Accessibility Grants

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Grants of up to $2,500 for organizations to make arts programs accessible to persons with disabilities.

Detailed Program Description

The Southeast is home to some of the world’s more diverse and vibrant artistic communities. At South Arts, we believe that the arts are for everyone. The arts enrich the lives of people of all abilities and backgrounds. In our commitment to amplifying the success of the Southeast’s arts ecology, South Arts offers micro-funding to supplement the efforts of arts organizations throughout our service area. 

Art making is for everyone too! South Arts encourages arts organizations to hire artistic personnel of all abilities at all levels; for these grants in particular, we encourage arts organizations to work directly with artists who identify as disabled. 

Through our partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts, South Arts offers small grants that compliment existing efforts by arts organizations to include audiences and artists with disabilities. Accessibility micro-grants are available to support Nonprofit, 501c3, arts organizations located within the South Arts Service region states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. This funding program is open to a wide variety of organizations, including community cultural organizations, museums, performing arts presenters, theatre companies, visual arts and music organizations. Priority funding will be given to new applicants to South Arts.

South Arts has prioritized the following:

  • South Arts prioritizes applications from BIPOC and LGBTQIA+  identifying organizations.
  • South Arts prioritizes applications from organizations led by persons with disabilities or organizations that provide significant programming to artists or audiences with disabilities. 
  • South Arts is committed to funding artists organizations in rural communities (with populations under 50,000).
  • Primary consideration will be given to new applicants.

Applicants are strongly advised to contact Joy Young, Vice President of Programs at joyyoung@southarts.org or 404-874-7244 x831 to discuss your project before you submit your application.

Accommodations

If you need accommodations to complete this grant application, please contact the program administrator before submitting your proposal.

Important Dates and Deadlines

FIRST APPLICATION CYCLE:SECOND APPLICATION CYCLE:
  • Applications Open: July 15, 2024
  • Applications Due: September 3, 2024 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Award Notifications: September 30, 2024
  • Grant period: October 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025
  • Final Reports Due: 30 days after close of the project.
  • Application Open: January 15, 2025
  • Applications Due: February 7, 2025 at 11:59 p.m.
  • Award Notifications: March 1, 2025
  • Grant period: March 1, 2025– February 28, 2026
  • Final Reports Due: 30 days after close of the project. 

Eligibility Requirements

The following is a top-level list of the main requirements necessary to be considered for an Accessibility Grant. Please refer to the full list of requirements in the program's Guidelines.

  • Be a nonprofit, 501c3, tax-exempt organization, an official unit of local, county, or state government (including an institution of higher education), or a federally recognized tribal community located within the South Arts Service region states: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. This grant does not provide support to fiscally sponsored projects or entities. The organization must:
    • has a primary mission focused on the arts, or
    • serves as the primary arts provider in its community, or
    • will commit to a project that connects the arts to persons who have disabilities.
  • Conduct programming/projects as outlined in the Usage of Funds section below.
  • Organizations are limited to one Accessibility Grant award per fiscal year (July 1-June 30).
  • Programs that include paid opportunities for disabled artists are highly encouraged.
  • In accordance with federal government policy, all organizations – including (but not limited to) private schools, government entities, public school districts, and nonprofit organizations – must provide a valid Unique Entity Identifier (UEI) to receive a South Arts Accessibility grant award.

A full list of criteria and other project requirements is provided in the guidelines below.

Grant Requests

Applicants may request funding of $500-$2,500 for eligible projects. Thanks to a generous gift from a donor, no matching gifts will be required of applicants for the FY25 Accessibility Grant cycle.

#guidelinesGuidelines

While preparing your Accessibility Grant application, please refer to the following guidelines.

Policies
  • Incomplete applications will not be reviewed.
  • South Arts does not fund historical reenactments, benefits, or fundraisers.
  • Grants are NOT transferable to other events. All changes to a project must be submitted in writing to South Arts before the event. Awards may be revised or revoked considering such changes.
  • The minimum grant request is $500. The maximum request is $2,500.
  • Although a readiness plan is not required and will not impact application review, all applicants will be asked if their organization has a readiness plan. For more information about readiness, please visit our Emergency Preparedness resources page as well as the dPlan|ArtsReady tool.
  • All grant recipients are required to provide accessibility for constituents with disabilities at grant-funded events. For these guidelines, accessibility relates to your overall facility and project being accessible to all. In addition to physical access (ramps, accessible parking/box office/restrooms/seating, etc.), communications and programmatic accessibility is not only required, but can also help your organization build audiences and strengthen engagement. Grant applications should show evidence of thoughtful planning and implementation efforts. The National Endowment for the Arts has resources to assist arts organizations in making accommodations. Please visit the NEA's website for more information. Applicants must commit to the Endowment’s Assurance of Compliance.
Guidelines
  • The first round of Accessibility Grant applications are due September 3, 2024 by 11:59 p.m.
  • First round projects must take place between October 1, 2024 and June 30, 2025.
  • The second round of Accessibility Grant applications open on January 15, 2025. The second round of Accessibility Grant applications are due February 7, 2025 by 11:59 p.m.
  • Second round projects must take place between March 1, 2025 and February 28, 2026.
  • Projects may include performing arts (music, dance, and storytelling) and/or visual arts/crafts.
  • Projects are not required to serve the entire geographic community but should have targeted participants.
Usage of Funds

Grants awards may reimburse the applicant for any combination of qualifying expenses incurred during the grant period. Projects may include but are not limited to the following:

Programs

  • Usage of large print or braille program materials for patrons/audiences with low vision
  • Artist/consultant fees to provide accessibility training or audits 
  • Transportation of constituents or performers with disabilities
  • Preparation for special exhibitions (i.e. space modifications or accessibility audit) 
  • Audio description
  • Sign language interpretation
  • Website accessibility
  • Docent training for visual or audio enhancement
  • Consultant fee to develop an overall accessibility plan for your organization
  • Inclusive programming
  • Staff training to learn about accessibility as it relates to programming, operations, or facilities modifications (i.e. travel to a workshop and/or training)
  • Other accommodations that make programs accessible

Facilities Enhancements

  • Accessibility signage for exterior and/or interior space
  • Modification of restroom(s) signage
  • Modification to drinking fountain(s) signage
  • Installation of Braille plaques

Prohibited Use

  • Construction costs (new buildings must comply with current ADA requirements)
  • Cosmetic work such as interior painting and furnishings
  • Actual building construction costs 
  • Consultant fees for facilities fundraising
Review Process and Criteria

Once you submit your application, the South Arts team will review submitted applications for completeness and compliance with guideline and application requirements. South Arts program staff and management will evaluate the applications based on the published Review Criteria. Staff will then develop funding recommendations, based on these evaluations and the availability of funds. Final funding decisions are approved by the VP of Programs. Award notification is expected within two to three weeks of submission.

Review Criteria

  • The applicant meets the eligibility requirements.
  • The proposed activities align with the stated purpose of this grant category.
  • The proposed use of funds meets the requirements as stated in the grant guidelines.
  • The professionals have the appropriate qualifications necessary to carry out the proposed activities.
  • The application shows evidence of adequate financial resources to complete the proposed activities.
  • For capital improvement projects, the required documentation is included.

Applications are reviewed and funding decisions are made using the following criteria to evaluate each application:

  • Artistic Excellence (25%) –  Quality of arts mission and company programs. What is the organization's portfolio of offerings?
  • Project’s Artistic Merit (25%) – Quality of project - and degree to which these funds will support the success of the project. Is the program well planned and does it support the organization's artistic or cultural goals?
  • Audience Development/Community Involvement (30%) – Degree of audience development efforts. For example: how do you engage the disability community? How do you know if the program or project is needed in your community? Is there evidence to support the accessibility need?
  • Organizational Capacity/Evaluation (20%) – Presenter’s ability to carry out and evaluate the project. What are the qualifications of the people working on the project?

Please reference the Accessibility Grants Scoring Matrix to learn more about the review process and criteria.

Accessibility Grants Scoring Matrix

Appeal Process

You can request a review of the method for South Arts’ decisions concerning grant applications through the Appeals Process. If you did not receive funding or if your grant award was rescinded or reduced, you may submit an appeal based on the criteria listed below. Incomplete applications are not eligible for the appeals process. Dissatisfaction with the denial or amount of an award is not sufficient reason for an appeal. An applicant not funded may appeal South Arts’ decision if the applicant can demonstrate that the application was rejected for any of the following reasons:

  • Application was reviewed using criteria other than those published;
  • Funding decision was influenced by panelist/staff/committee member who failed to disclose conflict of interest; and/or
  • Application materials (submitted by the deadline) were not provided to panel members.

If an applicant’s funds were rescinded or reduced, the applicant may appeal South Arts’ decision if the applicant can demonstrate that (a) the project activities outlined in the application were performed, and (b) the contract terms and conditions were followed and fulfilled. To appeal a funding decision, first contact the Program Director, Nikki Estes, to review considerations affecting South Arts’ decision. If you believe that you have grounds for an appeal, you must submit your appeal, in writing, to South Arts’ President & CEO no later than 15 calendar days following the receipt of the written notice from South Arts. The submission should contain evidence to support one or more of the allowable grounds for appeal. The decision on an appeal will be made by the President & CEO, who will render a decision within 30 days of the appeal.

Mail your appeal to:

South Arts,
ATTN: President & CEO
1800 Peachtree Street, NW
Suite 808
Atlanta, GA 30309

Information for Funded Organizations

If your application is funded, you will enter into a contractual agreement with the South Arts, and you must comply with all requirements stated in that contract. 

  • You will receive notification and instructions when your contract is available in our online grants management system. 
  • You must submit your completed Contract Packet, including signatures and other documentation as instructed, by the date indicated in the system. 
  • Applicants who fail to properly acknowledge South Arts’ AND the National Endowment for the Arts’ support in programs and press materials may not be considered for future funding.

Please note: Any significant revisions to grant-funded activities must be approved in writing, in advance, by South Arts.

Grant Payments 

Payments will be dispersed in two cycles. 80 percent (%) upon executed contract; 20 percent (%) upon submission of South Arts approved final report. 

Final Report 

ALL GRANTEES are required to complete a Final Report at the end of the grant period. The Final Report Due Date is due 30 days after the close of the project and is stated in the grant contract. Failure to submit an accurate and complete Final Report by the due date will result in cancellation of the award and repayment of any funds received. Applicants who have failed to submit final reports for any previous South Arts grant by the application deadline for this program will not be considered for funding in this grant cycle.

Application Portal

After reviewing the program guidelines, log in to our Salesforce Grant Portal to apply for an Accessibility Grant, edit an application in process, and submit any required reports.

Log In to Salesforce

Questions?

For questions about Accessibility Grants, please contact Joy Young.

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