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Decentralization Grant Guidelines

Deadline to Apply: September 25, 2019


Information Sessions: Click here to RSVP

July 25
12:30 – 2:30 PM
Pine Hill Community Center
July 30
3:00 – 5:00 PM
Arts Mid-Hudson, Poughkeepsie
July 31
4:30 – 6:30 PM
Monroe Free Library
Aug 1
4:30 – 6:30 PM
Starr Library, Rhinebeck
Aug 13 4:30 – 6:30 PM
Kingston City Hall
Aug 15
3:00 – 5:00 PM
Port Jervis Free Library
Aug 21
3:00 – 5:00 PM  Howland Public Library, Beacon
Thursday Aug 22
4:00 – 6:00 PM
The Studio at Shadowland Stages, Ellenville
Tuesday Aug 27 2:30 – 4:30 PM Newburgh Free Library
Thursday Aug 29 3:30 – 5:30 PM Millbrook Library
Wednesday Sept 4 5:30 – 7:30 PM Highland Public Library
Thursday Sept 5  3:00 – 5:00 PM Village of Walden

** Full addresses can be found in the Guidelines


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

2020 DEC FAQ (printable version)

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
  • Which 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 your fiscal 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 nonprofit to serve as your fiscal sponsor.


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?
  • For which parts of the project do you need funding from the Decentralization Grant Program 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 1-2 of them. If your project does not meet any of the funding priorities 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. A well-written grant proposal shows that the project has been thought through, and all the pieces are in place for a successful project. The review panel is hesitant to recommend public funds to a project that lacks sufficient planning, is difficult to understand, or in instances where the use of the grant funds is unclear.


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 fiscal sponsor. Project Grant funds cannot be used for 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 either engage a defined community in your creative process and/or in a public presentation. In this category, 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 or a nonprofit organization as a fiscal sponsor for in-school projects, or as a hired artist for out-of-school projects.


Please refer to the Guidelines for full information on eligibility.


When must the project take place?

All projects must take place between January 1, 2020 and December 31, 2020.


What is the timeline of the Decentralization Program?


July 2019:  Decentralization Grant Program Guidelines become available

July – Sept. 2019: Info Sessions are held for new and returning applicants

September 10, 2019: Intent to Apply submitted online (not required but highly recommended)

September 25, 2019: Application Deadline @ 11:59 pm EST

October 2019: Review Panels convene

November 2019: AMH Allocations Committee meets to approve panel recommendations

November 2019: Applicants receive funding notification

November 2019: Appeals Deadline

January 2020: Awards Reception



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 the past three 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?

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 seek fiscal sponsorship in order to do a project outside their county of 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.


How do I find a fiscal sponsor to apply to the 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 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 2020 funding
  • A nonprofit might not have the capacity to serve as a sponsor
  • Some eligible 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 fiscal sponsor. 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?

Yes! If you have received funding in the past, you are eligible to apply again to the Project Grant and Arts Learning Categories. If you have not been funded in the Individual Artist Commission category, you can continue to apply. If you receive an Individual Artist Commission, you are ineligible to apply for three years.


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.


Each time you return to Submittable, you 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 wants 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 single 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 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 and/or under-represented community?

Underserved communities in this context 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. Under-represented groups 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 living in the same place or not.


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 January 2020
  • 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.