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Glossary of Terms Used in Grant Applications

ADA Access Plan

All organizations receiving public funding from SEMAC are required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and federal Section 504 Regulations to work with people with disabilities to facilitate access to their projects, either access to a facility or access to the content of the project. For projects that may present accessibility issues, an access plan describes your efforts to comply with the ADA for current grant activities and outlines future goals for making your facilities, programs, or services accessible to persons with disabilities.


The main arts organization, non-arts nonprofit, government entity or school organizing, implementing, and committing resources to the arts programming proposal. If two groups are involved please select one to be the lead and therefore the applicant. The other group shall be designated the Partner Organization. All applicants must be located within the SEMAC Region. For additional information about eligible applicants, see Eligibility.

Authorizing Official

That person empowered to enter into contracts for the applicant organization. This is usually the board chairperson, president or executive director. Authorizing officials certify that their Board of Directors supports the operating budget as described in the application, resolves to carry out the budget as described therein, and that the programming does not duplicate funding from any previous grant.

Capstone Event

All proposals funded by SEMAC must include a public component to benefit the citizens of southeastern Minnesota (see SEMAC Region). In other words, the project must culminate in a capstone event held at a non-profit venue that is accessible, open to the public, and held in the SEMAC region. Examples of a capstone event include performances, gallery openings, and other events that showcase the arts. All capstone events must be in person and can include a virtual option to expand participation.

Culture Bearer

Culture Bearer refers to an individual trained by traditional elders or master artists, whose artistic practice reflects the cultural life of a community with a common ethnicity, geographic or regional identity, occupation, language, or tribal affiliation.

Disallowed Expenses

None of the following expenses may be included in your project budget:

  • out of state travel or activities that take place outside the state of Minnesota
  • food or beverage costs, including hospitality for capstone events (the only exceptions would be craft services, concession sales, or necessary cultural components)
  • grant writing (this is a change; grant writing is no longer allowed)
  • benefits, fundraisers, donations, or re-granting money (including outside scholarships and/or prize money)
  • field trips or other travel costs for students
  • Grants to schools must supplement rather than supplant the school’s prescribed curriculum. Programs designed to meet K-12 Minnesota Academic Standards in the Arts are not eligible.
  • adaptations or translations of original works
  • promotion of religious backgrounds, faiths, or beliefs and the project is designed essentially for the religious socialization of the audience
  • use in feasibility studies or lobbying
  • general operating support of festivals or arts fairs (although specific artistic components of a festival or fair may be eligible)
  • programming in which artists are required to pay excessive entry or exhibition fees in order to exhibit and/or perform
  • purchase of real property
  • endowment funds
  • living expenses
  • copyright or other legal fees
  • publishing initiated solely by the applicant (i.e., electronic or vanity press)
  • strictly commercial activities or projects intended for retail or mass-market distribution (i.e., limited edition prints, note cards, CDs, DVDs, etc.)
  • any activity that violates federal, state, or local laws, ordinances, or policies. Failure to comply with this requirement may cause the grant to be terminated and funds to be forfeited.

Also, with certain exceptions for Legacy Grants, these are not allowed. Organizations should contact the SEMAC office with any questions regarding such projects.

  • historic preservation projects
  • purchase or commission of a work of art for a public place
  • capital improvement or construction


The primary focus of all proposals must be the development, education, performance, and/or showcasing of the arts.

The following individuals and groups are eligible to apply for SEMAC funding as long as they meet all other eligibility standards. See Grant Categories for specific information about the grants that SEMAC offers.

Arts Organization
whose primary mission is the arts
$10,000 Legacy Grant
$5,000 General Operating Support
$5,000 Programming Grant
$5,000 Small Towns/Rural Areas*
Arts Organization
that receives MSAB Operating Support
$10,000 Legacy Grant
Equity Artist
individual identifying as BIMPOC, PWD,
LGBTQIA2+, Senior, or Veteran
$3,000 Emerging Artist Grant
$5,000 Advancing Artist Grant
Equity Organization
is led by or provides services to equity
individuals, regardless of mission
$5,000 Legacy Grant
Individual Artist$3,000 Emerging Artist Grant
$5,000 Advancing Artist Grant
Local Government Entity$5,000 Legacy Grant
$5,000 Small Towns/Rural Areas*
Nonprofit Organization
whose mission is not the arts
$5,000 Legacy Grant
$5,000 Small Towns/Rural Areas*
Public or non-religious Private School$5,000 Legacy Grant
$3,000 School Residency (K-12 only)
$5,000 Small Towns/Rural Areas*

* Note: Small Towns/Rural Areas Grants are limited to applicants in communities with populations under 7,500. Arts organizations that receive General Operating Support are not eligible to apply for administrative support under a Small Towns/Rural areas grant.

These entities cannot apply for SEMAC grants.

  • for-profit businesses
  • religious organizations
  • organizations intending to influence public policy
  • public radio or television stations

Equity Organization

Equity organizations are defined as nonprofits led by or whose mission includes equity for one or more of the following communities.

  • BIMPOC (black, indigenous, multiracial, people of color)
  • Culture Bearers
  • PWD (people with disabilities)
  • LGBTQIA2+ (people who identify as non-heterosexual)
  • Veterans or Seniors

Fiscal Sponsor

The Minnesota 501(c)(3) organization who has agreed to be legally responsible for the proper use of grant funds when an Applicant Organization is not yet eligible for its own federal tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) or comparable status under the Internal Revenue Code.

Funding Limits

An Individual Artist may not apply as an emerging artist at any time after having received funding as an advancing artist. Unsuccessful applicants in either individual artist category may apply again as early as the next deadline. Recipients of Individual Artist Grants who are in good standing are eligible to reapply every fiscal year.

Non-arts organizations may receive one grant per fiscal year.(July 1 through June 30). Refer to the Eligibility table for a list of grants available to non-arts organizations.

Arts organizations may apply for up to three SEMAC Grants per fiscal year from different grant categories as long as the proposals are not submitted under the same deadline, and the organization is otherwise eligible in those categories. See Grant Categories for information on maximum awards per category.

Grant Coordinator

The person designated by the Applicant Organization to oversee the implementation of the grant proposal. This person is responsible for the timely submission of all required forms and reports to SEMAC. This person should be knowledgeable in all aspects of the proposed project since SEMAC may need to contact this person with questions specific to the proposal narrative and budget. Please note that all SEMAC correspondence regarding this proposal will be directed to the Grant Coordinator.

Grant Deadline

SEMAC currently has four grant deadlines per year, two for individual artists, and two for organizations. See Calendar for specific dates. All grant deadlines are 11:59pm on the dates indicated, and refer to Part 1 of the corresponding application (the LOI). Part 2 will be due ten days after the posted grant deadline.

  • Individual Artist Deadlines on July 1 and January 9
  • Organizational Deadlines on October 1 and March 1

As the grant interface is available 24 hours a day, all application and report deadlines are 11:59pm (just before midnight) on the date indicated.

Two-part applications are available 30 days prior to a grant deadline. Part 1 (the LOI section) must be submitted before 11:59pm on the Grant Deadline, and will have ten days to complete Part 2, which includes the Proposal Narrative and the Budget Section.

Applications may be submitted prior to the deadline, but will not be accepted the day after the deadline, regardless of whether a deadline falls on a weekend.

SEMAC will not accept late applications or confirming emails. This is in fairness to applicants that did submit before the deadline. No exceptions.

Grant Review

Note that in-person Grant Reviews are currently suspended due to the pandemic. After an eligibility review by SEMAC staff, the grant coordinator will receive an email acknowledgement with an invitation to attend the Grant Review, typically held approximately thirty days after the deadline. At the Grant Review, the SEMAC Arts Advisory Panel will openly discuss and then rank each application. All rankings will be based on the written proposals using our established Review Criteria.

In-Kind Contributions

Matching funds, including in-kind contributions, were suspended during the pandemic. To be considered in-kind, donated or reduced rate goods or services must be necessary to the proposal, and those goods and services would be purchased if they had not been contributed. Professional services must be donated by an outside provider working in that profession and valued at the provider’s professional rate.

  • All in-kind contributions must be itemized and accompanied by receipts or confirming emails from the provider.
  • An applicant or partner organization may not provide in-kind donations to its own proposed project.
  • Volunteers cannot be calculated as part of in-kind services.
  • Legacy Grant or Programming Grant applicants are allowed a maximum of 10% of total expenses (or half the required match). In-kind contributions may constitute the full 20% match for Small Towns/Rural Areas grants.

Matching Funds

Matching funds were suspended during the pandemic. The portion of the proposed project that the applicant plans to fund from non-SEMAC sources. Legacy Grants, Programming Grants for Arts Organizations and Small Towns/Rural Areas Grants require that at least 20% of total project expenses must be provided by alternate means. Although not required, in-kind items or services may be included up to 10%. Small Towns/Rural Areas grants may use in-kind as the entire match.

Non-Profit Status

To be eligible for SEMAC funding, all organizations must (1) be exempt from federal taxes, with 501(c)(3) or equivalent status (meaning the IRS recognizes them as a public charity), AND (2) be a recognized non-profit, with Articles of Incorporation on file with the State of Minnesota. In cases where federal tax exemption is pending, arrangements may be made to use a Fiscal Sponsor.

Out-of-State Travel

The Minnesota State Legislature expanded a restriction on use of funds that affects key grant programs. SEMAC is not able to provide funding for activities or travel that take place outside the state of Minnesota. Under no circumstances will out of state travel be allowed in a SEMAC grant application.

Partner Organization

The nonprofit organization, educational institution, or local government entity who participates in, and provides resources for, the proposed project with the grant ApplicantOutside talent, a Fiscal Sponsor, or an organization providing venues or audiences is not considered a partner. For questions, or if the proposed partner is not tax-exempt, contact the SEMAC office.


There are certain restrictions on funds that SEMAC administers. An Applicant or Partner Organization:

  • This may not apply if there are overdue final or interim reports from a previous SEMAC grant, or if the report was not approved by SEMAC staff.
  • Are not eligible if they have received certain funding from the Minnesota State Arts Board or the McKnight Foundation within the past two fiscal years. Contact the SEMAC office for questions on eligibility.
  • May not submit more than one proposal during the same grant round.

Review Criteria

SEMAC uses the following three review standards (called Review Criteria) in scoring all applications. Applicants shall address each of these standards in the Proposal Narrative section of the grant application. Click Grant Review for specifics.

  1. Artistic merit and quality of the project or program.
  2. Demand or need for the project or program by the applicant or by the constituents served.
  3. Ability of the applicant to accomplish the project or program they describe or the organizational goals as presented.

SEMAC Region

The eleven-county area of southeastern Minnesota in which all applicants must be located, includes Dodge, Fillmore, Freeborn, Goodhue, Houston, Mower, Olmsted, Rice, Steele, Wabasha, and Winona Counties. The Capstone Event must also be held in the SEMAC Region. See Who We Serve.

SMART Model Evaluation Method

Answers to the application questions will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of proposals. Refer to this SMART model evaluation method when completing the application.

S = SpecificM = MeasurableA = AchievableR = RealisticT = Time Bound

Start and End Dates

To be eligible for funding, the proposed project (which includes preparation time) must begin at least ninety days after the grant deadline. Calculate start date as the day you will begin committing physical resources to the project, NOT when the programming itself commences. The end date (when all aspects of the project will be finished, including wrapping up the budget) cannot be more than twelve months after the start date. For administrative/operating support, the start and end dates may coincide with your fiscal year. All incurred expenses must occur between the specified Start Date and End Date of the project.


Some grant activities include events held at various locations. All venues, including outdoor venues, must be accessible. SEMAC requires that data on each venue be included in final reports. This data may be collected and reported using the attached Event Venue spreadsheet. The spreadsheet simply keeps track of the venue name, address, city, zip, and number of days the venue was used.

Work Samples

All materials in support of a project should be posted electronically. For example, many artists and organizations have their own Web sites, facebook pages, YouTube videos, etc. To use these or similar media tools in your proposal, simply provide a Web address or URL as requested in your application. If you wish to submit work samples or other support material but do not have access to electronic media, a limited number of work samples may be uploaded to the online application form.