Grants & Scholarships


Small Arts & Culture Grants

To support small, community-driven arts and culture organizations statewide.

  • Overview


    A 2014 survey revealed that of the 1,884 registered arts and culture nonprofit organizations in Oregon, 61% have budgets under $100,000. Although these organizations are central to the vitality of Oregon’s communities, they are often not eligible or competitive for traditional grant programs. In response to this need, Oregon Community Foundation (OCF) announces the 6th year of the Small Arts & Culture Grants Program. Over the next three years, (2019-2021), OCF will invest $350,000 annually to support small community-driven arts and culture organizations.

    One-year grants of $1,000 to $5,000 for general operating support will be available to arts and culture organizations with operating budgets under $100,000. Funds are being allocated to each of Oregon’s eight regions based on population and the number of applications received from each region (see page 3 of this RFP for more information on regional allocations).

    2018 Grantees

    107 Small Arts & Culture Grants were awarded throughout Oregon, totaling $300,000. For a complete list of grantees, please click on the following link:

    2018 Small Arts & Culture Grantees

  • Eligibility


    The purpose of the 2019 Small Arts and Culture Grant cycle is to make funds available to small organizations for operating expenses. 

    To be eligible organizations must:

    • Be incorporated with a mission identifying arts and/or culture as a priority reason for the organization’s existence
    • Be a certified 501(c)3 tax exempt organization in good standing with the IRS
    • Be headquartered in Oregon
    • Document that the cash expenses of the organization during the most recently completed fiscal year were less than $100,000
    • Submit a complete grant application online through OCF’s website
    • Be prepared to use the awarded funds completely within one year of receipt
    • Submit only one application per year for no less than $1,000 and no more than $5,000

    Preference will be given to applications that:

    1. Have not previously been funded by this program
    2. Represent a diverse range of geography, urban/rural communities and organizations led by and serving historically underrepresented groups.

    Learn more about OCF’s commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion by following this link.


  • Application Guidelines

    Application Guidelines

    One-year grants of $1,000 to $5,000 for general operating support will be available to arts and culture organizations with operating budgets under $100,000. Funds will be allocated to each of Oregon’s eight regions based on population and the number of applications received from each region (see page 3 of this RFP for more information on regional allocations).

    Applications for this grant program will be reviewed by volunteers representing each region of Oregon and decisions will be made independently in those regions. The application process and reporting requirements are designed to be relatively simple to acknowledge that many small organizations are run by volunteers with little staffing infrastructure or grant writing expertise.

    2019 RFP

    Please review our updated  2019 Request for Proposals for detailed information on eligibility, the scope of proposals sought, application process, and review criteria. Additional information can be found on our Small Arts & Culture FAQ Document


    Proposals must be submitted online by 5:00 pm (PST) on May 15, 2019 (Wednesday). Only proposals completed on OCF’s online grant system (MY OCF) will be accepted. Late or incomplete applications cannot be considered. The online application will be available by April 1, 2019.


    Scope of Proposals Sought

    The intent of the Small Arts & Culture Grants Program is to support a wide range of cultural and artistic organizations that enrich the lives of Oregonians and Oregon communities. The current three-year grant initiative will continue to focus on general operating support to allow organizations to dictate how to best use funds to advance their mission. Operating support grants are intended to support the core, ongoing operations and programs of an organization. This includes, but is not limited to: staffing, administration, outreach, marketing, overhead, and/or programming expenses.


    Review Criteria

    Reviewers will consider the following criteria in evaluating applications:

    • Impact:
      • How will the organization’s activities and goals benefit the community?
      • How are artists or culture bearers involved in the organization?
      • What communities are impacted by the organization’s work?
      • Does the organization serve historically underrepresented populations?
      • Would this be the organization’s first small arts and culture award by OCF?
    • Community Engagement:
      • Is community support evident through volunteers, cash donations, in-kind resources, or other means of participation?
      • Does the leadership of the organization represent the community?
    • Leadership and Management:
      • Does the organization have appropriate expertise, experience and qualifications?
      • Does the applicant have a demonstrated record of programming and a proven ability to manage projects?





  • Staff Assistance

    Staff Assistance

    Tips for Nonprofits Communicating with OCF (PDF). Tips, guidelines and FAQ's before you contact OCF

    Additional question? Please email us at We will respond by email or phone as appropriate.

  • FAQ's

    Frequently Asked Questions (2019)


    Will this be an annual grant program?

    The program has been renewed for three years in 2019 and is likely to continue beyond that, but there is no guarantee.                                                                                                                                                                                               


    Why has the grant cycle shifted from the Fall to the Spring in 2019?

    The grant cycle has been moved to avoid overlap with other OCF grant review processes in the fall.


    Will there be a Small Arts & Culture grant cycle open in the Fall of 2019?

    No. The Spring Small Arts & Culture grant cycle has replaced the Fall grant cycle.


    Can an organization apply each year whether they are denied or granted an award?



    If my organization was awarded a Small Arts & Culture grant in the Fall of 2018, can we apply for a Small Arts & Culture grant in the Spring of 2019?

    Yes. OCF will give some preference to organizations who have not been previously funded, however we encourage previous awardees to apply as our goal is to make grants to the strongest applicants each year.


    What is the new Spring grant cycle timeline?

    April 1st - application opens

    May 15th - application closes

    Applicants will be notified in early August


    The program eligibility criteria require that the organization’s operating expenses be under $100,000. What if last year’s budget meets the criteria, but this year’s budget does not?

    Use only the last completed fiscal year’s actual expenses as reported to the IRS to determine your organization’s eligibility.


    What if the organization is over the annual allotted budget?

    It is ineligible to apply.


    Why is funding focused on operating support as opposed to project support?

    In response to input from non-profits and community stakeholders, and in recognition that securing operating support can be especially challenging for small groups, OCF will continue to prioritize this need for small arts and culture organizations.


    What if our organizations is not a 501(c)3? 

    Proposals must come from tax exempt 501(c)3 organizations.  An organization may use a fiscal sponsor in some circumstances.  Please refer to the Request for Proposals for more information.


    Does an organization have to be in business for a certain amount of time to apply?



    Does an organization need to have paid staff to be competitive for a grant?



    Can an organization apply to Small Arts and other OCF grant programs in the same year/cycle?  

    Yes. You may apply for any other grant program the OCF has to offer.



    How can I get help for filling out the on-line grant application?

    Step-by-step instructions can be found on the OCF website ( and within the online grant application portal.


    How long do we have to spend the grant?

    One year.


    If you still have questions after reviewing this document, please contact