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2019 Decentralization Grant Guidelines

Intent to Apply: Deadline November 1, 2018 – Click here for Intent to Apply Form


Information Sessions: Click here to RSVP

Sept 11
4:00 – 6:00 PM
Marlboro Library
Sept 12
2:00 – 4:00 PM
Goshen Library
Saturday Sept 15 10:00 AM – 12:00 PM Arts Mid-Hudson, Poughkeepsie
Sept 21
4:00 – 6:00 PM
Starr Library, Rhinebeck
Sept 24
5:00 – 7:00 PM
Thornwillow Institute, Newburgh
Sept 25
2:00 – 4:00 PM
Pine Hill Community Center
Oct 1
10:00 AM – 12:00 PM
Locust Grove, Poughkeepsie
Oct 2
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Monroe Library
Oct 9
6:00 – 8:00 PM
LGBTQ Center, Kingston
Oct 11
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Pawling Free Library
Oct 19
6:00 – 8:00 PM
Orange County Arts Council
Oct 23
6:00 – 8:00 PM
Howland Public Library, Beacon
Oct 26
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM
Highland Library

Make a technical assistance (TA) appointment with the AMH Grants Team.

One-on-one appointments are available with our Grants Team to support you through the application process. Please reach out for help! No question is too small. To make an appointment:
Call 845.454.3222
Email: [email protected] with “TA Appt.” in the subject line


How do I begin the process?

Begin by reading the guidelines thoroughly. Pay close attention to the Decentralization Grant Program’s goals, funding priorities, fundable expenses, and project requirements.

Attend an Informational Session. The session will help clarify:

  • Who is eligible to apply in each category
  • What expenses are fundable through the Decentralization Grant Program
  • How to complete your application and the documents you will need to submit
  • How the panel review process works and how submissions are selected to receive funding
  • Tips on how to prepare a competitive submission
  • Additional resources available to you


Some important points to consider when you are beginning the process:

  • If you are an individual artist or non-incorporated groupand plan to apply for a Project Grant – you will need to find a nonprofit organization to serve as a partner or sponsor.  The nonprofit must be located in the same county in which the project will take place.
  • Any applicant planning to apply for an Arts Learning Grant for an In-School project will need to identify a partner K-12 Public School,located in the same county as your residence (Individual Artist) or legal address (organization). Individuals applying for an Arts Learning Grant for an Out-of-School project will need to identify a partner nonprofit organization.
  • Individual Artist Commission applicants will need to identify a communitythat you will engage either during the creation of your work and/or the presentation of your work. Again, refer to the guidelines for information on all three of the grant categories.

If you are beginning to develop your project idea, this Quick Grant Brainstorm Tree is a helpful resource you can use.


I have never written a grant before – how do I start?

Have no fear! Applying to the Decentralization Grant Program is a wonderful way to learn how to write a grant, and the Arts Mid-Hudson Grants Team is here to help through resources and technical assistance.

The most important tip is to begin well in advance. Start by reading through the Guidelines and then outline the idea for your project. Some important aspects include:

  • Who are the key players involved in this project?
  • Where and when will the project take place?
  • Who is the identified audience for your project?
  • How and where will you promote your project?
  • Which parts of the project do you need funding from the Decentralization Grant Program for and how will you raise additional funds?

Now that you have an idea of the key elements of your project, look back at the Decentralization Grant Program’s funding priorities. Does the outline you created already align with some of these priorities? Almost no project will align with all of them, but you will have a more competitive proposal if you are meeting 1-3 of them. If your project does not meet any of them try to think of some ways that you can that are within your capacity as an organization or individual. If you need assistance brainstorming ways to meet the Decentralization Grant Program’s funding priorities, please reach out to AMH’s Grants Team.

Next, read through the application questions. You can read them on Submittable, where all applications must be submitted online, or download a workable word document so you can work offline. Get a grasp on what details and documents you will need to provide for your application well in advance so you have enough time to get what you need to complete the application.

When answering narrative questions be clear in describing your project, answer the questions thoroughly, and pay attention to word limits. Word limits are new for 2018 and are there to help you answer your questions succinctly. A well written grant proposal shows that the project has been thought through, and all the pieces are in place for a successful event. The review panel is hesitant to recommend public funds to a project that they cannot understand or one that may not happen due to insufficient planning.

Please read over this short resource Grant Writing Basics for some additional tips. Once you have a draft of your application written, make a technical assistance appointment so that someone on the Grants Team can check for eligibility, provide feedback, and help strengthen your proposal.

I am an Individual artist – in which category should I apply?

If you are an individual artist and have an idea for a project, please carefully consider whether your proposal fits into the Project Grant category or the Individual Artist Commission category.  There are significant differences between the two.

You may apply for a Project Grant to support an activity such as a workshop, exhibit, concert, performance, etc.  If you apply for a Project Grant, you will need to identify a nonprofit organization as a partner, fiscal sponsor, or direct applicant. Project Grant funds cannot be used towards the creation or commissioning of new work, although funds may support costs associated with the presentation of existing work.

The Individual Artist Commission supports the creation of new work, in which you engage a defined community in your creative process and/or  in a public presentation.  Artists apply directly in this category and funding is set at $2,500.

An individual artist may also apply for an Arts Learning Grant, but must apply with a partner public school for in-school projects or a nonprofit organization as a partner, fiscal sponsor, or as a hired artist if the organization is applying directly.

Please refer to the Guidelines for full information on eligibility.


When must the project take place?

All Projects must take place between March 1, 2018 and December 31, 2018. The Decentralization Grant Program does not fund projects retroactively so any projects taking place between January 1, 2018 – February 28, 2018 are not eligible. It is acceptable for preparatory work to begin during those two months, but the actual activity must take place during the funding period.


What is the timeline of the Decentralization Program?

August 2018                               Decentralization Grant Program Guidelines become available

Sept. – Oct. 2018                       Info Sessions are held for new and returning applicants

November 1, 2018                    Intent to Apply submitted online (highly recommended, not required)

November 15, 2018                  Application Deadline @ 11:59 pm EST

January 2019                              Review Panels convene

Mid-February 2019                   AMH Board meets to approve panel recommendations

Early March 2019                      Applicants receive funding notification

Mid-March 2019                        Appeals Deadline (TBA)



May I submit more than one funding request?

A single organization, individual, or fiscally-sponsored applicant may submit up to three (3) requests in any combination of categories, with the exception of the Individual Artist Commission category. An artist may submit only one request in the Individual Artist category and cannot reapply if funded in previous years. The total combined requested amount by a single organization, individual or fiscally- sponsored applicant cannot exceed $5,000. Organizations serving as fiscal sponsors are exempt from the three request limit and the $5,000 maximum. Please note that any artist applying for the Individual Artist Commission cannot exceed a request of $2,500 in the combined categories of Project Grant and/or Arts Learning Grant.


Do I have to submit any additional materials with my grant application?

Yes. These vary according to individual applications. See the online application and guidelines for complete details.


What is fiscal sponsorship?

Please see this webpage for helpful info about fiscal sponsorship, from the Foundation Center.

A fiscal sponsor is an eligible nonprofit organization that agrees to extend its nonprofit status to the artist/group. If awarded a grant, the contract will be executed by the fiscal sponsor, who will receive funds for the project and pass them on to the sponsored individual or group. A fiscal sponsor does not need to be someone who directly funds the project.


The project must take place in the county where the fiscal sponsor is located, but the sponsored artist/group does not have to be located in the same county as the fiscal sponsor. For this reason, some artists or non-incorporated groups may choose to seek fiscal sponsorship over partnership, so they may apply for a program in a county outside of their residence.


For example: if an artist whose residence is in Ulster County would like to apply for funding to hold a workshop in the City of Poughkeepsie, that artist could apply with a fiscal sponsor in Dutchess County, or even better, located in Poughkeepsie.


Some fiscal sponsors will take a percentage of the grant money for admin hours or other costs associated with serving as your sponsor. Discuss these details with your sponsor early in the process.


What is a partnership?

A partner organization is an eligible nonprofit organization that agrees to partner with an individual artist or unincorporated group. If awarded the grant, the contract will be executed by the individual artist or group, who will receive funds for the project directly. The legal applicant will be the individual artist or unincorporated group, and the nonprofit partner will serve as an overseer of the project. The partner nonprofit must be located in the same county as the individual artist or unincorporated group. Partner organizations are not required to contribute cash to the project, but the application and project will be strengthened if the partner organization contributes in-kind, assists with promotion, provides space for the project, etc.


How do I find a nonprofit partner or fiscal sponsor Project Grant or Arts Learning Grant?

Please begin by reading this resource How to Find a Fiscal Sponsor, which provides plenty of information on how to find nonprofit organizations to work with on your project.


The most important thing you can do is begin early in the application period because finding a nonprofit organization to serve as a partner or fiscal sponsor is a process. Be prepared that nonprofits cannot serve as a partner or fiscal sponsor for these and other reasons:


  • A nonprofit might already be applying for funding for their own programming
  • A nonprofit could be ineligible to apply because they have applied directly to NYSCA for 2018 funding
  • A nonprofit might not have the capacity to serve as a sponsor or partner
  • Some eligible partners or fiscal sponsors may need to have the proposal approved by their board or town officials which could be a lengthy process


Before you approach a nonprofit organization, do your research on the programming that organization is doing. What is the mission of the organization, and how might that align with your project goals? If this grant application is your first foray into public arts programming, it might be to your benefit to work with an established arts organization, instead of a non-arts nonprofit.


If you are interested in a working with a nonprofit organization, attend some of their events or schedule a meeting with an individual at that organization. If you are unsure of how to approach the organization, you can contact Arts Mid-Hudson and we will assist in making a connection.


Arts Mid-Hudson’s Decentralization Grant info sessions and professional development workshops are great opportunities to network with representatives from nonprofit organizations.


And lastly, fill out the Intent to Apply Form for the Decentralization Grant and note if you are looking for a partner. If you let us know that you are looking we help make connections with other interested parties.



If I or my organization received funding in the past, may I still apply?

If you have received funding in the past, you are eligible to apply again only within the Project Grant and Arts Learning Categories. However, prior grant funding does not guarantee continued support. Each application is reviewed in the context of the current program guidelines, funding priorities, applicant pool, and evaluative criteria. The review panel will also consider compliance with the previous contract and reporting requirements.  For previously funded Project Grants, the panel also looks to see the project’s growth, movement toward self-sustainability, and/or how the project addresses the community’s needs.


How does my organization demonstrate nonprofit status?

Your organization must submit one of the following documents that apply to your organization:

Letter of Determination from the IRS indicating tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3)

Documentation of charter by the New York State Board of Regents under section 216 of the New York State Education Law

Documentation of incorporation under Section 402 of the New York State Not-for-Profit Corporation Law

Current New York State Bureau of Charities (Office of the Attorney General) filing receipt

Official authorization as an arm of local government (i.e., a formal letter on official stationery signed by the appropriate county, city, town or village executive)

The address on the document must be a Dutchess, Orange, or Ulster County address.


I work for a nonprofit organization – how do I find an artist to hold a workshop, concert or event?

Let Arts Mid-Hudson know what you are looking for and we will do our best to connect you with an artist. You can do this by asking us directly, in discussion during a technical assistance appointment, or by filling out the Intent to Apply Form.


You can also attend an Information Session or professional development workshop with Arts Mid-Hudson to network with others.


How do I log in to Submittable?


Go to to create an account. Remember your credentials, as you must login in every time you return to the Submittable page where you can access your drafts and sent applications. If you have an account from last year’s application, you may use the same info, and you will also be able to locate your prior applications. If you forgot your password, you can reset it with Submittable, under the “Sign In Now” box, as shown on the screen above.


Each time you return to Submittable, return automatically to your saved application. If you find that you get to the main Submittable page, simply click the “Log In” button at the upper right of the page to log in to your saved draft.

Don’t forget to save your work! On the bottom of the application, there is a “Save Draft” button next to “Submit”. Nobody likes their hard work to be erased. Save, save, save!


How do I submit more than one grant in the same category on Submittable?

If you are planning to submit to a grant category (Project Grant or Arts Learning Grant) multiple times, you must submit one complete application before the other. Submittable doesn’t allow us to save multiple drafts of the same submission form. Once you have submitted the first complete application, you can then go back to our category list page and start a fresh form. A work around is that you can create distinct accounts on Submittable with distinct email addresses, and submit the applications under the distinct email accounts.


I can’t find my saved draft in Submittable.

Try this article. Scroll down for more helpful info on the Submittable interface.


I am having a problem with Submittable.

If you are having trouble with your Submittable account, accessing files, or uploading documents, please contact Submittable directly.


How do I find my legislative districts?

For legislative district information go to:, and under “Find My Senator”, type in your address to find your Federal Congress, NYS Senate & NYS Assembly districts. Please check to see if your district has changed, as we use this info to let legislators know of the projects that are funded, and for NYSCA reporting purposes.


I don’t have Microsoft Excel – how do I get a budget form?

If you don’t have Microsoft Excel, download the appropriate file to your computer. You can open this file on Google Sheets and work on it online. When you are finished, save the file as a .pdf and upload it to your Submittable application. For a step-by-step guide, please read our Budget Instructions.


What is an underserved, under-represented, or untapped community?

Underserved communities are comprised of individuals who have limited access to art programs, services or resources due to geography, race, economic status, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, religion or disability or other demonstrable factors. These are groups whose culture or point of view is rarely explored in our region. The term “community” can refer to a group of people with a common heritage or characteristics, whether or not living in the same place.


If I receive grant funding, what are my responsibilities?

  • Sign and adhere to the terms of a project contract
  • Sign and adhere to a Publicity Agreement which includes crediting both AMH and NYSCA for funding on all materials according to language used in the project contract as well as including logos on all printed material relative to your funded project
  • Attend and participate in the Decentralization Grant awards ceremony to be held in Spring, 2018
  • File reports on time as identified in the project contract including a final report
  • Provide copies of publications and promotional materials related to the funded project
  • Provide AMH with an advance schedule of funded events
  • Provide complimentary tickets for AMH auditors if applicable
  • Notify AMH, in a timely fashion, of any changes to your project including artists, dates, times and places where events are to be held


Is there an appeals process?

An appeals process is in place for applicants who are denied funding and can demonstrate that information was withheld and/or misrepresented, and/or that an improper procedure occurred. Dissatisfaction with the funding decision is not justification for an appeal.  Applicants denied funding will be furnished with the entire Appeals Process and Procedures when notified in writing of the Board’s determination.