CHALLENGE AMERICA: Applicant Eligibility

Nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3), U.S. organizations; units of state or local government; or federally recognized tribal communities or tribes may apply. Applicants may be arts organizations, local arts agencies, arts service organizations, local education agencies (school districts), and other organizations that can help advance the goals of the Arts Endowment. 

To be eligible, the applicant organization must

  • Meet the Arts Endowment's "Legal Requirements" including nonprofit, tax-exempt status at the time of application. (All organizations must apply directly on their own behalf. Applications through a fiscal agent are not allowed.)
  • Have a three-year history of programming prior to the application deadline.
  • Have submitted acceptable Final Report packages by the due date(s) for all Arts Endowment grant(s) previously received.

An organization whose primary purpose is to channel resources (financial, human, or other) to an affiliated organization is not eligible to apply if the affiliated organization submits its own application. This prohibition applies even if each organization has its own 501(c)(3) status. For example, the "Friends of ABC Museum" may not apply if the ABC Museum applies.

All applicants must have a DUNS number ( and be registered with the System for Award Management (SAM, and maintain an active SAM registration until the application process is complete, and should a grant be made, throughout the life of the award. 

See "How to Prepare and Submit an Application" for the documentation that is required to demonstrate eligibility. 

The designated state and jurisdictional arts agencies (SAAs) and their regional arts organizations (RAOs) are not eligible to apply under the Challenge America guidelines. SAAs and RAOs are eligible to apply through the Partnership Agreements guidelines. 

Ineligible applications will not be reviewed.

Application Limits

For this category, exceptions to the one-application rule are made only for parent organizations that have separately identifiable and independent components; this includes city or county governments.

If an organization applies to the Challenge America Fast-Track category, it may not submit another application to the Art Works category.

You may apply to other Arts Endowment funding opportunities, including Our Town, in addition to Challenge America Fast-Track. In each case, the request must be for a distinctly different project.

An organization that has received Challenge America Fast-Track grants in FY 2012, 2013, and 2014 may not apply for a Challenge America Fast-Track grant under these FY 2015 guidelines. That organization may apply for FY 2015 support under other Arts Endowment funding opportunities including Art Works.