization, and should engage in partnership with other sectors, such as agriculture and food, economic development, education and youth, environment and energy, health, housing, public safety, transportation, and workforce development.

Our Town is the National Endowment for the Arts’ creative placemaking grants program. Through project-based funding, NEA supports projects that integrate arts, culture, and design activities into efforts that strengthen communities by advancing local economic, physical, and/or social outcomes. Successful Our Town projects ultimately lay the groundwork for systemic changes that sustain the integration of arts, culture, and design into local strategies for strengthening communities. 

NEA encourages applications for artistically excellent projects that:

  • Bring new attention to or elevate key community assets and issues, voices of residents, local history, or cultural infrastructure.
  • Inject new or additional energy, resources, activity, people, or enthusiasm into a place, community issue, or local economy.
  • Envision new possibilities for a community or place - a new future, a new way of overcoming a challenge, or approaching problem-solving.
  • Connect communities, people, places, and economic opportunity via physical spaces or new relationships.

    Projects can include activities such as:

      • Arts Engagement
      • Cultural Planning
      • Design
      • Artist and Creative Industry Support

      Our Town project outcomes may include:

      • Economic Change
      • Physical Change
      • Social Change
      • Systems Change

      For additional information about these activities and outcomes, see the URL for Full Text link below.

      The Our Town program seeks to leverage creative placemaking and innovative partnerships in responding to evolving and emerging local community needs. These may include efforts to support artists and cultural organizations in addressing impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, artist unemployment, racial inequity, and other needs that may not be clear at this specific time.

      GrantWatch ID#:

      GrantWatch ID#: 172667

      Estimated Size of Grant:

      Cost share/matching grants range from $25,000 to $150,000, with a minimum cost share/match equal to the grant amount.

      You must request a grant amount at one of the following levels: $25,000, $50,000, $75,000, $100,000, or $150,000.

      Term of Contract:

      NEA support of a project may start on July 1, 2021, or any time thereafter. A grant period of up to two years is allowed. Allow sufficient time to plan, execute, and close out your project. The two-year period is intended to allow an applicant sufficient time to plan, execute, and close out its project, not to repeat a one-year project for a second year.

      Any planning costs that are included as part of the project must be incurred during your established period of performance.


      • City or township governments
      • County governments
      • Independent school districts
      • Native American tribal governments (Federally recognized)
      • Nonprofits having a 501(c)(3) status with the IRS, other than institutions of higher education
      • Private institutions of higher education
      • Public and State controlled institutions of higher education
      • See RFP and/or Grant Guidelines for full eligibility
      • Special district governments
      • State governments

      Additional Eligibility Criteria:

      A key to the success of creative placemaking is involving the arts in partnership with committed governmental, nonprofit, and private sector leadership. All applications must demonstrate a partnership that will provide leadership for the project. These partnerships must involve two primary partners, as defined by these guidelines:

      1. Nonprofit organization
      2. Local government entity

      One of these two primary partners must be a cultural (arts or design) organization.

      Additional partners are encouraged and may include an appropriate variety of entities such as arts organizations and artists, design professionals and design centers, state level government agencies, foundations, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, real estate developers, business leaders, community organizations, councils of government, rural or regional planning organizations, transportation agencies, special districts, educational organizations, as well as public and governmental entities; and should engage in partnership with other sectors (such as agriculture and food, economic development, education and youth, environment and energy, health, housing, public safety, transportation, and workforce development).

      For additional eligibility requirements, see:

      For a list of activities that are not funded, see:

      Pre-Application Information:


      - Part 1: Submit to, August 6, 2020 by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time. Prepare application material so that it's ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens
      - Part 2: Submit to Applicant Portal, August 11, 2020 at 9:00 a.m., Eastern Time, to August 18, 2020 at 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time
      - Earliest Announcement of Award or Rejection: April 2021
      - Earliest Beginning Date for the Period of Performance: July 1, 2021

      To allow time to resolve any problems you might encounter, finalize your registration by at least July 16, 2020, and submit to by at least July 27, 2020. You are required to use See "How to Prepare and Submit an Application" for further information.

      Grants cannot exceed 50% of the total cost of the project. All grants require a nonfederal match of at least 1 to 1. These matching funds may be all cash or a combination of cash and in-kind contributions. You may include in your Project Budget matching funds that are proposed but not yet committed at the time of the application deadline.

      Federal funds are not allowed to be used as cost share/match for federal grants (2 CFR §200.306). In addition, the Arts Endowment’s enabling legislation does not allow any federal funds to be used as cost share/match for its grants. This includes the Paycheck Protection Program from the SBA, as well as other federal funding, including funding from:
      - Corporation for National and Community Service (e.g., AmeriCorps)
      - National Endowment for the Humanities
      - National Park Service
      - National Science Foundation
      - U.S. Department of Agriculture
      - U.S. Department of Education (e.g., 21st Century Community Learning Centers)
      - U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development
      - Or an entity that receives federal appropriations such as the Corporation for Public Broadcasting or Amtrak

      All applicants must have a DUNS number ( and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM, and maintain an active SAM registration until the application process is complete, and should a grant be made, throughout the life of the award. Finalize a new or renew an existing registration at least two weeks before the application deadline. This action should allow you time to resolve any issues that may arise. Failure to comply with these requirements may result in your inability to submit your application. Maintain documentation (with dates) of your efforts to register or renew at least two weeks before the deadline.

      Note that organizations are eligible to apply for Arts Endowment funding even if they have applied for and received funding from the SBA, provided the organization isn't double-claiming any individual's salary. Recipients will be required to keep documentation to show which employees are being paid from each funding source so that the government isn't paying more than 100 percent of a salary. Applicants with additional questions about SBA programs should contact the SBA directly as we are unable to provide guidance on programs other than our own.

      NOTE: If you are recommended for a grant, your project may be subject to the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and/or the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).This review and approval process may take up to several months to complete and may delay your project's start date. The results of the review may impact NEA's ability to make a grant award/ability to release grant funds. If you are recommended for an award which may have historic preservation or environmental concerns (NHPA/NEPA), you will be notified and asked to provide additional information. Thorough and complete information for all project activities and locations will expedite the review. The Arts Endowment cannot release an award and/or grant funds until the NHPA/NEPA review is complete.

      If more than one application is submitted from a single lead applicant, local government, or within the same geographic area, the capacity of the lead applicant, local government, or geographic area to carry out and sustain multiple Our Town projects will be considered in the review of applications.

      Exploring Our Town:

      Creative Placemaking Resources:

      Application Calendar:

      Award Information:

      Application Review:


      How to Apply:

      How to Submit to

      Submit to Applicant Portal:

      Online Tutorial:

      View this opportunity on

      Contact Information:

      Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

      Application Portal (available beginning on June 19):
      202/682-5082 Voice/T.T.Y.

      Individuals who do not use conventional print should contact the Arts Endowment's Accessibility Office at 202/682-5532 for help in acquiring an audio recording of the guidelines.

      CFDA Number:


      Funding or Pin Number:


      URL for Full Text (RFP):

      Geographic Focus:

      USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

      USA Territories: American Samoa (USA)   Guam (USA)   Puerto Rico (USA)   Virgin Islands (USA)   Northern Mariana Islands (USA)

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