Covid-19 Artist Relief Fund for Organizations

Howard County Arts Council FY21 COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant Program Cycle 2 for Organization Guidelines
Application Calendar
April 2, 2021 Grant applications available online at
May 6, 2021 Cycle 2 applications are due by 11:59 PM EST on May 6, 2021
July 15, 2021 Final Report Due. July 15, 2021
The Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) is a private, nonprofit 501c3 organization established to enrich and serve our community by fostering the arts, artists, and arts organizations. HCAC is governed by a volunteer Board of Directors whose members are elected to two terms.
To advance our mission, HCAC provides a wide variety of programs and services to strengthen the vitality of the arts in our community and broaden opportunities for public engagement in the arts. The Howard County Arts Council COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant for Organizations program was established to help stabilize and support independent, 501(c)3 county arts organizations for reimbursement of expenditures and other costs of business interruptions sustained due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.
HCAC Responsibilities
HCAC is authorized by the Howard County government and the Maryland State Arts Council to administer public funds designated for the arts. As the designated arts council for Howard County, HCAC is responsible for:
  • Establishing criteria and procedures for submission and funding of applications.
  • Developing and maintaining a grant process and reporting requirements in accordance with established criteria and procedures.
  • Reviewing, evaluating and prioritizing applications for grants funds.
  • Selecting recipients and determining grant award amounts.staff is available to provide technical assistance in completing grant applications during regular office hours between 9:00 AM through 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. Contact the Grants and Special Projects administrator at 410-313-ARTS (2787) or" Staff is working remotely, please understand that there may be a delay in our response due to working remotely.
Emergency Grant Overview
The purpose of the Howard County Arts Council (HCAC) COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant for Organizations is to support current HCAC Community Arts Development grantees as they adjust to revenue losses sustained because of modified or cancelled programs and/or operations due to the COVID-19 public health emergency. CAD Operational Grantee applicants may apply for grant funding up to $5,000 and CAD Project Grantee applicants may apply for up to $2,000; there is no matching financial requirement for the HCAC Emergency Relief Grant.
The deadline for HCAC COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant applications May 6, 2021 at 11:59PM.
HCAC will begin accepting applications for the FY21 application second cycle in April. The grant period for the second cycle is July 1, 2020 - June 30, 2021. Activities eligible for funding must occur within the grant period.
Applicant must be an independent 501(c)3 tax exempt arts organization and a current FY21 HCAC Community Arts Development grant recipient. Arts programs (under a non-arts parent organization) and units of government, colleges, or K-12 schools are not eligible to apply.
Applicant must have at least one completed and documented fiscal year of ongoing arts activities as of the date of the application submission
Grant funds may be used for losses sustained because of programming and/or operations that have been modified or cancelled due to the COVID-19 public health emergency between January 1-June 30,2021.
CAD Operational Grantee applicants may request a maximum amount of $5,000. CAD Project Grantee applicants may request a maximum amount of $2,000.
Eligible applicants who did not receive COVID-19 Emergency Relief or HoCo Rise funding through HCAC between July 1 – December 31 2020 will be given preference should requests exceed amount of funding available
Review Criteria
Successful applications will demonstrate:
  • Potential of funding to have an impact on applicant’s recovery and ability to contribute to the artistic life of Howard County
  • Clarity and completeness of application
  • Clear, specific, and detailed evidence of need based on the following:
  1. Impact of COVID-19 on operations and programs.
Be detailed. Losses are well documented, clear and appropriate. Describe the programs/operations that have been modified or cancelled as a result of COVID-19 for activities taking place between January 1-June 30, 2021. Provide clear, specific, and thorough explanation of the modifications/cancellations with detailed evidence of significant impact to the applicant and Howard County’s arts community(ies) and residents.
  1. Budget vs. Actual Comparison.
Upload a document that includes a detailed line-by-line comparison of the applicant’s FY21 initial operating budget for activities taking place between January 1 – June 30, 2021, FY21 revised operating budget due to COVID-19 for activities taking place between January 1 – June 30, 2021 , and actual FY19 operating income/expenses for activities taking place between January 1 – June 30, 2019. [This document should include 3 columns comparing initial FY21 budget, revised FY21 budget (modified/cancelled programs and operations), and FY19 actuals] The revised FY21 budget should include all anticipated emergency revenue/income from federal, state, state or county resources. Be detailed. Provide clear, specific, and thorough financial information showing the line-by-line change in revenues and expenses due to COVID-19 and demonstrating the impact and need(s) identified in the narratives above.
  1. Impact of relief funds.
Be detailed. Identify specific areas of need for funding to support operations, programs or additional program costs required as a result of COVID-19. Provide clear, specific, and thorough explanation with detailed evidence of how the proposed funding will address identified need(s) and will impact the applicant and Howard County’s arts community(ies) and residents.
  1. Budget for use of HCAC COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant funds. Based on your submitted narratives and financials above, identify what operations and/or program(s) will be supported through HCAC’s COVID-19 Emergency Relief Cycle 2 Grant and upload a budget that shows how specific operational activities and/or programs will be impacted line by line. Be detailed. Budget should clearly show the loss/expense and how the request will positively impact specific areas of operations and/or program need(s).
  2. Please list other sources of financial support and dollar amounts that you have received, or are scheduled to receive in FY21, including, but not limited to, Small Business Grants/Loans, Payroll Protection Funds, National Endowment for the Arts or National Endowment for the Humanities CARES Act Funds, MD Humanities Funds, and unemployment insurance. Indicate whether these sources are pending, committed, or received.
Application Review Process
HCAC utilizes the cloud-based GOsmart grants system to accept grant applications. Only successfully submitted applications will be accepted and reviewed. Incomplete or hard copy applications will be disqualified.
HCAC staff will review application for eligibility and completeness. Eligible applications for grant requests will be forwarded to HCAC’s Committee on Grants, a standing committee of the HCAC Board of Directors, for review and evaluation. Final approval rests with the HCAC Board of Directors. HCAC reserves the right to assign additional individuals to serve as Emergency Grant reviewers from HCAC’s Board of Directors and the general public, as needed.
  • Applicant may receive funding for only one FY21 HCAC COVID-19 Emergency Relief Cycle 2 Grant.
      • Applicant is required to complete and submit application by electronic means on the cloud-based GOsmart platform, including the use of an electronic signature.
  • Late or incomplete applications will be rejected. All required attachments and supplemental information must be included.
      • Lost or misdirected applications are the sole responsibility of the applicant.
  • Applicant may be asked to clarify and/or revise their application. Applicant must meet all revision deadlines after submission, as specified in writing, or the application will be withdrawn.
  • Before any grant funds are distributed, HCAC Emergency Grant recipients are also required to submit any outstanding grant reports/requirements.
  • The decision of HCAC’s Board of Directors is final.
HCAC COVID-19 Emergency Relief Grant applications are due on May 6, 2021 at 11:59PM.
After HCAC Emergency Relief Grant applications are reviewed, applicants will be notified of the grant status by mail or email as soon as possible, and, if approved, receive a formal grant agreement form to process the grant payment (100% of award amount).
All decisions of the HCAC Committee on Grants and staff assigned to the HCAC Emergency Relief Grant program are final. If approved for funding, applicant must submit a signed Letter of Agreement and any outstanding materials or final reports for this, or any other HCAC program, if applicable, before grant funds are released.
Restrictions and Accountability
Grant funds may not be used for: re-granting; cash prizes; scholarships; acquisition of capital assets; activities for the exclusive benefit of an organization’s members; activities that are principally recreational, therapeutic, or rehabilitative; projects chiefly for K-12 classroom use or in school activities; activities not open to the general public; tuition assistance; refreshment costs; travel; fundraising; gifts; merchandise/items for sale (i.e. t-shirts and posters); pre-existing expenses, debts, deficits or obligations incurred by the organization; or capital improvements or purchases of permanent equipment over $250 (NOTE: PPE equipment needed to re-open or to operate safely can be included, please check with HCAC staff for questions regarding PPE equipment).
In addition, grant funds may not be used to make contributions to any persons who hold, or are candidates for, elected office; to any political party, organization, or action committee; or in connection with any political campaign or referendum, or lobbying activities HCAC and/or the Howard County Government may request to examine or audit all pertinent books, records, and accounts of grant recipients.
Reporting Requirements
If awarded an HCAC Emergency Relief Grant, applicant must file a final report through GOsmart no more than 15 business days after the funded project occurred or on or before July 15. Failure to submit the final report may jeopardize current and/or future HCAC grants and may result in repayment of grant funds. Before any funds are distributed, grantees must submit any outstanding reports/requirements for any other MSAC grants they have received.
If a grant is awarded, all public materials, including brochures, media and press releases, programs and other materials must give credit to the Howard County Arts Council, Howard County Government, and the Maryland State Arts Council. Use HCAC, Howard County Government, and Maryland State Arts Council logos where appropriate. When no printed information is used, oral credit must be given.

Grant recipients must notify HCAC in writing if a significant change is made in the use of approved funds. HCAC reserves the right, at the discretion of the Committee on Grants and the Board of Directors, to alter the amount or disbursement dates of a grant award if a significant change is made once a grant has been awarded. Unused grant funds must be returned to HCAC.

Fraud and Misrepresentation
If awarded, grant funds shall be used only for purposes outlined in applicant’s grant application on file with HCAC. Applicant certifies that all of the information and representations contained in the application are and remain true and complete in all material respects. Should it come to the attention of HCAC that any materials submitted by the applicant are fraudulent or misrepresentative in any manner, any agreement based on the application is null and void and the applicant acknowledges that any remaining grant funds not yet disbursed are forfeited and that the applicant is responsible for reimbursing HCAC for funds already disbursed.
As a private 501(c)3 that receives public funds, HCAC is committed to provide equal opportunity in all facets of its operation without regard to race, sex, creed, religion, national origin, age, occupation, personal appearance, political opinion, sexual orientation, marital status, physical or mental disability, familial status, source of income, or gender identity. HCAC complies with all county, state, and federal equal protection statutes and regulations, including Title VI, Section 601, of the Civil Rights Act of 1964; Title IX, Section 1681, of the Education Amendments of 1972; Section 6101 of the Age Discrimination Act of 1975; Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended; and the American with Disabilities Act of 1990.
Appeals Process
HCAC takes care during the entire grants review process to be as thorough as possible to ensure fair and equitable distribution of grant moneys. Therefore, simple dissatisfaction with the denial of an award or the amount of the award is not sufficient reason for appeal. Reconsideration of a grant award will take place only if there has been a procedural impropriety or error. This means one of the following:
  • A decision based on review criteria other than those stated in the guidelines.
  • A decision based on a recommendation of a panelist with undisclosed conflict of interest.
  • A decision based on material provided to panelists and/or HCAC Board members that was substantially incorrect, inaccurate, or incomplete despite the applicant having provided the staff with correct, accurate, and complete application information by the application due date.
Dissatisfaction with the denial of an award or the amount of the award is not sufficient reason for appeal.
Given this information, should an applicant feel there is legitimate reason for appeal, the applicant must write a letter to the HCAC Executive Director stating the grounds for appeal within fifteen (15) days of the postmark date of the notification. The Committee on Grants will review the appeal and make a recommendation. Based on that recommendation, the Board of Directors will make a final decision. The applicant will receive written notification on the determination of the appeal within 45 days of the receipt of the letter of appeal.