NEA Releases CARES Act Guidelines for Grant Program

Recently, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) has posted the application guidelines for Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act funds almost a month earlier than we originally planned. Implementation of the CARES Act and quickly providing those funds to arts organizations to preserve jobs and keep their doors open is the top priority of the Arts Endowment.

The application guidelines can be found on the National Endowment for the Arts website.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act recognizes that the nonprofit arts industry is an important sector of America’s economy. The National Endowment for the Arts will award funds to nonprofit arts organizations across the country to help these entities and their employees endure the economic hardships caused by the forced closure of their operations due to the spread of COVID-19.

As part of this important investment, the Arts Endowment has designed a plan to expedite the distribution of critical funds to the national, regional, state, and local levels to help retain as many jobs as possible, as quickly as possible. These funds are intended to help save jobs in the arts sector and keep the doors open to the thousands of organizations that add value to America’s economy and the creative life of our communities.

This program will be carried out through one-time grants to eligible nonprofit organizations including arts organizations, local arts agencies, statewide assemblies of local arts agencies, arts service organizations, units of state or local government, federally recognized tribal communities or tribes, and a wide range of other organizations that can help advance the goals of the Arts Endowment and this program.

Grants will be made either to organizations for their own operations, or to designated local arts agencies, eligible to sub-grant, for sub-granting programs to eligible nonprofit organizations.

All applicants must be previous National Endowment for the Arts award recipients from the past four years (Fiscal Year 2017-2020; see “Applicant Eligibility” for more information).



Part 1 – Submit to

April 22, 2020 by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Prepare application material so that it’s ready to upload when the Applicant Portal opens

Part 2 – Submit to Applicant Portal

April 27-May 4, 2020 by 11:59 p.m., Eastern Time

Earliest Announcement of Grant Award or Rejection
June 2020

Earliest Beginning Date for National Endowment for the Arts Period of Performance

July 1, 2020


In addition to reviewing the guidelines, please visit the National Endowment for the Arts’ “Frequently Asked Questions” page for more information.

To learn more about the National Endowment for the Arts, visit

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