The Grant Program Process
Completion of the Grant Application
The Grant Application is the document upon which recommendations and decisions to award financial support will be made. The Grant Application consists of:
- A completed application form, with appropriate attachments, signed by a representative of the organization/individual authorized to act on behalf of the applicant.
- Work samples and documentation of previous arts activities. The Commission offers grant preparation workshops each grant cycle.
The Commission strongly encourages applicants to attend one of these workshops to learn of current policies/procedures of the Grant program. If reasonable accommodation is needed please call 703.746.5588; TTY 703.838.4902.
Deadline for Application Submission
The completed application must reach the Commission office by the stated date and hour indicated on the grant application form. Late submissions are not accepted. No exceptions.
Commission staff reviews each application for completeness and eligibility. Upon completion of this review, staff notifies the applicant that the application has been received and advises of any deficiencies. Following notification, the applicant has 10 working days to correct any deficiencies. If not corrected the applicant is notified that the application will not be processed.
The Commission staff then prepares all eligible applications for review by a Resource Panel. One or more of the Commissioners chair the Resource Panels. Panel members, also volunteers, include professional artists, art administrators, educators and others who have discipline-specific background or knowledge.
Resource Panel Review
Each Resource Panel member reviews all relevant applications submitted to that Panel and completes a critique for each application. Critiques focus on five areas of performance using a weighted method: Impact on the City of Alexandria (35%); Artistic Excellence (25%); Management Ability (15%); Financial (15%); Marketing and Fundraising (10%). Each Panel then meets individually with each applicant to discuss their application. Following the meetings with the applicants the Panel prepares a Panel recommendation for funding based upon composite critique scores and group discussion. If necessary, minority reports differing from the Panel recommendation may also be prepared. The Panel Chair prepares a Summary Report for each application and this report, any dissenting opinions, and copies of the grant application are provided to all Commission members for review.
As part of the Resource Panel meeting with the applicant, the parties will discuss and identify a measurable goal. This mandatory goal will be included in the Summary Report and tracked from year to year. The Commission will use this information as a tool to provide historical perspective and assess the organization’s/individual’s growth.
Special Opportunity Award Review
Special Opportunity Awards shall be reviewed either by the appropriate disciplinary resource panel or by an in-person interview with at least three commissioners. The resource panel or the interview group will provide the recommendation for the Special Opportunity Award to the full commission for their consideration and approval. The method of review shall be determined by the Commission at the time of the call.
Commission Review/Public Hearing
Applicants are invited, but are not required, to attend the Public Hearing and Formal Action Meeting of the Commission. If an applicant wishes to address the Commission for the purpose of providing new or supplemental information in support of his application he must call the Commission staff for an appointment time. The Chair will generally permit three minutes of testimony per applicant. It is at this meeting that the Commission determines a proposed funding level for the application.
Cash Match Requirement
Those grants requiring a cash match, the cash match must be met prior to submitting a Final Report, but no later than June 13, 2013. Funding from the City of Alexandria from other Departments, including Alexandria City Public Schools, cannot be used for the cash match.
The Panel Summary Reports will be mailed to the grant applicants after the Commission’s Public Hearing. It is important that the applicants understand that the Summary Reports contain only the remarks from the Resource Panel Review, not those from the full Commission’s Review/Public Hearing. If desired, applicants may request a de-briefing meeting with the Panel Chair. This meeting must be in compliance with the City’s requirements for open meetings.
Notification of Grant Applicants
The Commission will inform each grant recipient in writing of the applicant’s grant award, method of disbursement, and any additional requirements the applicant must fulfill. Such notification occurs once the ACA receives final approval of its fiscal year budget. City Council votes on the budget in May, and the recipients are notified in June.
The Grant Contract
The approved application form represents an agreement that the applicant will comply with all conditions set forth in the application form and any other documents furnished to the applicant related to the granting program. Every recipient of a grant is required to respond in a timely manner to all requests for information required by the Commission and its staff.
Disbursement of Funds
An initial payment (85% of the award) is processed between 4 and 6 weeks after July 1. The final payment (15%) of the award is available after timely submission and acceptance of a Final Report.
Conduct of the Grant Supported Activity
Activities receiving financial support from the Commission shall take place within the fiscal year for which the grant was awarded, unless otherwise approved by the Commission.
All grant recipients are required to credit the Commission for its support in all appropriate printed public relations materials relating to activities supported by the Commission.
It is recognized that circumstances occurring during the conduct of the project may necessitate changes from the initial proposal. If an organization or individual seeks to change their project/activity after its approval the following guidelines apply:
- The grant recipient must communicate its intended action to the Commission in writing. The Commission will review the issue at its next regularly scheduled meeting.
- If the Commission chooses to consider a substantive change in the project/activity it may request in writing, that the grant recipient submit multiple copies of a complete grant application. Within 14 days of the mailing of the Commission’s letter, the grant recipient will submit a new application that fully details the new project. The recipient will use the applicable guidelines for the grant year for which the original grant was made. The Commission will distribute and review the grant applications to the appropriate panel(s). It is anticipated that the Commission will make a determination approximately 60 days after sending the grant recipient a letter.
- Under some circumstances the Commission may decline to approve a proposed change and may void a previously approved application.
At the completion of the project a Final Report is required. Grant recipients must submit a final report 30 days after the completion of the project/activities, but no later than June 15. Those grants requiring a cash match, the cash match must be met prior to submitting a Final Report, but no later than June 15, 2013. Funding from the City of Alexandria from other Departments cannot be used for the cash match. Failure to do so could result in the delay or loss of the final grant payment, or loss of eligibility for future grants from the Commission.
Other Considerations for Review
The Commission encourages:
- Programs and projects that are designed to stimulate participation by minorities.
- Applicants to charge a reasonable fee for their programs.
- Grant applicants, when appropriate, to perform for and/or otherwise cooperate with City agencies on behalf of the City; and to participate in Commission sponsored activities that contribute to the overall cultural life of the City.
- Programs and projects which present the works of artists who reside or work in Alexandria.
- Programs with impact on citizens of Alexandria and on the visibility of the Alexandria arts community.