Completing the Application Forms

The following instructions are for the application forms:

  • Project Budget (Pages 1 and 2)
  • Financial Information

Note: You may find it helpful to print out this document in its entirety to have as an easy reference as you complete the forms.

Project Budget Form (Pages 1 and 2)

NOTE: Organizations may not receive more than one Arts Endowment grant for the same expenses. This budget cannot include project costs that are supported by any other federal funds or their match.

Your Project Budget should reflect only those costs that will be incurred during the "Period of Support" that you have indicated for your project. Any costs incurred before or after those dates will be removed. Round all numbers to the nearest $100.

Combine like costs if necessary to make rounding more realistic. Applicants whose grants are recommended for less than the amount that is requested may be asked to revise the project budget. You may submit your own project budget, but this may not be submitted in lieu of the required Project Budget form.


  1. AMOUNT REQUESTED FROM THE ARTS ENDOWMENT: For Challenge America Fast-Track, all grants are for $10,000. For Art Works, grants will generally range from $10,000 to $100,000. Be realistic in your request.
  2. TOTAL MATCH FOR THIS PROJECT: The Arts Endowment requires each applicant to obtain at least half the total cost of each project from nonfederal sources. For example, if you receive a $10,000 grant, your total project costs must be at least $20,000 and you must provide at least $10,000 toward the project from nonfederal sources. Matches of more than dollar for dollar are encouraged. These matching funds may be all cash or a combination of cash and in-kind contributions as detailed below. Be as specific as possible. For projects that include additional partners, indicate on the form the portion of the match that is being contributed by each participant. Asterisk (*) those funds that are committed or secured.Cash match refers to the cash donations (including items or services that are provided by the applicant organization), grants, and revenues that are expected or received for this project. Do not include any Arts Endowment or other federal grants that are anticipated or received. Identify sources. The Arts Endowment allows the use of unrecovered indirect costs as part of the cash match or cost sharing. Your organization must have a federal negotiated indirect cost rate agreement to include unrecovered indirect costs.In-kind: Donated space, supplies, volunteer services are goods and services that are donated by individuals or organizations other than the applicant (third-party). To qualify as matching resources, these same items also must be listed in the project budget as direct costs. The dollar value of these non-cash donations should be calculated at their verifiable fair-market value. Identify sources. Reminder: Proper documentation must be maintained for all items noted as "in-kind."
  3. TOTAL PROJECT INCOME is the total of "1. Amount requested from the Arts Endowment" and "2. Total match for this project."


DIRECT COSTS are those that are identified specifically with the project. Be as specific as possible (e.g., show costs that relate to festival programming if your project is for a festival). For projects that include additional partners, indicate on the form the portion attributed to each participant.


Title and/or type of personnel Number of personnel Annual or average salary range % of time devoted to this project Amount
Executive Director (most of project) 1 $40,000 per yr. 7% $2,800
Executive Director (evaluation only) 1 $40,000 per yr. 3% $1,200
Archivists 3 $20-25,000 per yr. 5-40% $15,000
Support Staff 2 $15-20,000 per yr. 20-30% $9,000

Salaries and wages for performers and related or supporting personnel must be estimated at rates no less than the prevailing minimum compensation as required by the Department of Labor Regulations. (See "Legal Requirements" for details.) Salaries and wages that are incurred in connection with fund raising are not allowable project expenses; do not include them in your budget.

Fringe benefits are those costs other than wages or salary that are attributable to an employee, as in the form of pension, insurance, vacation and sick leave, etc. They may be included here only if they are not included as indirect costs.

  1. DIRECT COSTS: Salaries and wages cover compensation for personnel, administrative and artistic, who are paid on a salary basis. (Funds for contractual personnel and compensation for artists who are paid on a fee basis should be included in "3. Other expenses" on Page 2 of the Project Budget form, and not here.) Indicate the title and/or type of personnel, the number of personnel, the annual or average salary range, and the percentage of time that will be devoted to the project annually. List key staff positions, and combine similar functions. Where appropriate, use ranges. If the costs for evaluation and assessment are part of staff salary and/or time, separately identify those costs.
  2. DIRECT COSTS: Travel must be estimated according to the applicant's established travel practice, providing that the travel cost is reasonable and does not exceed the cost of air coach accommodations. Include subsistence costs (e.g., hotels, meals) as part of the "Amount" listed for each trip, as appropriate. Foreign travel, if any is intended, must be specified in this section and must conform with government regulations, including those of the U.S. Treasury Department Office of Foreign Asset Control. If Arts Endowment funds are used for foreign travel, such travel must be booked on a U.S. air-carrier when this service is available.
  3. DIRECT COSTS: Other expenses include consultant and artist fees, contractual services, promotion, acquisition fees, rights, evaluation and assessment fees, access accommodations (e.g., audio description, sign-language interpretation, closed or open captioning, large-print brochures/labeling), telephone, photocopying, postage, supplies and materials, publication, distribution, translation, transportation of items other than personnel, rental of space or equipment, and other project-specific costs. List artist compensation here if artists are paid on a fee basis.Television broadcast projects and educational/interpretive videos must be closed or open captioned. Applicants should check with captioning organizations for an estimate.If you intend to purchase any equipment that costs $5,000 or more per item and that has an estimated useful life of more than one year, you must identify that item here. Provide a justification for this expenditure either in this section of the Project Budget form or in your Details of the Project narrative.Group similar items together on a single line, with only one total cost. List consultant and artist fees or contracts for professional services on consecutive lines; do not scatter them throughout the list. Specify the number of persons and the applicable fee, rate, or amount of each. For other types of line items, provide details of what is included in each item. See the “Administration” example below.Example:
    Artists (5 @ $300-500 per week/30 weeks) $60,000
    Consultants (2 @ $150 per 1/2 day/1 day per mo./10 mos.) $6,000
    Access accommodations (sign-language interpretation and audio description) $1,200
    Costumes, props $6,500
    Project supplies $4,000
    Administration (rent -- $4,500, telephone -- $300, copying -- $200) $5,000

    Do not include fund raising, entertainment or hospitality activities, concessions (e.g., food, T-shirts), fines and penalties, bad debt costs, deficit reduction, cash reserves or endowments, lobbying, marketing expenses that are not directly related to the project, contingencies, miscellaneous, or costs incurred before the beginning of the official period of support.

  4. TOTAL DIRECT COSTS is the total of all direct cost items listed in "1. Salaries and wages" (from Page 1 of the Project Budget form), "2. Travel," and "3. Other expenses."
  5. INDIRECT COSTS are overhead or administrative expenses that are not readily identifiable with a specific project. (The costs of operating and maintaining facilities and equipment, depreciation or use allowances, and administrative salaries and supplies are typical examples of indirect costs.) Indirect costs are prorated or charged to a project through a rate negotiated with the Arts Endowment or another federal agency. NOTE: Colleges and universities may not apply a "research" indirect cost rate to Arts Endowment grants. If you do not have or intend to negotiate an indirect cost rate, leave this section blank. You may claim administrative costs or overhead as direct costs under "3. Other expenses." If you have a negotiated rate and would like to include indirect costs, complete the information requested in this section. For additional information, see " Indirect-Cost-Guide-for-NEA-Grantees.pdf."
  6. TOTAL PROJECT COSTS is the total of "4. Total direct costs," and, if applicable, "5. Indirect costs." NOTE: "3. Total project income" (from Page 1 of the Project Budget form) must equal the "Total project costs." Your project budget should not equal your organization's entire operating budget.


Financial Information Form

If you are applying for a Challenge America Fast-Track grant, do not complete this form.

Provide the requested information for your organization for the most recently completed fiscal year, the current fiscal year (estimated), and the next fiscal year (projected). If you are a parent organization, provide this information for the component on whose behalf you are applying (e.g., for a university project, provide the information for the component, not the entire university). For components, footnotes (e.g., "museum guards and utilities paid for by university") may be helpful to explain the relationship that the component has with the larger entity. If your organization is a smaller entity that exists within a larger organization (such as an academic department of a college or university), submit information for the smaller entity and follow the instructions for parent organizations and components.

This page is intended to show your organization's fiscal activity as it relates to operations. Do not include activity related to a capital campaign (such as raising money for a new facility, an endowment fund, or a cash reserve fund). The Arts Endowment may request additional information to clarify an organization's financial position.

In the space provided on the form, discuss the fiscal health of your organization. You must explain 1) any changes of 15% or more in either your income or expenses from one year to the next, and 2) plans for reducing any deficit (include the factors that contributed to the deficit and its amount).

Use the following definitions when completing this form. Unaudited figures are acceptable.

Earned Income: Revenues that are received through the sale of goods, services performed, or from investments. Examples: ticket sales, subscription revenue, contractual fees, interest income.

Contributed Income: Gifts that are received which are available to support operations. Examples: annual fund donations, grants for general operating or project support, in-kind contributions.

Artistic salaries and fees: Costs that are directly related to the creation, production, and presentation of art work. Examples: fees for dancers, choreographers, actors, curators, artistic directors, contributors to literary publications. Include arts personnel that are on your staff as well as those that are paid on a contract or fee basis.

Production/exhibition/service expenses: All program or service delivery costs, excluding artistic salaries and fees that are listed above. Examples: presentation costs; costs of sets, costumes, and lighting; publication costs of catalogues or literary magazines.

Administrative expenses: All other costs that are incurred during the normal course of business. Examples: outside professional non-artistic services, space rental, travel, marketing, administrative salaries, utilities, insurance, postage.

Total Expenses: In the "Most recently completed fiscal year" column, this figure should agree with the "Total organizational operating expenses for the most recently completed fiscal year" that you provide on the NEA Organization & Project Profile Form.

NOTE: The figures listed in the "Most recently completed fiscal year" column are subject to verification by the Arts Endowment.