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SC Arts Commission Grants Programs

General Operating Support for Organizations (GOS) Grant Guidelines


Please note: The guidelines for this grant category will be updated no later than December 14, 2017 for the upcoming February 2018 deadline. The following is for reference only.



Application Deadline: February 15, 2017 – GROUP 2 and new applicants ONLY. Applications will only be accepted from Group 2 organizations and new applicant organizations.


Need help?

Your county coordinator is your contact person and resource for your SCAC grant activities. If you have questions, problems, or otherwise need assistance regarding any aspect of these guidelines or your application (e.g. technical difficulties, interpretation of guidelines, etc.), please contact your county coordinator.


The purpose of General Operating Support is to strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, communities, and other organizations throughout the state by providing consistent, unrestricted support for basic operations. Applicants range from emerging to established arts organizations.


Twelve-month Operating Support for South Carolina arts organizations with primary missions involving these artistic functions: producing, service, presenting, and/or education.


Arts councils may also submit a separate application for subgranting of additional S.C. Arts Commission funds to local applicants. Please see Subgranting guidelines for details.

Eligibility Requirements

Your organization may apply for this grant if it meets all of these requirements:

  1. has a primary mission focused on the arts
    serves as the primary arts provider in your community

  2. is either
    • a nonprofit community-based arts organization
      • currently registered with the S.C. Secretary of State's Office
      • reflecting S.C. as the primary address on all current official organizational documents
      • with federal tax exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service
        applying through a tax exempt fiscal agent/receiver organization (Note: New applicants who are applying through a fiscal agent/receiver will need to submit a letter that outlines the working relationship and responsibilities of both parties.)
    • OR
    • a unit of local government

  3. has completed at least one fiscal year of programming

  4. has a valid DUNS number.
    In accordance with federal government policy, the S.C. Arts Commission requires all organizations to include a valid DUNS number as part of their grant applications. Applications will not be accepted from organizations that do not have a DUNS number. What's a DUNS number, and how do I get one?
    • If using a fiscal agent/receiver, separate DUNS numbers are required of both the applicant organization and the fiscal agent/receiver.
    • Individual schools may use their school district's DUNS number and do not need to register separately.
    • All other organization applicants, including private schools, must provide a DUNS number.
    • Individual artists are not required to obtain a DUNS number.

  5. is either
    • a current GOS grantee in the Applicant Group being accepted at this deadline
    • not a current GOS grantee.


  • Organizations receiving General Operating Support may not apply for Quarterly Project Support (except for requests for staff professional development or cultural district related activities).
  • Organizations with annual expense budgets of $75,000 or less may apply for General Operating Support (GOS) or Operating Support for Small Organizations (OSS), but not both.

    Frequently Asked Question: What's the difference between a GOS grant and an OSS grant?

    Operating Support for Small Organizations (OSS) grants are specifically designed for small arts organizations, with expense budgets of $75,000 or less. If your budget meets this criteria, you may apply in either operating support category (GOS or OSS), but not both.


    The main differences between OSS and GOS are:

    • OSS grants have a maximum award of $2,500, with a 2:1 match. GOS grants have no maximum award, with a 3:1 match.
    • OSS grantees reapply annually. GOS grantees reapply every three years.
    • The OSS application is shorter, and some would say, simpler than the GOS application.
  • Applicants may submit only one application per deadline.


February 15, 2017 – Group 2 and new applicant organizations ONLY.


The Applicant Groups List shows which group you are in and when you can apply for funding.


New applicant organizations are defined as any arts organization that is not currently receiving GOS funding in any of the three groups. If you are not a current GOS grantee, please contact your county coordinator to discuss eligibility before beginning the application process.


The initial application will take time to complete, so we strongly advise you to begin well in advance of the deadline. The online application is opened in December of each year for the upcoming deadline. Applications must be submitted via the Online SC Arts Resources (OSCAR) application process by 5:00 p.m. on February 15, 2017. Late applications cannot be accepted. The OSCAR submissions will be blocked after the deadline.

Grant Period

July 1-June 30 (fiscal year). Grants are awarded on 3-year cycle of approval. Separate contracts will be issued each year. Read the Final Report section for details.


There is no pre-set funding range. Grant awards will be based on organizational budgets, application reviews, and the availability of funds. Awards may vary from year to year and are contingent on appropriation of funds by the S.C. General Assembly.


A minimum of 3:1 (grantee:SCAC) cash match is required. Each dollar awarded must be matched with $3 cash. No in-kind expenses are allowed as part of the applicant’s match in this category.


How to Apply


Information about how to apply at the February 2018 deadline will be posted by December 4, 2017.



Application Components, Review Criteria and Weightings:

Section 1 - Organization Information

The first section contains a brief questionnaire about your organization. You must confirm that you have completed or updated the existing applicant information section in order to advance to the remainder of the application.


The balance of the application is divided into three sections, with each section assigned an overall point value:
Section 2 - Organizational Health (30 points)
Section 3 - Programs and Services; as they relate to the organization's mission (40 points)
Section 4 - Public Participation (30 points)


Sections should be completed in sequential order. However, you may complete the application in phases. For many questions, you will simply pick the appropriate response from a checklist. No full narrative is required.


Section 2 - Organizational Health (30 points)

An organization that receives a high score on this section will

  • have governance, management and staffing appropriate and sufficient to support the work of the organization. (This is not meant to imply that management and staff must be paid professionals. For some organizations, competent volunteers are appropriate and sufficient)
  • invest in learning by its board and staff
  • have practical, appropriate methods for well-informed planning and evaluation
  • have sufficient income to support stable programming and access to cash to cover occasional shortfalls

Helpful Hint for Completing the Operating Budget Table


New Applicants

Report your last completed fiscal year’s Income and Expense budget.


  • State Fiscal year: July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016
  • Federal Fiscal Year: October 1, 2015 through September 30, 2016
  • Calendar Fiscal Year: January 1, 2015 through December 31, 2015


Returning Applicants

For S.C. Arts Commission operating support grants:

  • General Operating Support (GOS)
  • Operating Support for Small Organizations (OSS)
  • Statewide Operating Support (SWO)

Report fiscal year Income and Expense budget from your submitted FY16 Final Report. (Note: If you have discovered that the figures you gave in that final report were incorrect, please contact your coordinator about submitting a corrected FY2016 final report budget.)


Section 3 - Programs and Services, as they relate to the organization's mission (40 points)

An organization that receives a high score on this section will

  • offer programs and services that are closely aligned with its mission
  • show breadth and quality in its programs and services, within the scope of its mission
  • have the capacity to provide these programs and services effectively
  • offer programs and services that are appropriate for the people, organizations, and communities for whom they are intended
  • demonstrate a clear understanding of what "success" means for the organization
  • have practical strategies for reaching its goals and improving the quality of its programs and services


Section 4 - Public Participation (30 points)

An organization that receives a high score on this section will

  • have a clear understanding of who its participants are and are not, including an informed awareness of why people do or don’t participate
  • have varied, effective methods of engaging and maintaining participants
  • offer an appropriate (for the organization and the community) range of opportunities for broad participation
  • have organizational characteristics - of board, staff, processes, programs, facilities, etc. - that promote and facilitate broad participation
  • honestly assess its participation issues and have practical strategies and partnerships for building participation within the scope of the mission and the current context of the organization

    Important note: By "participation" we mean active involvement of any sort by anyone with your organization. Participation includes attendance at events, certainly, but it also includes many other types of engagement, such as taking a class, using a website, serving as a volunteer, providing in-kind goods and services, making financial donations, serving on boards and committees, buying works of art, working as a contracted artist, etc.


Submitting Your Application

After all sections of your application have been completed, you will submit the application electronically. The application will not submit unless all required questions are answered. When you submit your application, you will receive confirmation acknowledging that your online application was received.


Remember: You must submit your completed application by 5:00 p.m. (EST) on February 15, 2017. Online submission of applications will be blocked after the deadline.


What you DON'T need to submit

  • Do not submit additional support materials. However, please be aware that panelists may review your website.
  • Do not submit an application narrative or cover letter.
  • Do not submit a printed copy of your application. It is recommended, however, that you print and keep a hard copy of the application for your records.
  • NOTE: In accordance with the S.C. Solicitation of Charitable Funds Act, charitable organizations must maintain current registration with the S.C. Secretary of State's Office. The S.C. Arts Commission does not require a copy of an applicant's current S.C. Charities registration letter; however, failure to register and renew the registration annually may result in severe fines by the S.C. Secretary of State's Office.


Review Process

The initial SCAC staff review of applications focuses on eligibility, conformity to guidelines, and accuracy and clarity of information provided. The grants review panel, composed of arts administrators, artists, educators and community leaders, from within and outside S.C., reviews and rates grant applications on the basis of the specific criteria listed in the guidelines (above). The panel review sessions are open to the public. SCAC staff will develop funding recommendations based on these panel ratings for the S.C. Arts Commission Board of Commissioners, which makes final award decisions.

Panel Review Date

The panel review is scheduled for April 24, 2017. Applicants will receive an email and panel schedule prior to the panel meeting. We encourage you to attend the meeting, but attendance is not required. An applicant’s merit rating and panel comments are available upon request.

If you receive a grant award

If your application is approved, you will receive notification and a grant management folder through the postal mail. You must sign and return all required contracts to the S.C. Arts Commission by the date listed in the folder. You must also complete a Final Report, as listed in your grant management folder, by the date stated in your contract. You will be expected to contact your S.C. Arts Commission coordinator if for any reason your project will undergo significant revisions.

Grant Payments

Payment will be on a reimbursement basis only. Up to two interim payments may be requested during the grant period. An accurate Grants Payment Request Form, listing only expenses allowable under the program guidelines for the certified time period, must be submitted in order to receive payment for the grant award. Your first grant payment request must be submitted by December 1.

Final Report

ALL GRANTEES are required to file a Final Report at the end of the grant period. The Final Report Due Date is printed on your contract. Failure to submit an accurate and complete Final Report by the due date will result in cancellation of the award and repayment of funds received. The S.C. Arts Commission will not fund applicants who have outstanding Final Reports. Go to the Final Report requirements >>


In addition, failure to file a complete GOS Final Report by the due date will result in a reduction of 15% to your next General Operating Support award.


If your organization receives a 3-year award cycle, you are required to file a final report at the end of each annual grant period. Submission of your annual final reports for years one and two of the three-year cycle will allow us to assess long-term progress and generate the next year's contract.


Important dates for FY18 GOS applicants:

  • Early December 2016 – online application becomes available
  • February 15 , 2017 – application deadline
  • April 24, 2017 – grant panel review
  • July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018 – grant period (fiscal year)
  • December 1, 2017 – first grant payment request due
  • August 1, 2018 – Final Report due


Please contact your county coordinator.

Ready to apply?

Go to the application on the OSCAR website >>

You will need your username and password.



In addition to this page, you must read the following for complete guideline information:

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