Cultural Capacity Building Grant
Fiscal Year 2023 Program Guidelines

Cultural Capacity Building Grants provide general operating support over a two-year period to eligible arts, cultural and humanities organizations in Iowa. Organizations with annual operating expenses between $10,000 and $150,000 and that demonstrate a commitment to enhancing their cultural and managerial excellence and community service are eligible to apply.

Funding for the Cultural Capacity Building Grant is made possible by an annual appropriation from the Iowa Legislature to the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Economic Development Authority, and the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency. Applicants must adhere to the funding policies of the Iowa Arts Council and federal government through 2 CFR Part 200.
Potential applicants, especially first time applicants, are encouraged to review all published material and contact David Schmitz at with questions well in advance of application deadlines.
The Iowa Arts Council is committed to providing reasonable accommodations to eligible applicants. For technical support submitting the online application, please contact the Iowa Arts Council at least two weeks in advance of application deadlines.
May 2, 2022 | Application Deadline
The deadline to submit an online application is 11:59 PM on May 2, 2022.
June 30, 2022 | Funding Decision Notification
Applicants will be notified of designation and funding award decisions by June 30, 2022.
July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2024 | Funding Period
The two year funding period will be in effect from July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2024. Funding will be awarded on an annual basis for eligible expenses incurred within the eligible funding period of July 1 - June 30.
August 1, 2023 and 2024 | Funding Renewal and Final Report Deadlines
A funding renewal report will be due on August 1, 2023 to receive the second year of funding. A final report will be due on August 1, 2024 to close out the grant program.

Grant Amount
Grant recipients will receive $5,000 in fiscal years 2023 and 2024, for a total award of $10,000, to support operating expenses that are incurred within the eligible funding period.

Funding Period
Funding is disbursed to grant recipients on an annual basis contingent upon completion and acceptance of the funding renewal after the first year confirming continued eligibility in the program. Grant funds for each fiscal year must be expended within the eligible funding period of July 1 - June 30.
Matching Funds Requirement
Eligible organizations whose cash operating expenses, excluding state and federal funds, are equal to or in excess of the grant award shall be determined to have met the matching requirements for this program. Grant funds from the department or its divisions shall not be used as matching funds for this program.
Eligible Use of Funds
Grant funds may be used to support operating and programmatic expenses incurred within the eligible funding period. Funds may be used to fulfill the mission at the discretion of the grant recipient, but they must support strategic goals as outlined by the organization and its leadership.
Ineligible Use of Funds
Grant funds may not be used for the following activities or expenses.
  • Capital expenditures, including equipment over a total of $5,000 per unit
  • Deficit or debt reduction, including loan, line-of-credit, or mortgage payments
  • Donations or contributions to other organizations
  • Expenses incurred prior to or after the funding period
  • Food, beverage, and alcohol
  • Foreign travel
  • Fundraising or benefit activity expenses
  • Home studio/office rent or related expenses, including utilities and mortgage payments
  • Lobbying activity
  • Prizes and awards
  • Property maintenance, restoration or renovation expenses
  • Religious activity
  • Unallowable expenses for federal awards as defined in 2 CFR 200 Subpart E - Cost Principles
Eligible Applicants
Organizational Eligibility
  • Organization identifies as either an Arts, Cultural or Humanities Organization.
    • Arts Organizations are defined as an organization whose primary mission and purpose is focused on the arts.
    • Cultural Organizations are defined as organizations whose primary mission and purpose is culturally focused or meets the definition of the interpretive sciences.
    • Humanities Organizations are defined as an organization whose primary mission is focused on the humanities.
  • Organization is located and incorporated in Iowa under the Iowa Nonprofit Corporation Act and holds federal 501(c)3 tax-exempt status.
  • Organization is an arts or cultural department or division of a municipal government located in Iowa (does not include libraries, parks or recreation departments).
  • Organizations located in a border community with legal boundaries immediately adjacent to Iowa.
Overall Operational Standards
  • Organization must maintain cash operating expenses, exclusive of the Iowa Arts Council general operating support, of $10,000 to $150,000.
  • Organization must have a minimum of one dedicated staff or volunteer position that works for the organization year round and is responsible for oversight and management of the organization.
  • Organization must demonstrate at least 50% of the individuals benefiting from its programs and services are Iowans.
Accessibility - Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Organization must demonstrate that it is in compliance or actively working to be in compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. These laws prohibit discrimination against individuals with physical and/or mental disabilities. Both programmatic and structural accessibility must be addressed.
Ineligible Applicants
Ineligible applicants include the following types of entities.
  • Agency, department, or division of county, state, or federal government, including libraries, parks and recreation, and arts and cultural offices that exist as an agency, department or division of county, state or federal government.
  • Auditorium, arena, convention center or similar type of venue whose primary purpose is related to presenting popular entertainment, sporting or recreational events.
  • Educational institution, organization, or K-12 school whose primary orientation, mission and purpose is education and the awarding of academic credits.
  • For-profit corporation or business; religious organization; political party; or national service/professional organization.
  • owa Arts Council administered grantees who have already received a grant from the department for the current application funding period
    • Cultural Leadership Partners and Iowa Great Places with an active grant contract are not eligible to apply.
    • Strengthening Communities Grant recipients with active grant contracts are eligible to apply.
  • Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs grantees with an outstanding final report or who have been placed on a department funding moratorium
  • Organization that uses a fiscal agent or the nonprofit or federal tax-exempt status of another organization.
Iowa Arts Council Administered Grant Program Eligibility
  • Applicants may only receive one Iowa Arts Council administered grant award per state fiscal year regardless of grant program
    • Eligible organizations, schools or communities may only receive an Art Project Grant, Capacity Building Grant, Creative Placemaking Grant, Cultural Leadership Partner Grant, Great Places Grant, or School Arts Experience Grant in a single fiscal year
    • Strengthening Communities Grant recipients with active grant contracts are eligible to apply.
  • Applicants may not submit more than one application during a single grant deadline or cycle regardless of grant program
Funding Priorities
Applications are encouraged from all applicants that meet the applicant eligibility requirements; however, priority will be placed on applications from organizations that are led by or primarily serve populations that have historically been under-resourced by arts and cultural funding due to rural geography, race/ethnicity, or socioeconomic status as defined in the Grants Terms and Definitions for fiscal year 2023.
Online Application Submission
Applicants must submit applications via the Iowa Arts Council’s SlideRoom, an online application portal. Applications will not be accepted in any other format. Late, incomplete or ineligible applications will not be accepted. Applicants can access the current online application requirements at Applicants must create a login to view the full application requirements for the program. Applicants can visit for assistance related to the online submission.
Review Process
Department Eligibility Review
Submitted applications are reviewed by staff for completion, eligibility and adherence to published funding priorities and guidelines. Applications are reviewed as submitted. New application information or subsequent application clarification submitted after a program deadline is not considered unless requested by a program manager. Staff will also review an applicant’s record of compliance and good standing with IEDA, State and Federal government. Applications or applicants determined by staff to be ineligible or incomplete will not move forward to panel review and are specifically denied any appeals process.
Competitive Panel Review
Eligible applications will be referred to a competitive review by a panel of professionals with appropriate expertise commensurate to the purpose of the grant program. Applications will be scored and ranked based on the published scoring rubric. Recommendations are submitted to the Administrator of the Iowa Arts Council for consideration and funding approval. Applications will be awarded funding based on the ranked list, funding priorities, and available funding. All funding decisions are final and may not be appealed due to dissatisfaction. Applicants may review the department appeals policy for information on grounds for appeal and the appeal process.
Decision Notification
Applicants will be notified of funding decisions by June 30, 2022. Applicants are notified of the status of their application whether they are or are not selected to receive funding. Applicants will be contacted if any additional information is required and are encouraged to refrain from contacting staff for application status updates until funding decisions are made.
Application Questions and Scoring Rubric
The following scoring rubric will be used to evaluate applications. Each section has criteria and corresponding point values to ensure a fair review process. The rubric is on a scale of 21 points. Application questions are for reference only. Applicants must review and complete application requirements in the Slideroom portal.
Applicant Profile
Provide an overview of the organization, including:
  • types of programs and services offered
  • how they help the organization accomplish its stated mission
  • number of patrons, visitors, students the organization serves each year
  • description of the community the organization is in and what community the organization currently serves, including overall demographics such as geographic boundaries and the age, race/ethnicity, ability and socio-economic status of people served
Applicant Profile: 3 points possible
3 2 1
Applicant demonstrates a record of programming or services that clearly advances its mission and serves its community and audience. Community impact is strong. Applicant offers average programming or services that relate to its mission and serve its community or target audience. Community impact is clear. Applicant’s programming or services are limited and/or it is unclear how they relate to its mission and serve its community and target audience. Community impact is unclear or inadequate.
Organization Leadership
Describe the leadership and structure of the organization, including:
●      number of paid staff, volunteers or board members serving in a leadership position and an overview of their roles and responsibilities
●      if board members are listed, describe how they are selected and how long they serve
●      number of volunteers, outside of those in leadership roles, involved with the organization on an annual basis and an overview of the work they do for the organization
Organization Leadership: 3 points possible
3 2 1
Involvement from staff, volunteers and/or board members is strong. Staff or board members are clearly identified in a leadership role within the organization. Involvement from staff, volunteers and/or board members is identified. Specific roles and responsibilities within the organization are adequate. Involvement from staff, volunteers and/or board is inadequate. Roles and responsibilities within the organization are not identified or unclear.
Strategic or Long Range Plan and Evaluation

Strategic or Long Range Plan Upload
Upload the organization’s current strategic plan or other multi-year goal setting document.
Strategic or Long Range Plan and Evaluation
Describe how the plan was developed and how it is evaluated on a regular basis.
Strategic Plan: 3 points possible
3 2 1
Multi-year plan is provided that clearly outlines organizational goals, including strategies for maintaining or achieving sustainability and growth. Clear process for creating and regular review of the plan is outlined. Multi-year plan is provided that outlines organizational goals. Process for creating the submitted plan is identified. Process for review of the plan is outlined, but may not happen on a regular basis. Multi-year plan is provided, but lacks detail. Timeline for the plan is unclear or not identified. Process for creating and reviewing the plan is not identified or unclear.
Use of Funds
Identify how grant funds will be used to help the organization achieve a strategic goal or goals within the first year of funding (July 1, 2022 - June 30, 2023). If the goal(s) noted are not included in the uploaded strategic or long range plan, describe why that goal(s) was selected and how it will address new or urgent concerns for the organization.
Grant Request Expenses
Itemize the eligible expenses that will be funded by the grant request, including a description and the dollar amount for each. Round to the nearest dollar. Do not enter decimal signs or commas. Add a final "TOTAL" row at the bottom that identifies the total grant request. Total expenses included in the budget form should equal $5,000.
Expense Description Grant Request Amount ($)
Use of Grant Funds: 3 points possible
3 2 1
Applicant has a clear plan in place to utilize grant funds to achieve a strategic goal(s). Applicant has an adequate plan in place to utilize grant funds to achieve a strategic goal(s). Unclear how the grant funds will assist applicant in achieving a strategic goal(s).
Financial Overview
990 Upload
Upload the organization’s last filed 990. If you are unable to upload the entire document, submit the breakdown of income and expenses and program activities. If you file a 990-N, upload the financial statement from the organization’s last completed fiscal year outlining the annual revenue and expenses.
Financial Snapshot
Enter the total revenue, total expenses and net for the organization’s last three completed fiscal years (years that ended in 2019, 2020, and 2021).
Fiscal Year Total Revenue Total Expenses Net
Financial Overview
Describe the organization’s approach to financial management, including:
  • how the budget is set and how financial health is reviewed throughout the year
  • any financial issues facing the organization and how they will be addressed
  • if a surplus or deficit is reflected in the most recently filed 990 or financial statement submitted with the application, describe how the deficit or surplus occurred and how the organization addressed or will address the situation
Financial Overview: 3 points possible
3 2 1
Financial overview is supported by strong financial documents and management practices. Little to no concerns about the organization’s financial health. Financial overview is provided. Some concerns about the organization’s financial health. Financial overview is unclear or incomplete. Concerns about the organization's financial health.
Support Material
Submit 3-5 media samples that provide additional context for organizational excellence. Media samples may include promotional material, articles, videos, photos, work samples, letters of support from board or community members, or other material that enhances the case for support. Do not submit additional narrative or lists of web links. The title must identify the media support material.
Support Material: 3 points possible
3 2 1
Support material is highly relevant to the application and demonstrates organizational excellence. Support material relates to the application and is of average quality. Support material is not relevant to the application and/or is of poor quality.
Overall Application
The following scoring criteria reference the quality of the proposal and application as a whole and not a particular question.
Case for Support: 3 points possible
3 2 1
Case for support is exemplary and merits investment from the state. Case for support is average. Case for support is below average or does not merit state investment.
Glossary of Terms and Definitions
Applicants should refer to the glossary for clarification of program terms and definitions.