About this Document

The guidelines detail application policies and requirements for a Cultural Facilities Program grant and are incorporated by reference into Rule 1T-1.039, Florida Administrative Code.

They do not apply to other Division programs such as Specific Cultural Project, State Touring, Fast Track, Individual Artist Fellowship, General Support or Cultural Endowment. For more information about these programs, visit http://dos.myflorida.com/cultural/grants/grant-programs/cultural-facilities/.

Purpose of this grant

The Cultural Facilities Program coordinates and guides the State of Florida's support and funding of renovation, new construction, or acquisition of cultural facilities. 

A cultural facility is a building which shall be used for the programming, production, presentation, exhibition of any of the arts and cultural disciplines (Section 265.283(7), Florida Statutes). These disciplines include music, dance, theatre, creative writing, literature, architecture, painting, sculpture, folk arts, photography, crafts, media arts, visual arts, and programs of museums.

Grant Period

Awarded grant funds must be spent on project expenses incurred during the grant period (July 1, 2016–June 1, 2018) and after the grant award agreement has been fully executed.

Request Amount

You may request up to $500,000 for the renovation, acquisition, or construction of a cultural facility.  There is no minimum request amount.

Restrictions (This grant may not be used for…)

This grant may not be used for:

Non-Allowable Expenses

Grant funds may not be spent on the following:

Project Planning & Historic Preservation

The Cultural Facilities Program does not fund planning, such as feasibility studies and architectural drawings, or operational support. Funds for planning, feasibility studies and architectural drawings, or operational support may be used as match.

Funds for field engineering and shop drawings may be funded by the State. These drawings are for building not for planning. For clarification see Help and Reference for Cultural Facilities Grants. Refer to "Expense Categories" for the definitions of Architectural Services and General Requirements for field engineering and shop drawings.

Applicants with projects that are intended to preserve an historic structure should apply to the Historic Preservation Grants-In-Aid Program administered by the Division of Historical Resources, Bureau of Historic Preservation. A historic structure must be at least 50 years old or of historical or cultural significance. For additional information, please contact the Bureau of Historic Preservation at 850.245-6366.

Cultural Facilities restricted to private or exclusive participation

Renovation, acquisition, or new construction projects for a cultural facility that will not be open and accessible to all members of the public are not eligible for this publicly funded grant.

The facility must be open and accessible regardless of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, age, or marital status.

Refer to the Accessibility section of the Division's website for additional information and resources. http://dos.myflorida.com/cultural/info-and-opportunities/resources-by-topic/accessibility/

Projects funded by the Legislature outside of this application process

Cultural Facilities funded by the Legislature outside of the review of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture or Secretary of State are not eligible to receive grant support for its project from the Division of Cultural Affairs within the same fiscal year in which legislative funding is appropriated.

Application Process (How does an application work…)

Number of applications per deadline

You may only submit one (1) Cultural Facilities application per application deadline, for a single facility, project, site, or phase. 

City or county governments may submit Cultural Facilities applications for their divisions or departments that are separate and distinct budgetary units, provided the applications do not address the same facility, project, site, or phase.

Number of applications per project

Applicants may request funding for different phases of the same project over a period of 5 consecutive state fiscal years. These are called multiphase projects, and they must have activity in each year for which funding is requested. 

In multiphase projects, matching funds may be expended in advance; however, state funds may only be expended on activity occurring after a Grant Award Agreement is fully executed.

The phase number of the project is equal to the number of applications submitted to the Division of Cultural Affairs over a 5-year period in order to complete the project. See Help: Phase Numbering for more information.
All eligibility criteria continue to apply.

Application Requirements (What you need to apply)

All applicants must meet the following requirements and provide appropriate documentation at the time of application.

  1. Have the correct legal status (public entity or not-for-profit, tax-exempt, Florida Corporation).
  2. Have unrestricted use of the land and buildings associated with the project (for new construction or renovation) See Unrestricted Use of Land and/or Buildings for additional information.
  3. Retain ownership of all improvements made under the grant (unless the land or buildings are owned by the State of Florida and leased to an eligible applicant)
  4. Provide documentation of Total Support and Revenue for the last completed fiscal year.
  5. Have appropriate matching funds
  6. Provide an 8.5" x 11" reduction of current architectural plans
  7. Have support of local officials (for this project)
  8. Applicants with structures 50 years or older must submit a determination letter from the Division of Historical Resources (DHR) with the application or prior to the Panel Meeting. For additional information, please contact the Bureau of Historic Preservation (BHP) at 850.245-6366.

You will also need to complete an online application form. Each requirement is covered in more detail below.

All applicant organizations must:

  1. Be a public entity governed by either a municipality or county, or
  2. Have been established as a not-for-profit, tax-exempt Florida corporation according to the following definitions:
    1. Incorporated as an active not-for-profit Florida corporation, pursuant to Chapter 617, Florida Statutes. Division staff will verify that the applicant was in "active" status with the Division of Corporations at the time of application

    2. Designated as a tax-exempt organization as defined in Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4), of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 and

    3. Allowed to receive contributions pursuant to the provisions of s. 170 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954

Organizations that are not public entities must provide the organization's IRS determination letter documenting not-for-profit, tax-exempt status with each application.

The Division of Cultural Affairs will verify that the applicant is registered with the Division of Corporations as of the application deadline. If the applicant is not registered in Corporations by the application deadline, the application will be ineligible.

If the applicant is registered in Corporations but their status is not "active," the applicant must correct the status within ten (10) calendar days of notification or the application will be ineligible.

For more information on corporate status, visit http://www.sunbiz.org or call the Division of Corporations, profit and nonprofit information line at (850) 245-6054.

For more information about tax exempt designation as defined in Section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, see the "Charities and Non-Profits" section of the Internal Revenue Service website at http://www.irs.gov/Charities-&-Non-Profits/.

Matching Funds

You must match your request amount with other funds. The amount you must provide as match depends on your Total Support and Revenue and whether you are eligible for a REDI waiver.

Summary of Match Requirements
Total Support and Revenue Required Match
less than $1,000,001 1:1
$1,000,001 or more with a REDI waiver 1:1
$1,000,001 or more without a REDI waiver 2:1

REDI Waiver

The Rural Economic Development Initiative (REDI) recognizes those rural or economically distressed counties or communities designated pursuant to Sections 288.0656 and 288.06561, Florida Statutes, as REDI qualified. The REDI program is administered by the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.

Applicants in a REDI designated area must only provide $1 of required match for every $1 requested from the state regardless of their Total Support and Revenue. 

Applicants that seek a REDI waiver must submit a letter from the county government acknowledging the application and requesting a reduction of the 2:1 match (reduced to 1:1) on behalf of the applicant. This letter must be submitted with the application package.

For more information about REDI, including a list of eligible counties and communities, see the official REDI website at http://www.florida-redi.com.

Types of Match

There are four types of match:

At least 25% of match must be cash-on-hand.

No more than 50% of the match may be irrevocable pledges or in-kind contributions.

Non-profit organizations must have all match complete and confirmed at the time of application.

Municipalities and counties (public entities) must submit a copy of the approved resolution with the application package. The resolution should include the dollar amount dedicated and available to the project if the grant is awarded and the date the funds will be available. 

Resolutions that have not been approved by the application deadline cannot be used as match documentation.  Funding, as indicated by the resolution, must be made available within 90 days of state grant funding notification.  A resolution or minutes by a city or county commission will fulfill the cash-on-hand portion of the local match.

Cash-on-Hand (Liquid Assets)

At least 25% of the required match must be cash-on-hand (not merely pledged) and dedicated to the project at the time of application.

Cash-on-hand may exceed 25% of the total match, but may never be less than 25% of the total match.  Cash-on-hand may be documented by submitting an account statement that shows the availability of the cash.  For the purposes of this program, funds that are specifically dedicated to this project by a third party may be counted as cash-on-hand, if the applicant has an award letter or contract signed by the third party encumbering the funds.  To document third-party match, send a copy of the signed award letter or contract.

To document Cash-on-Hand send bank statements and/or a list of those unencumbered liquid assets dedicated to this project.


Expenditures made toward the project may be used as match, including purchase of building or site if the site was specifically acquired for the project.  You may not claim expenditures made over 5 years before the application deadline. Submit cash receipts as documentation.

Irrevocable Pledges

Irrevocable pledges of cash must be received by the Grantee by June 30 after the grant is awarded.  Pledges must be documented in the following manner

Only pledges that are auditable are acceptable.

Documented In-Kind Contributions

Sources of in-kind contributions must be itemized at the time of application, and the goods and services received and utilized by June 30 after the grant is awarded.  Itemized in-kind contributions must include the following information:

Volunteer hours may not be used as in-kind unless they are providing professional services. For example, a plumber or carpenter may provide in-kind as a skilled trade professional, but not as a general volunteer for the organization.

Note: In-Kind Contributions by the applicant are not eligible for match.

Restrictions on Matching Funds

Matching Funds Documentation

Documentation of matching funds may include:

Unrestricted Use of Land and/or Buildings

You must provide documentation that the Applicant has either Unrestricted Use (ownership or lease) of the building and the land associated with the proposal/project.

Exception for Acquisitions

Acquisition applicants are considered exempt from this Unrestricted Use eligibility requirement.  If the application is for an acquisition, the applicant must provide a description of the facility, purchase price, and a letter of intent to sell signed by the seller (see also, Building Acquisition). Remember, the state will not reimburse the grantee for an expense that was incurred prior to the execution of the Grant Award Agreement.  Therefore, the purchase of (closing on) the property or facility (an expense) may not take place prior to the execution of the Grant Award Agreement.

Ownership of Improvements

Applicants must retain ownership of all improvements made under the grant unless land or buildings or both are owned by the State of Florida and leased to an eligible applicant.

Total Support and Revenue

You must provide documentation of your Total Support and revenue for your last completed fiscal year.

Not-for-profit, tax-exempt organizations

You may (but are not required to) provide an audit to substantiate Total Support and Revenue.  If you do not have an audit, please provide a review, or a compilation signed by the authorizing official, as documentation of Total Support and Revenue.  Send the most recent available.

Municipal or county governments (public entities)

You may submit either an audit or an internally prepared financial statement as documentation of Total Support and Revenue.  Send the most recent available.

If an audit or internally prepared financial statement is provided, send only 1 copy and label accordingly. 

Important, but not required

If a City or County government owns the building or land or both and is applying on behalf of a not-for-profit organization, then the financial statements (or audit) of the applicant and the financial statements (or audit) of the organization that will be responsible for the management of the facility, once it is open, are recommended.

Current Architectural Plans

All applicants must submit an 8 ½" x 11" reduction of current architectural plans for the facility. DO NOT send full size architectural plans or drawings. See below for suggested submissions for each project type:

If the facility is 50 years old or older, you must submit a determination letter from the Bureau of Historic Preservation (BHP) approving the project plans. The determination letter must be submitted prior to the panel meeting. Do not send the original document from BHP as it will not be returned. Contact the Bureau of Historic Preservation at 850.245.6333.

Local Support

All applicants must submit letters of support from local officials (City and County Government) and community groups who are lending support to this project.  Letters should be from individuals who have actually visited the facility (if a renovation project) or participated in programs (if a new facility).  Applicants should avoid form letters; original letters are preferred.  Five or six support letters are sufficient.

In lieu of letters, you may submit a list of the officials.  Using the format below, include the name of the official, title (organization/affiliation), and signature.  Support letters will not be accepted after the application deadline. 

Typed Name of Official Complete Title
Organization /Affiliation

Submitting an Application

All application information submitted to the Division is open for public inspection and subject to the Public Records Law (Chapter 119, Florida Statutes).

Grant applications to the Division will have two parts: an application form (submitted online) an application package (submitted online).

Application Form

The application form must be completed using the Division's online grant application and submitted online by 5:00 pm ET on the application deadline. Deadlines and a link to the application form will be posted on the Division's web site.

Applicants may request that a submitted application be electronically un-submitted at any point before the application deadline. The application must be re-submitted by the application deadline to be considered.

See the application instructions for more information about the application form.

Attachments and Support Materials

Submit your attachments and support materials by uploading to the application form through the online system. Acceptable file formats are as follows:

Each application must include the following:

  1. Matching Funds Documentation
    1. Bank statements, awards, contracts, and/or a list of liquid assets for cash on hand
    2. Cash receipts for expenditures
    3. A list of irrevocable pledges
    4. A list of in-kind contributions
  2. Documentation of Unrestricted Use (construction and renovation projects) or Intent to Sell (acquisitions)
    1. Deed, title, property tax statement to document unrestricted use, OR
    2. Executed copy of lease and written explanation of any easements, covenants, or other conditions to document unrestricted use, OR
    3. Description of facility, purchase price and letter of intent to sell
  3. Total Support and Revenue Documentation
    1. Audit, review, or compilation (not-for-profit, tax-exempt applicants only)
    2. Audit or internally prepared financial statement (public entities applicants only)
    3. Optional - Audit of the organization that will be responsible for management of the facility (public entity applicants only)
  4. 8.5 x 11 inch reduction of current Architectural Plans
  5. REDI letter requesting reduction of match (if applicable)
  6. Local Support Documentation
    1. Up to 6 letters of support from local officials and community groups, OR
    2. A list of officials with signatures
  7. BHP Determination Letter
  8. Optional Support Materials such as:
    1. Photographs (original or electronic on CD)
    2. Supplemental or expanded budgets
    3. Flyers, brochures
    4. Newspaper articles
    5. Plans for sustainable design, etc.
  9. Non profit IRS Letter

Not-for-profit, tax-exempt applicants must also provide a IRS 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) determination letter.

Refer to the Application Requirements section for information on acceptable documentation.

Review Process (How your application will be reviewed)

  1. Division staff will review the applications for basic eligibility. The Division will release eligible applications to a review committee (also called a panel).
  2. The panel will evaluate each application on the four review criteria and assign a score which will determine the funding recommendation.
  3. The Florida Council on Arts and Culture reviews and approves the results of the panel meeting and forwards a ranked list to the Secretary of State.
  4. The Secretary of State approves the ranked list to be included in the Department of State's budget request to the Legislature.

Review Criteria and Scoring

Each eligible application will be evaluated on four competitive criteria.

Criteria Application section(s) Worth
Scope of Work Scope of Work: Project Narrative and Phases up to 15 points
Project Budget and Matching Funds Proposal Budget Detail: Expenses
Proposal Budget Detail: Income
Matching Funds Statement
up to 25 points
Need for Project Need for Project and Operating Forecast Detail
up to 30 points
Project Impact Project Impact up to 30 points

The total possible number of points is 100. The Application Review Committee's evaluation will be based on the information contained in the application and required attachments. The Committee members' individual ratings will be averaged to determine a final score for each application.

Applications must receive a minimum average score of 80 or higher to be recommended for funding to the Council on Arts and Culture. Applications receiving an average score of 80 or higher will be recommended to the Secretary of State for approval and will be forwarded to the Florida Legislature for funding consideration.

Panel Review Meeting

The panel meeting is a public process and is open to all. All applicants are encouraged, but not required, to attend the panel meeting.  The Division will email all eligible applicants pertinent information regarding the panel meeting prior to the meeting.

At the meeting, the Florida Council on Arts and Culture (Council) will serve as the panel.  There are two special provisions:

  1. At no time will any panel member lobby or serve as an advocate for any application or organization; and
  2. All panel members must comply with Section 112.312(8), Florida Statutes, Conflict of Interest; and Section 112.3143, Florida Statutes, Voting Conflicts for all applications

Meeting Procedure

  1. The panel Chair will announce the application number and organization name.
  2. The organization's representative may provide new information about the project since the application was submitted, if applicable.
  3. Any panel member may ask questions about the update or application. The panel will be encouraged to discuss the application, providing observations about the strengths and weaknesses of the application or project, and seek clarification from the applicant in any areas of uncertainty. These observations must be written on the panelist's evaluation sheet. The Division will retain each evaluation sheet as part of the application's permanent public record.
  4. The applicant will be permitted time to answer, explain, clarify, or respond to any question or observation made by any committee member.
  5. After all discussion has been concluded and everyone has been heard, the Chair will call on panelists to voice their initial score.
  6. Steps 1-5 will be repeated for each application in order until all applications have been reviewed.
  7. After all of the applications have been reviewed, the Chair will ask whether any audience member wishes to comment on any application.
  8. After all discussion has been concluded and everyone has been heard, the Chair will call for panelists to voice scores. The applications will be scored in the order of their review. Panelists can revise their scores at this time. Division staff will calculate and announce the average score for each application. There will be no opportunity to "revisit" the applications at a later time and change scores.
  9. After all scores have been announced, the Chair will ask for a motion to accept all scores.
  10. Following the review and scoring of all applications, the Chair will ask for general comments from the panel about the program or review process.
  11. The Chair will then ask for public comments prior to the conclusion of the meeting.

When the panel accepts all scores, a list will be created, ranked in order of total average score.  The ranked list will include all proposed projects with recommended funding levels for each project.  The Chair will submit a report to the Florida Council on Arts and Culture that will include the recommended ranked list, scores, and comments, including rollovers, if applicable.

Florida Council on Arts and Culture Review

The panel chair will submit the recommended funding list, ranked in order of total average score, to the Florida Council on Arts and Culture.  The Council will amend the Committee's recommendations based on the following new or existing information about the applicant or panel proceedings:

The Council will also amend typographical errors in the Committee's recommendations.

Applications with a tied average score will be ranked by application number order (lowest to highest).

The Council will submit the recommended funding list to the Secretary of State for approval.

Funding Process (How applications are funded)

The Secretary of State will provide the Legislature with an approved list, ranked in order of total average score, with funding recommendations for all projects that received a total average score of 80 and above. The Legislature may use this list to make funding decisions.

No project may receive more than $1.5 million during a 5 consecutive state fiscal year period.  "Receive" means measured from July 1 through June 30 of the fiscal year in which grant funds were awarded.

What if a new application is not funded?

Section 265.701(3), Florida Statutes, states:

"…projects approved and recommended by the Secretary of State which are not funded by the Legislature shall be retained on the project list for the following grant cycle only. All projects that are retained shall be required to submit such information as may be required by the department as of the established deadline date of the latest grant cycle in order to adequately reflect the most current status of the project"

If the Legislature does not fund any applicant on the list presented in a given year, the applicants on that list are eligible for "rollover" for the following year (only).

If the Legislature funds some of the applications on the list in a given year, the remaining applications not funded that year are NOT eligible for "rollover" for the following year. That would be a partial funding of the list and applicants must submit a new application for the next funding cycle.

Why Rollover?

As a rollover, your application:

A single list (of both rollover and new applications) ranked in order by average score, highest to lowest, will be submitted to the next session of the Legislature.

Rollover application recommendations will be identified as such on the ranked list.

Rollover Update

Applicants wishing to rollover must submit a Rollover Update. 
The Rollover update should provide updated information pertinent to the application since its original submission in the following application sections:

A specific deadline will be established and posted on the Division's website.  
When you submit the Rollover Application, Division staff will:

Removal from the Rollover List

An organization will be removed from the rollover list for the following:

If any of the above occurs, the applicant organization will be removed from the rollover list.  Changes in the Scope of Work (Project Narrative) or increased funding requests will require an organization to submit a new application, in accordance with the current application guidelines.  The new application will be placed with other new incoming applications in open competition and will no longer be guaranteed a place on the rollover list.

What if a rollover application is not funded?

Applications may only be on the rollover list once. If your application is not funded on the rollover, you must submit a new application.


For information about the Cultural Facilities Program, contact:

Elsie Rogers
Cultural Facilities Program Administrator
(850) 245-6483

For general information about the Division of Cultural Affairs and to access grant information and resources, visit our website at: http://www.florida-arts.org