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SC Arts Commission Grants Programs

Operating Support for Small Organizations (OSS) Grant Guidelines


Note: Applications for FY17 OSS support will be available in early December 2015. The following guidelines are for reference only.



Operating Support for Small Organizations (OSS) is designed as a simple way for small arts organizations to apply for S. C. Arts Commission general operating support funding.


This grant is unrestricted, which means grantees may use it for any general operating expense such as staff salaries, paying the electric bill, printing programs, buying supplies, etc.


These are the three criteria we’ll consider when reviewing OSS applications:

  1. Does the organization effectively engage S.C. citizens in some form of the arts?
  2. Is the organization’s artistic leadership qualified to provide satisfying arts experiences?
  3. Is the organization capable of being a good steward and accountable for the grant funds?


Eligibility Requirements

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


  1. has its own federal tax-exempt status with the IRS* and is currently registered with the SC Office of the Secretary of State
    *NOTE: If your organization does not have its own federal tax-exempt status with the IRS, it may apply through a fiscal agent. A letter that outlines the working relationship and responsibilities of both parties must be submitted with the application.

  2. has a primary mission to provide, produce or present arts experiences for your community

  3. has a permanent S.C. address reflected in all official documents (IRS, etc.)

  4. has completed at least one fiscal year of programming

  5. had a total expense budget of less than $75,000 for the last completed fiscal year

  6. 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, separate DUNS numbers are required of both the applicant organization and the fiscal agent.
    • 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.



Organizations receiving Operating Support for Small Organizations grants may not apply for Quarterly Support (except for requests for staff professional development under the Quarterly Support grants program).


Deadline & Grant Period

February 1

Funding is for the twelve-month period of July 1 - June 30.

Applications must be postmarked or hand-delivered to the SC Arts Commission offices before 5:00 PM. If a deadline falls on a weekend or state holiday, submissions will be accepted through the following business day. Read more about deadlines >>


Award Amount

Up to $2,000 annually.



A minimum of 2:1 (grantee:SCAC) cash match is required. Each dollar awarded must be matched with $2 cash. No in-kind expenses are allowed as part of applicant’s match in this category.


Filing Fee



Grant Payments

Payment will be on a reimbursement basis only. If awarded, you will receive a grants contract and a payment request form to use to request your reimbursement.


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 >>


Review Process

OSS grant applications will be reviewed by S.C. Arts Commission program staff and management based on the criteria listed in the guidelines. Funding decisions are approved by the SCAC Board of Commissioners.


How to Apply

Before applying, you are strongly advised to contact your county coordinator if you have any questions regarding the application process.


Required Application Materials


Each page/item of materials must be labeled with the name of the applicant organization and be submitted in a format suitable for copying. Typeface must be legible, and no less than 12 point. Do not submit copies or fax your application. Do not use 3-ring binders, folders, or bind the application materials in any way other than with binder clips or paper clips.


Application forms are in Portable Document Format (PDF).


The application package must include one complete collated set of items in the following order:


  1. Grant Application for Organizations form.
    The application form must be signed by the applicant organization's authorized official.

  2. Operating Support for Small Organizations Budget form.
    Itemize all expenses and sources of revenue for your organization for the last completed fiscal year. Do not substitute another budget form.

  3. A narrative, no longer than 3 pages (12 point type, 1 inch margins) that answers the following questions, with the three review criteria in mind (listed above, in the "Description" section). Use each question as a section header.

    Organizational history/mission/programs
    1. What does your organization do? When was it founded? What is its mission statement? What are its primary activities, programs or services? In what venues do most of the activities occur?
    2. What are program highlights for your last completed fiscal year? (e.g., exhibition schedule, class offerings, performances, etc.)
    3. How do people participate with your organization? (e.g., as students, member artists, performers, audience, volunteers, etc.) How many people typically participate in each of these roles?
    4. Are you working to change participation in any way? If so, how?
    5. What do you do to make sure people know about your events or programs? If applicable, provide links to web sites, social media or other online media.

    1. Who is the person(s) responsible for running the organization? Is the person(s) paid or a volunteer? Please provide a brief description of this person(s)' qualifications. What is the role of your board in the operation of the organization? How often does your board meet?
    2. Who is the person(s) responsible for deciding what your organization does artistically? Is the person(s) paid or a volunteer? Please provide a brief description of this person(s)’ qualifications. What is the role of your board in making artistic decisions?
    3. When you and your supporters talk about the future of your organization, what is one change or improvement you would like to make in the next year?

  4. Board of Directors List.
    Submit a copy of applicant's current board of directors list. Include board members' occupations/professional affiliations, and indicate with asterisks those who are African-American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, and Hispanic.

  5. Staff List.
    Submit a list of staff (paid or unpaid) and list their responsibilities.

  6. IRS Tax-Exempt Letter.
    Submit a copy of your IRS tax-exempt letter.
    NOTE: If you do not have your tax-exempt status and are using a fiscal agent, submit a copy of your fiscal agent’s IRS tax-exempt letter and a letter of agreement, signed by both the applicant and the fiscal agent, which outlines the working relationship and responsibilities of both parties.


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.


Incomplete applications will not be accepted.


Mail to:

Operating Support for Small Organizations

SC Arts Commission

1026 Sumter Street, Suite 200

Columbia, SC 29201


If you have any questions, please contact your county coordinator at 803/734-8696.


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

Back to Grants Home

South Carolina Arts Commission Accessibility Statement

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