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Indiana Arts Commission

IAC > For Applicants > Grant & Program Guidelines > Arts Operating Support III (AOS III) Arts Operating Support III (AOS III)

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Program Description

The AOSIII/Multi-Regional program will provide annual operating support for the ongoing artistic and administrative functions of eligible arts organizations that provide quality arts and cultural activities on a statewide or multi-regional basis, with special attention to underserved communities. An underserved community is one in which individuals lack access to arts programs due to geography, economic conditions, ethnic background, disability, or age. 



Applicants in this category must have:

  • Arts programming and/or service must be stated in the organization’s primary mission;
  • Annual cash operating income and expenses of $1,000,000 or more over a three-year average, as supported by the last three audits. Cyclical organizations such as multi-year festivals and competitions will be handled on a case by case basis and should be discussed with the IAC Program Officer;
  • Provide arts programs and/or services to the entire state or to two or more IAC-defined multi-county regions of the state, as demonstrated by a defined statewide or multi-regional service area, a marketing plan that addresses the entire area, and a history of multi-regional or statewide service provision;
  • A minimum of five years of service provision of the type requested;
  • Operated for at least three years according to a strategic or long-range plan adopted by the organization’s governing body;
  • Annually implement program planning and evaluation processes with input from the community to be served;
  • Provide an arts educational component to programs and services;
  • A  governing body that is representative of the organization’s service area;
  • Pay an administrative staff person who reports to the governing body;
  • An annual, independent financial audit conducted by a CPA (not a review or compilation) for last three fiscal years;
  • Audit must clearly state the yearly income, expenses, and net assets of the organization;

General applicant requirements and restrictions:

  • Must be a private, nonprofit, tax-exempt agency, with 501(c)(3) status proof from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) OR an Indiana public entity (part of city, county, or state government.
  • Nonprofit corporations that are based in another state must be registered in Indiana as Foreign Corporation, have an Indiana address, and provide all IAC‐funded arts activities in Indiana.
  • Must be incorporated in the State of Indiana at the time of application;
  • Must not have any outstanding Final Grant Reports due to the Indiana Arts Commission.
  • Entities that receive state operating support directly from the general assembly are NOT eligible for operating support from the IAC.
  • All applicants must have a DUNS number to complete an application. A DUNS number is a unique nine-digit sequence recognized as the universal standard for identifying and keeping track of businesses. DUNS numbers are the basis by which Americans for the Arts tracks nonprofits and for-profits for its important research reports on Creative Industries: Business & Employment in the Arts. The federal government (which includes the National Endowment for the Arts) requires organizations to provide a DUNS number as part of its grant applications. Go to to apply for a DUNS number. Please note that it can take several weeks to receive your DUNS number. If you do not have your DUNS number to complete the application by the deadline date, please contact the program or grants/technology manager for further instructions.

Program Restrictions

An organization may not apply for IAC-based funding from both the IAC and a Regional Arts Partner or IAC administered Regional Initiative Grant program in the same fiscal year.

Use of Funds

Operating expenses may include, but are not limited to, salaries, administrative fees, staff development and training, space and equipment rental, promotional costs, and production costs, etc., needed to support the organization's yearly activities.

IAC funds can be utilized to provide fee subsidies to presenting organizations that wish to purchase your services.

IAC-funding cannot be used for the following expenses:

  • Cash reserves; deficit reduction, or deficit elimination
  • Events in private dwelling places or other locations not open to the general public
  • Consumable supplies and materials not directly related to the project
  • Capital acquisitions (purchase of artwork, etc.); capital expenditures; restoration, or new construction of buildings
  • Costs of receptions, food, or beverages
  • Travel outside the United States
  • Indirect costs or underwriting for ongoing residencies or curricular programs in degree-granting colleges and universities
  • Activities not associated with arts programs and services
  • Projects to be delivered outside the state of Indiana
  • Project expenses outside the state fiscal year and grant period
  • Activities held solely for the purpose of fundraising, private functions, functions held in private homes, religious services, lobbying activities, or any activity not having a public manifestation

Grant Amount

For FY2014-2015 cycle, AOSIII/Multi-Regional applicants will not input a grant request amount.  Grant awards will be determined by the Indiana Arts Commission based on the approved IAC budget and will not be more than 10% of the applicant’s annual cash budget as indicated by the organization’s most recently completed audit.  The average grant in this category for FY2013 was $39,250.

Match Requirement
AOSIII/Multi-Regional grantees must match every dollar provided by the Indiana Arts Commission with ten dollars of the organization’s own funds. One hundred percent of the match must be cash and cannot include in-kind donations.

Review Process and Criteria

Panelists will review all applications and evaluate how well each addresses the review criteria below. A copy of the scorecard used by the panelists can be accessed by clicking here. The term "project," as used in this section, refers to the activities for which funding is being requested.    

Quality - Up to 30 points
The proposed activities will be of the highest quality possible in relation to community standards, expectations, and resources, as indicated by:

The goals and objectives of the proposed activities are clearly explained and are consistent with the organization's mission and long-range plans, and with IAC goals. The artistic goals and program design are consistent with the organization's resources. There appear to be a sufficient number of appropriate and qualified personnel (or contractors, or artists), paid or volunteer, to carry out the proposed activities. The audience has been clearly identified and estimated attendance figures appear reasonable in light of past efforts. Proposed program components and activities appear to be appropriate in light of project goals and audience. The project design contains and describes educational activities and outcomes. Participants are involved in planning, implementing, and evaluating the project activities.

Community Impact/Public Benefit - Up to 25 points
The proposed activities will have a significant impact on the community the organization serves, as indicated by:

The organization's constituent base is clearly defined. The manner in which constituents were involved in assessing needs and program planning is clearly described. There was an appropriate level of constituent involvement and support. The plan for serving traditionally under-served populations in program development, implementation, and evaluation is clearly described and appears adequate. Appropriate promotional efforts will be made to inform the general public about activities, including strategies for reaching traditionally under-served populations. Proposed activities will be made accessible and marketed to persons with disabilities and other special needs. The proposed activities will contribute to long-term growth of the arts in the community.

Management - Up to 30 points
The organization delivering the proposed activities will be well managed, as indicated by:

There is a person assigned to manage the project/operation. The manager's qualifications have been clearly explained and appear adequate. The project timetable is clearly explained and provides sufficient detail to guide implementation. The process that will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of your activities is clearly described and measurable. Evaluation will include assessment of impact on the people served. Audience/participant feedback will be used as one component to evaluate project success in achieving its goals. There is evidence of a successful history of providing related arts activities. Estimated expenses and budget appear reasonable. Projected income will be proportionate and come from a variety of sources. There are adequate plans for long-term resource development and deficit reduction (where applicable). The applicant's governing body meets on a regular basis and represents the diversity of the applicant's geographic service area with respect to race/ethnicity, gender, age, special needs, and location of residence, etc.

Multi-Regional Impact - (Up to 15 points)
The target audience includes constituents in counties in at least one IAC region outside of the home region as indicated by the IAC regional service map. Programmatic offerings to out-of-region constituents is significant and supported by marketing and strategic plans.  Programmatic offerings to out-of-region constituents actively engage participants beyond the walls of the institution.

Commission Action
Following the panel meetings, IAC staff will use a funding formula that takes into consideration the panel's ratings and available funds to determine specific funding recommendations. The Commission will review and ratify all funding recommendations at its June business meeting, which is open to the public. 

Panel Session

  • Panel information is available on the Deadlines & Panel Meetings web page.
  • Following the panel, audio will be posted on the Panel Audio web page.

    How to Apply

    1. A Letter of Intent to Apply is required for this program. If possible, submit the most recently completed audit with the Notice of Intent to Apply form.  If the audit is not complete in time to submit with the Notice of Intent to Apply form, it must be submitted with the grant application.  Once the IAC has confirmed an applicant's eligibility to apply, applications must be submitted online through the IAC's Online Grants System.
    2. Applicants must provide complete information and the following support documents with their application:
      • Articles of nonprofit incorporation
      • IRS tax-exempt status letter
      • Current strategic or long-range plan
      • Independent financial audit, OR compliance audit, annual financial statement, resume of the chief paid administrative staff person, program timetable, printed promotional materials.

        Note: Including additional material will not enhance your chances of being funded and your application will not be reviewed.  


    All reporting will be submitted in the IAC's Online Grant System.

    Contact Information

    For all application questions and program requirements please contact Kristina Davis-Smith, Director of Programs, at 317-232-1279 or

    All electronic application and reporting issues please contact 317-232-1278.
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