South Carolina Arts Commission

South Carolina Arts Commission

General Operating Support (GOS) Grants

Grant Information

Application Deadline Icon
Application Deadline

For new applicants and current Group 2 grantees only.

Purpose Icon
To help strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, communities, and other organizations throughout the state.

Who's Eligible Icon
Who's Eligible
Nonprofit community-based arts organizations and units of government who have completed at least one fiscal year of programming

Funding Icon
No pre-set range

Grant Period Icon
Grant Period

Matching Requirement Icon
Matching Requirement
3:1 (grantee:SCAC)

The following information is for reference only.

The guidelines and application for the next round of funding will be available in early November 2019 for the upcoming February 17 deadline.

About This Grant

General Operating Support (GOS) grants provide three years of unrestricted support for basic operations to help strengthen arts organizations that bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, communities, and other organizations throughout the state. The grant provides operating support funding for applicants ranging from emerging to established 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.

Your organization may apply for this grant if it meets all 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 government;
  3. has completed at least one fiscal year of programming;
  4. has a valid DUNS number;
    • In accordance with federal government policy, all organizations – including (but not limited to) private schools, government entities, public school districts, and nonprofit organizations – must provide a valid DUNS number to receive an S.C. Arts Commission grant award.

    • If a grantee is using a fiscal agent/receiver, separate DUNS numbers must be provided for both the applicant organization and the fiscal agent/receiver.

  5. and is either
    • a current Group 1 GOS grantee, or
    • a new GOS applicant (not a current GOS grantee in another Applicant Group).

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 us to discuss eligibility before beginning the application process.

  • Organizations receiving General Operating Support may not apply for Arts Project Support (APS) Grants, except for staff professional development or cultural district-related activities.
  • Organizations with annual expense budgets of $75,000 or less may consider applying for an Operating Support for Small Organizations (OSS) Grant, instead of a GOS grant.

    What’s the difference between a General Operating Support (GOS) Grant and an Operating Support for Small Organizations (OSS) Grant?

    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 per year, with a 1:1 match. GOS grants have no maximum award, with a 3:1 match.
    • OSS grantees reapply every two years. GOS grantees reapply every three years.
    • The OSS application is shorter, and some would say, simpler than the GOS application.
February 17

Applications may be submitted until 11:59pm (Eastern Time) on the deadline date. However, please be aware that staff members will not be available to assist you with questions or technical difficulties after the Arts Commission closes at 5:00 p.m. that day.

Grant Period

July 1, 2019-June 30, 2020

Grants are awarded on 3-year cycle of approval. Separate contracts will be issued each year.

  • Early December (before grant period begins): GOS application becomes available
  • May 6-7, 2019: grant panel review
  • Early/Mid-July: award notification
  • Early/Mid-December (of grant year): First Pay Request due
  • Early June (of grant year): Final Pay Request due
  • August 15 (after grant period ends): Final Report due

Exact due dates for your grant will be indicated in your online record.


There is no pre-set funding range.

Grant awards will be based on:

  1. panel review of the applications
  2. size of the applicant’s operating budget
  3. availability of funds, and
  4. Board approval.

Awards may vary from year to year and are contingent on appropriation of funds by the S.C. General Assembly.

Matching Requirements

3:1 (grantee:SCAC)

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

GOS grants are managed in our online grants management system, from application, to approval and contracts, through payments and final reports.

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 each year at least one month in advance for the upcoming deadline.

Our online grants are managed using the Foundant platform. For frequently asked questions, registration instructions, and other helpful information, we highly recommend visiting the Foundant FAQbefore you begin working in the system.

The applicant must have an active account in our online grants management system.

  1. Follow the “Apply ” link below. The online grants management system will open in a new browser tab or window.
  2. Log on, then click the “Apply” link at the top of your Applicant Dashboard.
  3. Find “General Operating Support” in the list of available grant applications, and click the “Apply” button to the far right.

Not quite ready to apply? Preview the application before you create an account.

After You Apply

Section 1 – Organizational Health (30%)

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
Section 2 – Programs and Services, as they relate to the organization’s mission (40%)

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 3 – Public Participation (30%)

An organization that receives a high score on this section will:

  • have a clear understanding of who its participants are;
  • have varied, effective methods of engaging and maintaining participants;
  • 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; and
  • have organizational characteristics – of a board, staff, processes, programs, facilities, etc. – that promote and facilitate broad participation, and 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.

Staff will review applications for eligibility, conformity to guidelines, and clarity of information provided.

A review panel, composed of arts administrators, artists, educators and community leaders, from within and outside S.C., reviews and rates applications on the basis of criteria listed in the guidelines. 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 to them upon request. The panel review sessions are open to the public.

Staff will develop funding recommendations based on the panel ratings for the Board of Commissioners, which makes final award decisions.

If your application is approved, you will receive notification and your contract will be available in the online system. You must electronically sign your contract by the date indicated in the system. You must also complete all assigned Follow Ups (including a Final Report, as listed in your online account), by the due date given. You will be expected to contact us if for any reason your project will undergo significant revisions.

Grant Payments

Payment will be on a reimbursement basis only. Up to three 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 the date indicated in your online account.

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 any funds received. The S.C. Arts Commission will not fund applicants who have outstanding Final Reports.

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.


If you are seeking advisement before submitting an application, please visit our Staff page for the appropriate program contact. If you have submitted an application, and/or you have a current grant, please contact the Grants Office ( | 803.734.8695).