Slots: An organization may submit only one application at Challenge America’s April 27, 2023, deadline. If an organization applies to the Challenge America category, it may not also apply to the Grants for Arts Projects category during the same calendar year.
Parent (and Related) Organizations
Exceptions to the one-application rule are made only for parent organizations that have separately identifiable and independent components (e.g., a university campus that has a presenting organization and a radio station); this includes city or county governments.
Internal Deadline: Friday, March 3, 2023, 5pm PT
Submit to Grants.gov: April 27, 2023, 11:59pm ET
External Deadline: May 2 – May 16, 2023, 11:59pm ET
Award Type: Grant
Anticipated Award Amount & Cost Share: All garnts are for $10,000. Our grants cannot exceed 50% of the total cost of the project. All grants require a nonfederal cost share/match of at least 1 to 1. For example, if an organization receives a $10,000 grant, the total eligible project costs must be at least $20,000 and the organization must provide at least $10,000 toward the project from nonfederal sources.
Cost share/matching funds may be all cash, all in-kind (third-party) contributions, or a combination of cash and in-kind contributions. Cash match refers to cash contributions (including items, services, or organizational cash that are provided by the applicant), grants, and revenues that are expected or received for the project. In-kind match refers to donated space, supplies, volunteer services, etc. that are donated by individuals or organizations (third-party) other than the applicant. Cost share/matching funds cannot include funds from any NEA or other federal awards.
Who May Serve as PI: Previous NEA applicants recommended for funding in Grants for Arts Projects, Research Grants in the Arts, or Our Town FY 2021, FY 2022, or FY 2023 are not eligible to apply.
Previous Challenge America, American Rescue Plan (ARP), and CARES Act applicants and grantees are eligible to apply, as long as they were not recommended for FY 2021, FY 2022, or FY 2023 funding in Grants for Arts Projects, Research Grants in the Arts, or Our Town.
Link to Award: https://www.arts.gov/grants/challenge-america
Process for Limited Submissions
PIs must submit their application as a Limited Submission through the Research Initiatives and Infrastructure Application Portal: https://rii.usc.edu/oor-portal/.
Materials to submit include:
- (1) Single Page Proposal Summary (0.5” margins; single-spaced; font type: Arial, Helvetica, or Georgia typeface; font size: 11 pt). Page limit includes references and illustrations. Pages that exceed the 1-page limit will be excluded from review.
- (2) CV – (5 pages maximum)
Note: The portal requires information about the PIs and Co-PIs in addition to department and contact information, including the 10-digit USC ID#, Gender, and Ethnicity. Please have this material prepared before beginning this application.
Challenge America offers support primarily to small organizations for projects in all artistic disciplines that extend the reach of the arts to groups/communities with rich and dynamic artistic and cultural contributions to share that are underserved. The program is rooted in principles that include, but are not limited to, our recognition that:
- Some groups/communities and some geographic areas with rich cultural identities have limited grant funding opportunities, and/or have been historically underserved by national arts funding;
- Some small organizations may face barriers to accessing grant funding; and
- Some applicants to the NEA may benefit from enhanced technical assistance resources.
Challenge America seeks to address these potential barriers for organizations seeking funding. The program features an abbreviated application, a standardized $10,000 grant amount, and a robust structure of technical assistance to facilitate entry to NEA funding opportunities. This category may be a good entry point for organizations that are new to applying for federal funding.
First-time applicants to the NEA, as well as previous NEA applicants who have not been recommended for funding in any of the three most recent Fiscal Years (FYs 2021, 2022, or 2023) in any of the following grant programs, are eligible to apply:
- Grants for Arts Projects,
- Research Grants in the Arts, or
- Our Town.
Challenge America supports arts projects in all artistic disciplines, including Artist Communities, Arts Education, Dance, Design, Folk & Traditional Arts, Literary Arts, Local Arts Agencies, Media Arts, Museums, Music, Musical Theater, Opera, Presenting & Multidisciplinary Arts, Theater, and Visual Arts.
Projects must extend the reach of the arts to groups/communities with rich and dynamic cultural identities that are underserved. Possible projects include, but are not limited to: arts programming, including commissioning or presentation of artists or artwork; marketing and promotional activities; and organizational planning. Projects may consist of one or more specific events or activities, and should not cover all of your programming for a season. We do not support seasonal or general operating support.
Carefully read the application Review Criteria and address those criteria in the application.
What do we mean by underserved groups/communities?
The term “underserved,” as defined by our legislation and agency policy, refers to those whose opportunities to experience the arts are limited relative to: geography, ethnicity, economics, or disability. At least one of these characteristics must be evident in the proposed project. Age alone (e.g., youth, seniors) does not qualify a group as underserved.
As applicable, engagement with the following constituencies is encouraged (in accordance with White House Executive Orders), including but not limited to:
- Historically Black Colleges and Universities,
- Tribal Colleges and Universities,
- American Indian and Alaska Native tribes,
- Predominantly Black Institutions,
- Hispanic Serving Institutions,
- Asian American and Pacific Islander communities, and
- Organizations that support the independence and lifelong inclusion of people with disabilities.
Projects may focus on reaching a particular group or demographic; however, they may not be exclusionary under Federal civil rights laws and policies prohibiting discrimination. This extends to hiring practices, artist selection processes, and audience engagement. For additional information, refer to this archived webinar: Things to Know Before You Apply: Federal Civil Rights and Your Grants Application.
To view examples of the types of projects we have previously funded, visit our Recent Grants Search tool.
Visit our Institutionally Limited Submission webpage for more updates and other announcements.