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General Operating Support Grant Program (GOS): Service Organizations Cohort

Grants to Washington, DC Nonprofit Arts Support
Organizations for Operating Expenses

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

02/26/21 11:59 PM ET


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Grants to Washington, DC nonprofit organizations that provide support and services to the arts and humanities sector for general operating expenses. Funding is intended to assist organizations that provide a wide range of services, including professional development, networking, communication, convening, and various technical or managerial support

GOS applicants must demonstrate the ways in which their ongoing programming aligns with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (CAH) goal to encourage diverse artistic expressions and learning opportunities, so that all District of Columbia residents and visitors may experience the rich culture of the city. Successful GOS applications must clearly detail their organization’s outstanding leadership and vision, history of arts/humanities programming and strong track record of broad and inclusive community engagement. 

Service organizations are those whose primary mission is to provide specialized support to people or institutions within the arts and humanities through functions like networking, professional development, communication, convening, and various technical or managerial support. Service organizations are not typically arts producers or presenters, although some organizations supporting historically disenfranchised communities may be actively engaged in the creation and delivery of such work. While some social service organizations may use the arts and humanities as a vehicle for service delivery, GOS funds are intended for organizations whose primary mission is the support of the arts and/or humanities. 

Dimensions of support provided by service organizations may include:

  • Validation: Building a compelling “value proposition” for the arts and humanities, through education for understanding and in turn, support for the work;
  • Demand/markets: Fostering society’s appetite for artists and humanities practitioners and building demand for their work;
  • Material supports: Providing access to the financial and physical resources artists and humanities practitioners need for their work including: space; employment; health insurance; awards and grants; and equipment;
  • Training and professional development: Offering opportunities to artists and humanities practitioners to develop themselves professionally through a range of opportunities;
  • Communities and networks: Building internal and external communities of practice through convenings and networking; and/or,
  • Information: Providing research about, and for, arts and humanities practitioners and organizations.

By making its GOS grant awards, CAH endeavors to:

  • Provide deeper, specialized support for arts, humanities, and/or arts education practitioners, organizations, and their staffs and boards to enhance their ability to meet their collective needs;
  • Enhance the capacity, stability, and effectiveness of individual artists and scholars, small community-based organizations, and large arts and humanities institutions;
  • Increase the level of technical and managerial support available to constituencies of small or historically under-resourced organizations, artists and humanists;
  • Encourage District arts and humanities organizations to utilize an equitable lens in the creation of their programming and services for their staff/board and audiences; and
  • Strengthen resilience, cohesion, and community within the District’s arts and humanities ecosystems

For examples of allowable costs, see:

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 194643

Term of Contract:

This GOS grant period is from October 1, 2021 to September 30, 2022. CAH mandates that all of a grantee’s grant-funded activity expenses must be made during the District’s Fiscal Year 2022 (that is, from October 1, 2021 until the end of the day on September 30, 2022).

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Prior to submitting applications, applicants must meet all of the following eligibility requirements:

- Have, as its primary mission, to provide specialized support to people or institutions within the arts and humanities through functions such as: networking; professional development; communication; convening; and various technical or managerial supports;
- Be incorporated as a nonprofit with a federally-designated tax exempt status under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS) code, as evidenced by an IRS determination letter that is dated at least one year prior to the application deadline date;
- Be registered with, and authorized to do business in, the District as either a “Domestic” entity (that is, an entity that was incorporated in the District) or a “Foreign” entity (that is, an entity that was incorporated in another state);
- Have the primary mission focus in one or more of the following areas: dance, design, folk and traditional arts, fiction or nonfiction writing, media arts, music, theatre and visual arts, and any of the other disciplines referenced on page 18-20 such that the majority of its activities and/or services are concentrated on and devoted to the arts and humanities and/or arts education;
- Have received funding through a CAH competitive grant that was awarded in the District’s Fiscal Year 2020 (FY 2020) and/or Fiscal Year 2021 (FY 2021);
- Ensure that at least fifty-one percent (51%) of the organization’s activities occur within the District of Columbia;
- Ensure that one hundred percent (100%) of the grant award dollars are used to support District of Columbia personnel and programming;
- Have an active Board of Directors;

For additional eligibility information, see:

Pre-proposal Conference:

CAH conducts free workshops for participants to learn useful information about the agency’s funding opportunities and how to submit a grant application. All workshops are delivered virtually and dates and times listed below are subject to change. Participants are strongly encouraged to attend. More information about the dates and times of these workshops may be found at under Grant Writing Assistance, or by calling CAH.

- Friday, January 29, 2021 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm GOS Livechat
- Tuesday, February 2, 2021 3:00 pm – 4:15 pm GOS Virtual
- Friday, February 5, 2021 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm GOS Livechat
- Thursday, February 11, 2021 2:00 pm – 3:15 pm GOS Virtual
- Friday, February 12, 2021 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm GOS Livechat
- Tuesday, February 16, 2021 5:00 pm – 6:15 pm GOS Virtual
- Friday, February 19, 2021 2:30 pm – 3:30 pm GOS Livechat

Livechats may be accessed by visiting

Pre-Application Information:

All applications must be submitted online by 11:59 PM ET on Friday, February 26, 2021.

CAH staff members are available to review draft applications for thirty (30) minute appointments, on government business days up to one (1) week prior to the grant application deadline. Applicants should contact CAH to schedule a meeting.

CAH staff reviews applications for completeness and contacts applicants for any incomplete documents within five (5) business days of the deadline. Applicants are then responsible for updating their application within five (5) business days of CAH’s notification. Failure to do so will disqualify the application.

CAH will notify applicants of this grant program as to the results of their application by October 1, 2021 via (1) letter of intention to award, (2) letter of ineligibility or (3) letter of denial.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Apply online:

Staff Contact:
David Markey, Deputy Director |
Kamanzi Kalisa, Grant Manager |
Travis Marcus, Grant Manager |

Government of the District of Columbia
Commission on the Arts and Humanities
200 I Street, SE, Suite 1400, Washington, DC 20003

URL for Full Text (RFP):

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