Home Programs United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund Guidelines + Process

Guidelines + Process

The United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund is a national recovery and resilience initiative of the United States Regional Arts Organizations made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

About The Fund

The United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund will provide financial support to catalyze recovery and build resilience for arts and cultural organizations facing disruption and loss during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Non-matching relief and resilience grants will be awarded to small and mid-sized arts organizations in the Midwest, with intentional focus on historically under-resourced organizations and organizations representing under-resourced populations and communities. This fund will prioritize organizations that are led by and serving people and communities of color and Indigenous people, and/or led by and serving people from rural communities.


Arts Midwest will provide non-matching grants ranging from $30,000 – $75,000, totaling over $1.5 million to arts and cultural non-profit organizations across the Midwest region. Organizations that are invited to submit proposals will be asked how these funds can assist their transition from recovery to resiliency, with a long-term goal of thriving in a new environment during the grant period of September 1, 2020 – June 30, 2021.


An organization is eligible for consideration if they meet the following criteria:

  • Is a small or mid-size arts organization of any artistic discipline and practice.
  • Is led by and/or represents and serves populations and communities that have historically had unequal access to resources for support, investment, and capitalization.
  • Is a 501c3 nonprofit organization.
  • Has a DUNS (Dunn and Bradstreet number), which is free and can be obtained here.
  • Is located in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, or the Native nations that share this geography.
  • Priority will be given to organizations with recent annual organizational budgets of $250,000 to $10 million (pre-COVID19). Organizations with budgets between $150,000 – $250,000 that operate in severely under-resourced circumstances with a record of vision and impact on community may be considered.

Eligible Expenses

The goal of United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund is for organizations to direct funding to their most pressing needs and opportunities. Awards may support a wide variety of expenses, ranging from immediate response activities or costs associated with planning or program investments that reimagine work and build resiliency and sustainability. This may include expenses such as the following:

  • General operating support for staff and infrastructure
  • Future scenario planning
  • Support for media or technical needs (including adaptations, new methods of program delivery, or acquisition of software and hardware for online programming).
  • Costs related to collaboration

How to apply

Step 1: Nominations

Nominations for the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund are now closed. Nominations will proceed to be reviewed for eligibility and the advisor groups proceed in the decisionmaking to invite a select number of organizations to submit a proposal. Thank you to all the nominators of great organizations across the region!

Step 2: Proposals

A selected number of nominated organizations will be invited to submit a proposal by August 7, 7:00 p.m. Central. Organizations that are invited to submit a proposal will be asked to provide the following:

  • DUNS number
  • Diversity, equity, and inclusion statement
  • Biographies of the organization’s leadership
  • Organizational budget for most recently completed fiscal year (pre-COVID19)
  • A plan that demonstrates how these grant funds will have a positive impact on the organization’s long-term resilience through immediate stabilization, financial recovery, and/or planning toward the future
  • Participate in a recorded phone conversation (with questions provided in advance) to be shared with the advisory group

Review and Selection Process

Nominations will be reviewed by an external advisory group composed of one representative from each of our nine state arts agencies and colleagues from the field who are committed to equitable funding practices and connected to under-resourced arts organizations, populations, and communities.

Full proposals will be evaluated by advisory group members and Arts Midwest on these criteria:

  • Exceptional artistic, cultural, and community impact
  • Visionary leadership (staff and volunteer)
  • Demonstrated community engagement, connection, and support
  • Commitment to equity and inclusion
  • Track record of stability in fiscal management and ongoing operations
  • State, regional, and/or national impact

The advisory groups and Arts Midwest will review proposals and determine the final selected organizations to receive this support.

The final selection will be approved by Arts Midwest’s Board of Directors. Notification is scheduled to be sent on August 24, 2020.


Outside the Midwest?

Check in with our partner Regional Arts Organizations to see how to apply for the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund in your region:

  • Mid America Arts Alliance (Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas)
  • Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation (Delaware, the District of Columbia, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, the U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia)
  • New England Foundation for the Arts (Maine, Vermont, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut and Rhode Island)
  • South Arts (Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee)
  • WESTAF (Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawai‘i, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming)

The United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund is an initiative of Arts Midwest and its peer United States Regional Arts Organizations Mid-America Arts Alliance, Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation, New England Foundation for the Arts, South Arts, and Western States Arts Federation made possible by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.