To be eligible to apply for this grant, you must be:
• A nonprofit organization. Your organization must be incorporated in and conducting business in the State of Rhode Island, with 501(c)(3) tax exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service, registered with the Rhode Island Secretary of State, governed by a revolving board of directors, trustees or advisory board drawn from the community at large and shown to be actively involved in the governance of the organization (for confirmation that your nonprofit organization is incorporated in the State of Rhode Island, visit the Secretary of State’s online database). If your organization is incorporated in a state outside of Rhode Island, they may still apply for a grant. The organization must show that its principal place of business is in Rhode Island, it is registered with the Secretary of State’s office, it is producing programming predominantly in Rhode Island, and it is governed by a revolving board of directors, trustees or advisory board drawn from the Rhode Island community and shown to be actively involved in the governance of the organization. Please contact the Acting Deputy Director for more information.
• A non-exempt, Rhode Island-based organization using a fiscal sponsor that fits the above requirements.
How to apply if you are not a nonprofit organization.
You can still apply if you have a nonprofit organization as a fiscal sponsor. A fiscal sponsor is an organization that fits RISCA’s definition of a nonprofit organization who accepts a grant on behalf of the sponsored organization and is financially, administratively, and programmatically responsible for all conditions of the grant. The fiscal sponsor is also responsible for signing any grant documents and ensuring that the sponsored organization follows the rules of the grant program and submits their final report.
The fiscal sponsor cannot also be a project partner; if there is an organization that fits RISCA’s definition of an eligible nonprofit involved in the project, they can function as the lead applicant for the Project Grant for Organizations application.
Organizations that are interested in using a fiscal sponsor for a Project Grant for Organizations must contact the Acting Deputy Director prior to beginning an application for approval and to request a grant profile that links the organization to the fiscal sponsor.
When submitting a grant via a fiscal sponsor, a simple letter of agreement must be provided. This fiscal sponsorship letter may be used as a template. Typically, fiscal sponsors will charge an administrative fee ranging from 0-10% for administering grants depending on the degree of administrative support and bookkeeping they provide; this fee can be factored into your grant budget. A template fiscal sponsorship is available on our website and within the grant application.
Divisions, branches, departments, programs, or other subunits of nonprofit corporations, colleges, or universities are ineligible to apply on their own; applications may be submitted only by the parent corporation.
Parent corporations and fiscal sponsors may be grantees or applicants in the Project Grant for Organizations and other RISCA grant programs, including the General Operating Support for Organizations Program. In this case of organizations who are in the General Operating Support for Organizations program being fiscal sponsors, they may do so if they are not project partners – otherwise RISCA would be “double-funding” the organization if providing them with a Project Grant for Organizations and a General Operating Support for Organizations Grant.
In short, most any organization that fits RISCA’s definition of a nonprofit can be a fiscal sponsor – which means there are plenty out there you probably know!
Other rules to know.
- The maximum grant award in this category is $3,000 – but partial awards are VERY common. Because we are state agency, we have an obligation to provide grants for projects around the state – to make that possible, panels often recommend partial grant awards, typically 50% of the amount requested or higher. And because grant awards are determined by panels of different Rhode Island residents every grant cycle (see Who makes grant award decisions at RISCA?), how grant awards are distributed varies cycle to cycle. For example, in the last few years we typically see panels award grants to 40-60% of applicants in a given cycle of PGO; but only about 5-10% of applicants received full awards. (See I got a grant award! What do I do now? section for more details about what to do if you receive a partial award).
If you receive a partial award, you won’t be expected to accomplish the project as initially outlined. The Acting Deputy Director will follow-up with you after award announcements. The Acting Deputy Director can discuss with your possible modifications to the program that would still fit the parameters of your grant award and brainstorm other ways of fundraising (if necessary). You also have the option of declining the grant award with no penalties.
- Only one application per grant deadline – except if an organization is also a fiscal sponsor. An organization may only submit one application per grant deadline to the Project Grant for Organizations program. However, they may function as a fiscal sponsor to other organizations within the same grant program. But remember: a fiscal sponsor may not serve as a program partner on a sponsored application. If they are a program partner, they should be the applicant for the program.
- If you receive a grant, you must credit RISCA on all marketing materials. Grants awarded by RISCA are provided by the Rhode Island State General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, on behalf of the residents of Rhode Island. For that reason, awardees must credit RISCA on all printed material where funders and supporters are listed and on all printed programs.
- All RISCA grant awards are contingent upon the availability of funds from the Rhode Island State General Assembly and the National Endowment for the Arts. For example, if you apply for a PGO at the April 1deadline, that grant award is funded from the upcoming state fiscal year’s budget, which begins July 1. This is why project activities for a grant submitted after the April 1 deadline must start on or after July 1. However, any delays in passing the state budget will delay grant award notifications and processing of grant payments. If you are applying for a grant for a project that has activities beginning in July, contact the Acting Deputy Director – they can talk you through how applying for a PGO is still a great idea.
- Grant applications are considered on a competitive basis. Your application may meet all the eligibility criteria and be incredibly meaningful to the community you are engaging with. But remember that there are anywhere between 40-70 other applications in an application cycle that are also amazing! Because of the many high-quality projects, panels always wish to recommend more grant awards than they are able – this is another reason why partial awards are common, and why applicants who apply for the support for the same project year after year may not always receive a grant award, and that the grant award amounts may vary in amount cycle to cycle.