South Carolina Arts Commission

South Carolina Arts Commission

Operating Support for Small Organizations (OSS) Grants

Grant Information

Application Deadline Icon
Application Deadline

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

Who's Eligible Icon
Who's Eligible
Nonprofit organizations and units of government with a total arts expense budget of $75,000 or less and at least one completed fiscal year of programming

Funding Icon
Up to $2500 per year

Grant Period Icon
Grant Period

Matching Requirement Icon
Matching Requirement
1:1 (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 January 1 deadline.

About This Grant

Operating Support for Small Organizations (OSS) grants provide two years of support for basic operations to help strengthen eligible organizations’ ability to bring ongoing arts experiences and services to individuals, communities, and other organizations throughout the state.

This program is designed to be a simple way for organizations with annual arts budgets of $75,000 or less to apply for S.C. Arts Commission operating support funding. Eligible applicants range from emerging to established organizations that offer these artistic functions: producing, service, presenting, and/or education.

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

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

To be eligible for this grant, your organization must fit all the following criteria.

  1. Be described as
    • having a primary mission focused on the arts
    • serving as the primary arts provider in your community
    • providing ongoing arts programming in your community.
      Examples of “providing ongoing arts programming in your community” include, but are not limited to:

      • A concert series
      • Visual arts workshops
      • A season of theatrical productions
      • Other activities and initiatives conducted with the primary intention of providing arts experiences to the community.

      This grant is not intended to support programming that is not arts-focused (although it may contain artistic elements).
      Please note: Non-arts organizations are strongly encouraged to contact your S.C. Arts Commission coordinator for advisement before beginning their first OSS application.

  2. Be 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: 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.


    • a unit of local government
  3. Have completed at least one fiscal year of programming
  4. Had a total arts expense budget of $75,000 or less for the last completed fiscal year
  5. Have 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.

  • Organizations receiving Operating Support for Small Organizations (OSS) may not receive Arts Project Support (APS) Grants in the same grant period, except for staff professional development or cultural district-related activities.
  • Organizations with an arts expense budget of $75,000 or less may apply for either an OSS grant OR a General Operating Support (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.
January 1

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 2-year cycle of approval. Separate contracts will be issued each year.

  • Early December (before grant period begins): OSS application becomes available
  • April 9-10, 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
  • Early/Mid-August (after grant period ends): Final Report due

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


Up to $2500 per year.

Grant awards will be based on:

  1. panel review of the applications
  2. size of the applicant’s arts operating budget (see “Match” below)
  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

1:1 (grantee:SCAC)

Each dollar awarded must be matched with $1 cash. No in-kind expenses are allowed as part of the applicant’s match in this category.

How to Apply

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

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 “Operating Support for Small Organizations” 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

An organization awarded will meet the criteria below.

Programs & Services
  • Applicant offers programs and services that are
    • closely aligned with its mission.
    • appropriate for the people, organizations, and communities for whom they are intended.
  • Applicant has a clear understanding of how people participate (e.g., as students, member artists, performers, audience, etc.).
  • Applicant has appropriate governance, management to accomplish its practical and artistic goals.
  • Applicant shows evidence of financial health and capacity to responsibly carry out the work of the organization.

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

A review panel, composed of arts administrators and community leaders, evaluates 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 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 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 Pay Request, 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 OSS Final Report by the due date will result in a reduction of 15% to your next Operating Support award.

OSS grants are awarded on a two-year cycle, but grantees are required to file a final report at the end of each annual grant period. Submission of your annual final report for year one of the two-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).