Welcome to the Division of Cultural Affairs Fast Track Project Grant Guidelines. We're glad that you are applying for a grant from the Division. These guidelines are incorporated by reference into Rule 1T-1.040, Florida Administrative Code, and detail policies and requirements for the application and administration of Arts and Cultural Grants Program grants.
The following forms must be used in the administration of all grants in these guidelines and are hereby incorporated by reference and available from the Division at http://www.dosgrants.com/:
|#||Title||Form #||Effective Date|
|1.||Grant Application, Fast Track Project||CA2E157||4/2017|
|2.||Fast Track Grant Award Agreement||CA2E163||4/2017|
|3.||Final Grant Report||CA2E004||4/2016|
The Fast Track Project Grant Program is designed to provide expedited access to funds supporting small organizations through arts and cultural projects including but not limited to artist residencies, performances, or exhibitions.
This program is not intended to fund the general programming activities of your organization.
Grant Period and Deadlines
All proposed activity must take place within the grant period. There are two (2) application deadlines yearly for this program. Applicants may only receive one grant per fiscal year from this program.
- Deadline: March 1
Panel Date: early May
Council approval and notification of awards: late May
Funding Period: July 1 through December 31
- Deadline: September 12
Panel Date: early November
Council approval and notification of awards: late November
Funding Period: January 1 through June 30
Grant period extensions must be approved by the Division.
Organizations must have a last completed fiscal year's total operating budget of $150,000 or less and can request from $1,000 to $2,500. See Basic Eligibility for additional information.
All applicants must meet the following basic eligibility requirements at the time of application.
Have the required legal status;
Agree to comply with all application requirements:
Complete all proposal activities within the grant period;
Make programming and activities open and accessible to all members of the public (see accessibility and non-discrimination);
Agree to comply with all grant administration requirements (see How to Manage Your Grant):
Provide all information needed for the grant award agreement
Sign and return the grant award agreement within 30 days;
Request approval for any changes to the awarded grant;
Submit timely and accurate reports (see grant reporting);
Maintain complete and accurate grant records (see maintaining grant records);
Comply with the requirements of the Florida Single Audit Act;
Credit the State of Florida and Division of Cultural Affairs for funding (see crediting the Division); and
Give notification of international travel at least 30 days before travel begins.
In addition to these basic eligibility requirements, all applicants in non-compliance at the time of the deadline will be deemed ineligible to apply. There are also specific eligibility requirements for the Fast Track Project Grants Program. Eligible applicants must have a:
- Last completed fiscal year's total operating income of $150,000 or less.
To meet the legal status requirement, an applicant organization must be either a public entity or a Florida nonprofit, tax exempt corporation as of the application deadline.
- Public Entity
- A Florida local government, entity of state government, school district, community college, college, or university. Private schools, private community colleges, private colleges, and private universities are not public entities and must be nonprofit and tax exempt to meet the legal status requirement.
- Nonprofit, Tax Exempt
- A Florida organization that is both:
Nonprofit: incorporated as an active nonprofit Florida corporation, in accordance with Chapter 617 or Chapter 623, Florida Statutes; and
Tax exempt: designated as tax exempt as defined in section 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1954, as amended. Staff will verify status in Guidestar at www.guidestar.org
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 deemed ineligible.
If the applicant is registered in Corporations but their status is not "active," the applicant must correct the status within 10 calendar days of notification or the application will be deemed ineligible.
For more information on corporate status, visit Sunbiz.org or call the Division of Corporations, profit and nonprofit information line at (850) 245-6052. To verify corporate status, you can review your corporate record online through the Sunbiz document search tool.
For more information about tax exempt status, see Exemption Requirements - Section 501(c)(3) Organizations on the Internal Revenue Service website. (http://www.irs.gov).
- All applicants must provide a DUNS number. You can request a DUNS number at http://www.dandb.com
- Nonprofit, tax exempt applicants must provide a letter from the IRS stating that the applicant is tax exempt under 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4). Public entities are not required to provide an IRS determination letter.
- All applicants must provide a copy of the Substitute W-9 with the grant contract. This can be found at https://flvendor.myfloridacfo.com.
The IRS determination letter must be included in the application package (postmarked by the application deadline). If the letter is not received, the Division will notify the applicant. The applicant must provide the IRS determination letter within 10 calendar days (postmarked) of notification or the application will be deemed ineligible.
Accessibility and Non-Discrimination
The Division of Cultural Affairs is committed to making the arts and culture accessible to everyone, including:
- persons with disabilities;
- older adults;
- culturally and economically underserved populations; and
Organizations seeking support for activities that will not be open and accessible to all members of the public, regardless of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, disability, age, or marital status are not eligible for this publicly funded grant.
Grant Proposal Budget
The Proposal Budget expenses must equal the Proposal Budget income.
Applicants are only required to have 50% match (cash or in-kind). There is no limit on the amount of in-kind that can be included in the proposal budget.
This is called match. Some expenses can only appear in the Proposal Budget as match. (see Match Only Expenses).
Matching funds may be anticipated at the time of application, but must be received by the end of the grant period. All expenses (both state grant and match) must be paid out (not merely encumbered) by the grant end date.
In-kind (Donated Goods and Services)
In-kind can appear in both the proposal budget and the operating budget. To calculate the value of volunteer services, use the federal minimum wage (see the Wage and Hour Division of the US Department of Labor http://www.wagehour.dol.gov). If the volunteer is professionally skilled in the service provided (such as a photographer donating photography services or a Certified Public Accountant providing a pro bono audit), use the wage rate the individual is normally paid for the service.
The value of all professionally skilled services used as in-kind must be documented in writing by the volunteer. The value of donated goods must also be documented. Records of such documentation must be available upon request.
There is no limit on the amount of in-kind allowed in the Proposal Budget.
The amount of in-kind allowed in the Operating Budget depends on the applicant's Total Cash Income as defined in the application.
If Total Cash Income is $150,000 or less, Total Operating Income may not include more than 25% in-kind.
- Maximum allowable in-kind = Total Cash Income divided by 3.
If Total Cash Income is over $150,000, Total Operating Income may not include more than 10% in-kind.
- Maximum allowable in-kind = Total Cash Income divided by 9.
Allowable expenses must be:
- directly related to the proposal;
- specifically and clearly detailed in the proposal budget; and
- incurred and paid within the grant start and end dates.
Only allowable expenses may be included in the proposal budget. The grantee may be asked to provide documentation such as canceled checks, paid invoices, or other financial documents verifying grant related expenses.
Spending state grant funds on expenses that have not been approved by the Division, even if directly related to the program or project, will be disallowed and could result in a legal demand for the return of grant funds.
Match Only Expenses
No state funds may be used towards operational or indirect/overhead costs which include, but are not limited to:
- office supplies;
- equipment costing over $1,000;
- property improvements;
- building maintenance;
- travel; and
- space rental.
In addition, no state funds may be used on expenses incurred or obligated before the grant start date, however expenses incurred before the start date and after July 1 may be included as match.
The Grantee agrees to expend all grant funds received under this agreement solely for the purposes for which they were authorized and appropriated. Expenditures shall be in compliance with the state guidelines for allowable project costs as outlined in the Department of Financial Services' Reference Guide for State Expenditures, which are incorporated by reference and are available online at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/aadir/reference_guide/. The following are non-allowable expenses for grant and matching funds.
- State funds from any source. This includes any income that comes from an appropriation of state funds or grants from the State of Florida;
- Funds used as match for other Department of State grants;
- Expenses incurred or obligated before July 1 or after the grant period;
- Lobbying or attempting to influence federal, state, or local legislation;
- Building, renovation, or remodeling of facilities;
- Capital expenditures (includes acquisitions, building projects, and renovations); Exception: Capital expenditures that are directly related to the proposal, such as exhibit construction or stage lighting, are allowed. Please contact a program manager with questions;
- Costs associated with bad debts, contingencies (money set aside for possible expenses), fines and penalties, interest, taxes (does not include payroll taxes), depreciation, and other financial costs including bank fees and charges and credit card fees;
- Private entertainment;
- Food, and beverages;
- Plaques, awards, and scholarships;
- Activities that are restricted to private or exclusive participation, which shall include restricting access to programs on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin, religion, handicap, age, or marital status;
- Contributions and donations;
- Mortgage payments; and
- Payments to current Department of State employees.
All applications will be evaluated and scored using the following three criteria.
- Impact; and
Excellence (up to 40 points)
Applicants must demonstrate excellence in all aspects of the proposal. Panelists will consider the following application responses:
- Applicant Mission Statement and
- Proposal Description
Impact (up to 40 points)
Applicants must demonstrate the expected impact of the proposal. Panelists will consider the following application responses:
- Estimated number of individuals benefiting, youth benefiting, elders benefiting, and artists participating;
- Estimated number of events and opportunities;
- Location of project/programming; and
Management (up to 20 points)
This criterion covers administration, planning, and evaluation. Panelists will consider the following application responses:
- Evaluation Plan;
- Operating Budget; and
- Proposal Budget.
Panelists will also consider applicant's reporting history and compliance status as of the panel meeting (see noncompliance).
Applications must earn a minimum average score of 80 to be recommended for funding by the review panel.
The maximum number of points an application can earn is 100. Panel members will individually score each application. The average of the individual panelist scores will be rounded to three decimal places. When the fourth decimal is a 5 or greater, the score will be rounded up in favor of the applicant. For example, 79.9995 will be rounded to 80 but 79.9993 would remain 79.999.
The application review process includes the following:
- Staff Review for eligibility;
- Panel Review and scoring;
- Florida Council on Arts and Culture recommendations; and
- Secretary of State approval.
Staff will contact the applicant during the staff review to address issues with eligibility including:
Issues with applicant's legal status:
IRS determination letter is not contained in the application package;
IRS status has been revoked;
Federal Employer Identification Number or Corporate name does not match IRS determination letter;
Federal Employer Identification Number or Corporate name does not match the Florida Division of Corporations record; and
Applicant is incorporated as a nonprofit but does not have an active Florida Division of Corporations record.
Issues with basic application requirements:
Activities fall outside of the grant period;
Request amount is too high or the proposal budget does not meet matching requirements; and
The proposal budget contains non-allowable costs.
Applicant does not meet eligibility requirements for the selected proposal type, funding category or discipline.
Staff will also contact the applicant if the application indicates support materials are included but no materials are received.
After the application deadline, applications may only be amended at the request of Division staff. Only changes that are requested by the Division will be provided to the review panel.
After Division staff review, the Division will release eligible applications to the grant panel for review and scoring. For this program panelists may be Division staff and practicing artists or other professionals. Panelists will be appointed by the Secretary of State each year based on the panelist resume, knowledge, experience, and active involvement in the cultural community.
The Division is always seeking panelist nominations. Anyone may nominate a panelist (themselves or someone else) at any time by contacting a program manager (see help). Panelists may serve on a specific panel for up to 3 consecutive years. Panelists serve on a volunteer basis.
All panel members must comply with the Standards of Conduct for Public Officers and Employees of Agencies as set forth in section 112.313. Florida Statutes, and voting conflict of interest laws as set forth in sections 112.3143 and 286.012 Florida Statutes.
Panelists independently evaluate each application based on the review criteria detailed in these guidelines. After each panel member has evaluated the applications, there will be a public panel meeting to review, discuss, and score the applications. Panelists must voice their scores in the panel meeting. Only scores voiced during the panel meeting count towards the final average score for an application.
Panel meetings are a public process (usually conducted by teleconference) and anyone can participate by attending in person or by calling in via a toll-free number. Participation instructions will be emailed to applicants and posted on the Division's web site. The Division strongly encourages applicants to participate in the grant panel meeting, however it is not required. Participating in the panel process can be very helpful for those that intend to apply for future grants.
Panel meetings for the Fast Track Grants are chaired by a member of the Florida Council on Arts and Culture. If a member of the Council is not available a Division staff member will serve as the panel Chair. Chairs do not vote on applications being reviewed.
A typical panel meeting will include the following:
- Call to Order;
- Introduction of Panelists and Staff;
- Panel Instructions from the Chair;
- Preliminary scoring of applications. For each application:
- the Chair will announce the application number and applicant name;
- applicants may provide a brief update on the application. Updates may only include new proposal information;
- applicants will be permitted to respond to panelist questions;
- each panelist will voice his or her score;
- Division staff will calculate and voice the total points and the average panel score.
- Public comment prior to panel consensus on scores:
During public comment, anyone (including applicants) may speak about the applications under consideration. After public comment, panelists may adjust their scores before the final vote to accept all scores.
- Panel Recommendations;
- General discussion from the panel (policies, procedures);
- General comments from the public (limited to 3 minutes or at the Chair's discretion);
- Closing remarks from the Chair; and
Florida Council on Arts and Culture Review
After the panel meeting, the Division will report the panel recommendations to the Florida Council on Arts and Culture in the form of a ranked list. The Council may amend panel recommendations based on new or existing information about the applicant or panel proceedings.
Information that will allow recalculation of the average score by the Council are:
- a panelist's conflict of interest; and
- scoring errors.
Information that may result in the Council recommending zero funding are:
- noncompliance with administrative requirements of previous grants;
- bankruptcy or other fiscal concerns; and
- changes in the applicant's staff that would impair implementation of the proposed grant activity.
All applications recommended by the Council will be submitted to the Secretary of State for review and approval.
Subject to available funds, Fast Track Project recommendation approved by the Secretary of State will be funded top-down at full request until the funding is depleted.
How to Apply
All application information submitted to the Division is open for public inspection and subject to the Public Records Law (Chapter 119, Florida Statutes).
The application must be completed using the Division's online grant system and submitted online by 5:00 pm ET on the application deadline. If a deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday or legal holiday, the deadline date will be the next business day. 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.
Grant applications to the Division will have two parts: an application form and an application package.
The application package must contain the following:
1 copy of IRS 501(c)(3) or 501(c)(4) determination letter (nonprofit, tax exempt applicants only); and
- Should include support materials: optional but strongly encouraged.
If support materials are included applicants must provide 5 sets with a cover sheet. See support materials for more information.
Do not include printed copies of your electronic application form in the application package.
The application package must be postmarked and mailed to the Division on or before the deadline. Deadlines and a link to the application form will be posted on the Division's website. Applications that include less than five (5) copies of support materials and/or are postmarked after the grant deadline will be deemed ineligible. All support materials postmarked after the grant deadline will not be forwarded to the panel.
If the application deadline falls on a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday, the application package must be postmarked by the following day which is not a Saturday, Sunday, or legal holiday.
The Division recommends that applicants purchase a certificate of mailing or similar receipt as evidence of the date mailed. The use of express package delivery services is not necessary since the deadline is a "postmark deadline." Mail application packages to:
Division of Cultural Affairs
Florida Department of State
500 South Bronough Street
Tallahassee, Florida 32399-0250
Support materials may be considered in the panel review and scoring. Submitting support materials is highly encouraged.
Support materials may include, but are not limited to:
- video or audio work samples;
- brochures, programs, catalogs, photographs or other printed materials (include those with accessibility symbols);
- materials crediting the Division for recent grants;
- recent support letters or reviews;
- long range plan or status report;
- organizational chart;
- list of collections (museums);
- list of current board members;
- detail about in-kind; and
- a letter from the Executive Director.
You may submit any combination of support materials. For example, you could submit:
- an organization chart;
- 2 video excerpts (less than 10 minutes each);
- 3 support letters;
- detail about in-kind;
- a long range plan;
- 2 reviews;
- a concert program; and
- an example of a study material.
Support materials should include a cover sheet with the following information:
Please submit only high quality materials that support your application and only as many as you need. Required attachments do not count towards the 10 upload limit.
It is your responsibility to verify and receive permission for the use of any copyrighted materials. You are also responsible for considering accessibility of your materials.
Panelists are not required to own specific software and the Division makes no guarantee that panelists will be able to view your digital materials. To increase the chances of file compatibility, make sure files are in one of the following formats.
- .pdf, .txt (documents)
- .jpg, .gif, .pdf (images)
- .mp3 (audio excerpts)
- .mp4, .mov (video excerpts)
Support materials must be uploaded in the online system by the application deadline. Attachments and support materials will not be accepted by another other method including email and fax.
You may include up to 10 uploads for your support materials in addition to your attachments. You can include more than one item in an upload. You are not required to upload multiple copies. You must describe your materials as you upload them.
For general information about the Division of Cultural Affairs and to access grant information, panel details and resources, visit our web site at: http://www.florida-arts.org.
For information about the Fast Track Grants program, contact:
Sarah T. Stage