General Guidelines


Thoroughly review NDCA's General Guidelines before applying.

**ALL organizational applicants who apply for a grant from the NDCA are now required to register for a DUNS number online before receiving grant funds. The process for registering is simple and easy and only takes a few minutes. To register visit

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General Guidelines/Information

General Guidelines/Information

The North Dakota Council on the Arts reserves the right to amend, reduce, or terminate any grant for non-compliance with the general guidelines, submission of fraudulent or erroneous information, or the loss of anticipated Federal or state funding. If funds are received, a sub-grantee must comply with all stated requirements.

  1. Applicants must be nonprofit organizations registered with the State of North Dakota (or an adjacent state or province), or a community or county government entity such as a school or university. If you have questions regarding your organization's nonprofit status, please call the Corporations Division of the North Dakota Secretary of State's office, 701-328-4284.
  2. Organizations with annual cash expenses in excess of $500,000 must submit an independent audit for the most recently completed fiscal year.
  3. Organizations whose annual cash expenses are less than $500,000 must submit either board- approved financial statements or an independent audit for the most recently completed fiscal year (with the exception of Special Projects and Professional Development grants).
  4. Every grantee must inform the North Dakota Council on the Arts, in writing, of any changes in the project. (e.g., changes in staff or board, budgetary changes, change in address, etc.).
  5. Compliance with Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, provides that no person, on the basis of race, color, or national origin, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
  6. Compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 provides that no otherwise qualified disabled individual in the United States, as defined in Section 7(6), shall, solely by reason of his disability, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination.
  7. Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in employment (Title I), state and local government services (Title II), and places of public accommodation and commercial facilities (Title III).
  8. Compliance with Title IX of the Education Act of 1972 prohibits the exclusion of persons on the basis of sex from any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance (subject to certain exceptions regarding admission policies and certain religious and military institutions).
  9. Compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act requires payment to professional performers, artists, related and supporting personnel, laborers, and mechanics at the minimum compensation level for persons employed in similar activities.
  10. Compliance with the Age Discrimination Act of 1975 prohibits the exclusion of persons on the basis of age from any program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.
  11. Compliance with the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 requires all Federal grantees to agree they will provide drug-free workplaces as a precondition of receiving a grant.
  12. Grantees must comply with the Federal directive providing that Federal funds cannot be used directly or indirectly to influence a member of Congress to favor or oppose any legislation or appropriation.
  13. All materials submitted to the North Dakota Council on the Arts become the property of the Council and shall be subject to North Dakota state open record laws.

Financial and Managerial

Grantees must:

  1. Expend funds for the project specifically described in the grant application or as amended by North Dakota Council on the Arts/grantee consultation.
  2. Assure that procedures are followed to minimize the time between receipt of grant funds and its prompt expenditure.
  3. Assure that Federal funds are neither deposited nor transferred into interest-bearing accounts.
  4. Charge appropriate admission or fees for arts events.
  5. Provide adequate documentation of the value of in-kind services, material, equipment, building, and land (see additional information on in-kind).
  6. Be legally responsible for the completion of the project and for the proper management of grant funds. If a fiscal agent is used, the agent and the party carrying out the project must enter into a formal agreement and a copy of the contract must be sent to the Council office.
  7. Maintain all financial records, including substantiating documentation, for three years or until an audit has been completed and any questions arising from it have been resolved, whichever is the lesser period.
  8. Submit required contracts and other materials promptly and according to guidelines set by the Council.
  9. Submit interim reports as required.
  10. Submit final reports, in accordance with project contracts, that provide accurate and complete disclosure of the financial and artistic results of the project within 30 days of project completion.

If an applicant applies to both the Performing Arts Fund and the Council on the Arts for support of the same event, the total combined subsidy can not exceed 50 percent of the artist's negotiated fee.

With the exception of the Community Arts Access grant program, federal funds cannot be used as match, nor can Council funds be used to match Federal funds from alternative sources.

  • The majority of NDCA funding must go to nonprofit groups with Federal 501c3 status, or to government entities such as universities, K-12 applicants or individuals. A small percentage of NDCA funding is available to organizations with other types of nonprofit status (such as 501c6), including organizations with nonprofit status delegated by the state of North Dakota rather than Federal nonprofit status.

Grant payments are not automatic, but are generated by the Council on the Arts after receipt of a Request for Funds form from the applicant, available on the Grants drop down menu. Requests will be processed on on a timely basis. All grant funds must have been requested 30 days before the end of the state's fiscal year. Grant checks will arrive approximately three weeks after the date they are processed. See specific program guidelines for additional details.


  1. Debt reduction or elimination.
  2. Capital improvements; purchase or long-term lease of equipment or property (items under $5,000 are generally considered supplies, not equipment; items with a life span of over one year and a cost of over $5,000 or more, are considered equipment).
  3. Prizes, awards, benefits or hospitality (food, refreshments) costs.
  4. Fellowships, scholarships, or tuition fees.
  5. Activities restricted to an organization's membership.
  6. Travel outside of North Dakota unless specifically stated in the grant application.
  7. In-school curriculum projects (excluding Arts-in-Education programs) unless they have a local, regional, or state-wide impact.
  8. Out-of-state touring performances and exhibitions unless specifically stated in the grant application.
  9. Projects sponsored by or taking place on college or university campuses or religious institutions that ignore non-students or non-members, and do not involve the community at large in the planning, implementation, and performance of the project.
  10. Projects completed in previous fiscal years.
  11. Projects for the purpose of fundraising.
  12. Projects that are part of a required course or curriculum.
  13. Projects involving the arts as therapy unless professional artists are employed.

Include the Council on the Arts logo as well as the following credit line in all advertising, news releases, printed programs, and promotional materials: "This activity is supported in part by a grant from the North Dakota Council on the Arts, which receives funding from the state legislature and the National Endowment for the Arts. Logo slicks will be provided by the Council." The logo can be downloaded at


Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by any recipient of Federal funds. Under this regulation, a Federally funded arts program, when viewed in its entirety, must be accessible to all persons. The National Endowment for the Arts issued its regulations to enforce the law in 1979, and compliance handbooks have been made available to sub-recipients of Endowment funds. Failure to comply with Section 504 can result in the loss of Federal funds.

In July of 1990, Congress passed the Americans with Disabilities Act that requires all public accommodations to be accessible when taken as a whole. The act requires both the removal of barriers and the provision of "auxiliary aids and services" required to make programs accessible, and defines failure to do so as discrimination.

Recipients of funds from the North Dakota Council on the Arts are expected to be in compliance with these federal regulations. Contact the Council for further information on compliance.

*The Accessibility Planning and Resource Guide for Cultural Administrators provides guidance to cultural administrators on how to achieve accessible and inclusive programming for everyone including individuals with disabilities and older adults.


The North Dakota Council on the Arts is committed to the support of multi-cultural arts activities. Applicants are encouraged to develop policies that support a broad range of cultural events and inclusion of all cultures in on-going programs. Efforts should also be made to diversify staffs and boards so that the voices of a culturally diverse community will be heard.


While North Dakota Council on the Arts grants may not be deposited into endowment funds, the Council does encourage organizations to create endowments when appropriate. Typically these funds are built by way of special fund-raising efforts. Cash reserves in excess of a reasonable operating contingency at the end of a fiscal year may be designated, by board action, to non-expendable accounts within the endowment.

Grant applications must include these funds on any required financial statements. An application for general operating support must show endowment funds as part of the applicant's cash on hand. However, it must be designated as non-expendable. Thus, it is not added to cash which might otherwise be available for the proposed project/program. Non-expendable endowment funds are not usable as part of the applicant's matching funds since they will not be expended during the period of the grant. Applicants should contact the Council staff with any questions.


While the North Dakota Council on the Arts considers financial need of applicants as part of its review process, that policy should not be interpreted to mean that applicants should not develop a reserve fund. In general, a reserve of 10 percent of an organization's annual operating budget for one year is a reasonable amount. This reserve should be shown on the financial statements submitted as part of the application.

Please note that Council funds cannot be used to replenish depleted reserve funds.


Please note as of October 1, 2017 the NDCA reimbursement rate is $0.30 per mile for travel. For any travel, lodging, and subsistence costs, the state reimbursement rate can be found at In-State Travel Reimbursement Rates document. You may also contact the Council on the Arts at 701-328-7590 for current rates.

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Fiscal Sponsorship

North Dakota Council on the Arts grant programs Community Arts Access Tier 1 & 2, Special Projects, and Institutional Support accepts applications from informal or unincorporated arts groups using a fiscal sponsor. More information on fiscal sponsorship is available via this link.