Sustainability Grants: Invitation Only


Invitation-only grants for organizations to maintain staff and keep their doors open during and beyond the pandemic.

View Full Guidelines

Detailed Program Description

As a Regional Arts Organization, South Arts is committed to the sustainability of arts organizations and recognizes the devastating impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the Southern arts community. South Arts will again offer a limited number of grants to arts and cultural organizations based in our nine-state region to help sustain operations during or after the pandemic. The goal of this grant is sustainability – helping organizations to maintain their staff and keep their doors open. Our hope is to ensure the viability of arts and cultural organizations when leverage and impact are most critical to the larger arts community. For this effort, we are supporting arts advocacy and arts accessibility organizations. In addition, we are partnering with the State Arts Agencies in our region and offering supplemental grants to arts organizations in rural communities and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) serving and led arts organizations. These invitation-only grants help us leverage our support to the region in a meaningful way and they demonstrate our commitment to increase our collective impact in the South.

This grant program supports South Arts’ mission of advancing Southern vitality through the arts and aligns with the following goal from South Arts’ strategic plan:

  • Connect artists and arts professionals in the South to resources that will increase opportunities for success within and outside the region

Important Dates & Deadlines

  • Applications must be submitted within 30 days of invitation to apply.
  • Applicants will be notified of funding approval by email within 3 weeks of application submission. 
  • Funded expenses must occur by December 31, 2022.

Eligibility Requirements

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

  • Be a tax-exempt nonprofit arts or cultural organization based within South Arts' nine-state service area.
  • Receive an invitation from South Arts to submit an application.

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


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

Eligibility Requirements
  • Only nonprofit, tax-exempt 501(c)(3) or governmental arts and cultural organizations in South Arts’ nine-state region are eligible to apply. South Arts’ nine-state region includes Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Applications will not be accepted from fiscal agents.
  • Applications are accepted by invitation only.
  • All applicants must have a DUNS number. Applications will not be accepted from organizations that do not have a DUNS number. Visit the Dun & Bradstreet website for additional information about DUNS numbers as well as instruction on how to receive one.
  • Eligible operating expenses supported by this grant include:
    • Salary support (full or partial) for one or more positions that are critical to the organization’s mission
    • Fees for contractual personnel that are critical to the organization’s mission
    • Facilities costs such as mortgage, rent, and utilities
    • Costs associated with health and safety supplies for staff, visitors, and audiences such as personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, and hand sanitizer
    • Marketing and promotion costs
  • Please note, this grant does not support programming costs.
Guidelines and Policies
  • Applications must be submitted within 30 days of invitation to apply.
  • Funded expenses must occur by December 31, 2022.
  • Arts and cultural organizations are limited to one application per category.
  • Grant awards do not require a cash match. 
  • Grantees may not claim more than 100% of a salary, fee, or other operating expenses when combined with other federal relief funding including funds distributed by a State Arts Agency. Arts and cultural organizations that receive American Rescue Plan (ARP) funding directly from the National Endowment for the Arts are eligible to receive Sustainability Grant funding from South Arts. However, there can be no overlapping costs and grant funds from various agencies cannot support the same costs during the same period of time.
  • Grants are NOT transferable to other expenses. All changes must be submitted in writing to South Arts for review and approval. Awards may be revised or revoked in light of such changes.
  • Arts and cultural organizations 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 this grant.
  • Arts and cultural organizations 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.

Narrative Instructions

Applications from arts advocacy and arts accessibility organizations are reviewed and funding adjudications are made using the following criteria to evaluate each application:

  • Mission, services, and programming – 60%
  • Use and impact of funds – 40%

In addition to organizational information, you will need to provide a brief narrative addressing the following:

  1. Provide a one-sentence description of the operating expenses being supported by this grant, which South Arts will use in publicity if a grant is awarded (e.g., Funding will support one part-time position for six months.).
  2. Describe your organization’s mission, services, and programming history. (Maximum 2,500 characters including spaces, approximately ½ page)
  3. Provide a more detailed description of the operating expenses that the grant will support. (Maximum 1,250 characters including spaces, approximately ¼ page)

Application Requirements

All grant applications must be submitted online using the eGrant system. If your organization is new to our eGrant system, we recommend that you visit the site early to create your account and become familiar with the system. Complete your application in eGrant and upload the required materials (if applicable). Applicants will be notified of funding approval by email within 3 weeks of application submission. For assistance, contact Nikki Estes at 404-874-7244 ext. 816.

South Arts strictly adheres to deadlines and will NOT accept applications that are late or incomplete. Deadlines are not extended due to inclement weather. Applicants must agree to the applicable Contract Terms of Agreement, Assurance of Compliance, and Federal Suspension and Debarment Requirements prior to submission. Please visit Manage Your Grant to the review the grantee responsibilities.

This grant program is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts’ American Rescue Plan (ARP). ARP funds are intended to help support organizations and jobs in the arts sector that have been impacted by the pandemic.

Application Portal

After reviewing program guidelines, log in to eGrant to apply for a Sustainability Grant, edit an application in process, and submit any required reports.

Log in to eGrant

Manage Your Award

Review recipient terms and conditions, download the appropriate logos, access final reporting requirements, and more.

Manage Your Grant


For questions about Sustainability Grants, contact program director Nikki Estes.

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