Promotion of the Arts_Partnership Agreements

To develop and maintain partnerships with the state and jurisdictional arts agencies (SAAs) and their regional organizations (RAOs) to advance the mission of the National Endowment for the Arts.

Related Programs

Examples of Funded Projects

Grant listings and links to SAAs and RAOs are posted at

Partnership Agreements with SAAs support arts education activities; fostering of arts in underserved communities; and grant, service, or administrative programs.

Partnership Agreements with RAOs support arts presenting and touring, and grant, service, or administrative programs.

Grants for this Program

Agency - National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts; bringing the arts to all Americans and providing leadership in arts education. The Endowment is the largest national source of funds for the arts.

Website Address

Program Accomplishments

In FY 2008, the Arts Endowment made 64 Partnership awards. SAAs use their state and federal funds to support more than 28,000 arts projects in more than 5,500 communities.

Uses and Use Restrictions

SAA Partnership Agreements support four components: 1) the state arts plan for priorities identified at the state level (including activity for Poetry Out Loud); 2) elements of the state plan that address arts education; 3) elements of the state plan that foster the arts in underserved communities; and 4) projects that strengthen a state or region's infrastructure of support for the folk & traditional arts.

RAO Partnership Agreements offer support for: 1) a regional arts plan; 2) touring intended to give all Americans access to excellent, live performing arts; and 3) projects that strengthen a region's infrastructure of support for the folk & traditional arts.

(State and regional activities addressing the Arts Endowment's Challenge America and American Masterpieces initiatives are now included in the components noted above.) Limited Partnership funds also are available for national services provided by membership organizations of SAAs and RAOs.

Arts Endowment Partnership Agreement funds must be used to supplement and not to supplant non-Federal funds.

Eligibility Requirements

Applicant Eligibility

Agencies officially designated as the state arts agency by its state government in each of the 50 States and six special U.S.

jurisdictions; regional arts organizations representing state arts agencies; and organizations providing support services to state and regional arts agencies at a national level.

Beneficiary Eligibility

The official arts agencies of the 50 states and six U.S. jurisdictions, regional arts organizations, and organizations providing support services to SAAs and RAOs at the national level. Through activities and services supported, beneficiaries include local arts agencies, nonprofit organizations, artists, and the general public.


The State Partnership Agreement requires that the agency be legally designated as the official State arts agency. Costs will be determined in accordance with OMB Circular No. A-87 for State and local governments. Where applicable, applications from State government agencies for Partnership Agreements must be reviewed under the State's intergovernmental review process, if one has been established, per E.O.12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." The Regional Partnership Agreement stipulates that the regional organization must be authorized by two or more state arts agencies to apply for funds on their behalf.

Aplication and Award Process

Preapplication Coordination

Applicants should consult the Partnership Agreements guidelines (available at

This program is eligible for coverage under E.O.12372, "Intergovernmental Review of Federal Programs." If the program has been selected for review in an applicant's state, the applicant should consult the state office or official designated as the single point of contact for more information.

Application Procedures

Applicants must obtain current Partnership Agreements guidelines and adhere to instructions. This program is covered under OMB Circular Nos. A-102 (State agencies) and A-110 (regional organizations).

Award Procedures

Applications receive three independent levels of review. First, they are reviewed by an independent, national panel of individuals with expertise in the arts and the state and regional arts agency field. Panel recommendations are forwarded to the National Council on the Arts, which then makes recommendations to the Chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts. The Chairman reviews the Council's recommendations and makes the final decision on all grant awards. Partnership Agreements receive panel review on a three-year cycle -- one-third of the states are reviewed each year -- with funding subject to annual recommendation and approval by the Council and the Chairman.


The Partnership Agreements deadline is generally in October. See the Arts Endowment's Web site at for the specific date.


National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act of 1965, as amended, Public Law 89-209, 20 U.S.C. 951 et seq.

Range of Approval/Disapproval Time

Dependent on meetings of the National Council on the Arts.


Information on requests for reconsideration may be obtained from the headquarters office.


The Arts Endowment uses staggered, multi-year review for Partnership Agreements. Funding is subject to annual review and approval.

Assistance Considerations

Formula and Matching Requirements

Formula and competitive grants must be matched at least 1:1 with non-federal funds. The Congress has stipulated that no less than 40 percent of all grantmaking funds appropriated for the Arts Endowment be reserved for grants to SAAs and RAOs. It also has directed that support for program activity in underserved rural and inner-city communities within each state be established as a funding priority. Formula: State Partnership Agreement awards: 1) Of the SAA-RAO reserve, at least $200,000 will be allotted to each SAA with an approved state plan. Up to a quarter of any funds remaining in this reserve will be apportioned in line with Arts Endowment policy. Any funds still remaining will be divided equally among the 52 SAAs serving populations over 200,000. Funds available for the Poetry Out Loud initiative will be allotted equally among SAAs in the 50 states and participating jurisdictions. 2) Funds available to SAAs for arts education first will be apportioned by formula among SAAs with plans meeting relevant review criteria; funds will not exceed $50,000 per state. The remaining arts education funds will be awarded competitively among SAAs with the strongest plans and accomplishments according to the review criteria. The annual maximum awarded to any one SAA for arts education is $100,000. 3) Underserved funds to be administered through Partnership Agreements first will be apportioned by formula among SAAs with plans that meet the review criteria, with remaining funds awarded on the basis of competition to those SAAs with the strongest plans and accomplishments in relation to the review criteria. 4) Funds for Folk & Traditional Arts Infrastructure support will be awarded competitively among SAAs that request such funds and have the strongest plans and accomplishments in relation to the review criteria. Funding to any one SAA will range from $10,000 to $50,000. Formula: Regional Partnership Agreement awards: 1) Funds available will be distributed in equal base amounts per regional organization and shares per state. 2) For the NEA Regional Performing Arts Touring program, funds will be allotted based on fixed historic amounts, equal shares per region, and regional population. 3) Funds for Folk & Traditional Arts Infrastructure support will be awarded competitively among RAOs that request such funds and have the strongest plans and accomplishments in relation to the review criteria. Funding to any one RAO will range from $10,000 to $50,000. National services funding is derived from the portion of the agency's appropriation for the SAAs and RAOs.

Length and Time Phasing of Assistance

Each award is for the full fiscal year or as designated. Generally, requests for payment to cover immediate allowable project expenses may be received at any time. FY 2009 grants support activities scheduled to begin on or after July 1, 2009.

Post Assistance Requirements


Progress reports are required for all grants and must be submitted at the time the cumulative amount of grant funds requested exceeds two-thirds of the grant amount.

Final reports are required within 90 days after the end of the grant period.


Applicant and grantee-initiated audits: In accordance with the provisions of OMB Circular No. A-133, "Audits of States, Local Governments, and Nonprofit Organizations," State governments expending $500,000 or more in federal awards within the state's fiscal year shall have an audit made for that year. Recipients other than State governments must comply with audit requirements for nonprofit institutions mandated by A-133. Nonprofit institutions expending $500,000 or more in federal awards shall have an audit made in accordance with A-133's provisions.


Grant-related records to be retained by grantee for three years following submission of a final financial status report.

Financial Information

Account Identification



(Grants) FY 07 est $40,328,000; FY 08 est $47,842,000; and FY 09 est $40,653,000. (All figures include Basic Plan support and Underserved funding. FY 07 figures also include funding for the Challenge America: Reaching Every Community and American Masterpieces initiatives).

Range and Average of Financial Assistance

FY 2008: The range of SAA awards was $281,300 to $1,125,700, averaging $739,851. The range of RAO awards was $1,047,200 to $1,606,000, averaging $1,338,433.

Regulations, Guidelines, and Literature

The Partnership Agreements guidelines are available on the Arts Endowment's Web site at

Information Contacts

Regional or Local Office


Headquarters Office

State and Regional Director, National Endowment for the Arts, 1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20506-0001. Telephone: (202) 682-5429. Individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing should call: (202) 682-5496 (Voice/T.T.Y.). Individuals unable to use conventional print may access guidelines on the Web site or contact the Arts Endowment's Office for Access Ability (202) 682-5532 for help.

Criteria for Selecting Proposals

SAAs: Quality of process by which plan was developed; quality of plan; quality of implementation; and quality of work with underserved communities. RAOs: Quality of partnerships with member SAAs; identification of needs and opportunities through inclusive planning; evaluation of accomplishments; quality of plan; program decision-making criteria that take artistic excellence and merit into account; cost-effective operation; development of substantial, diversified non-federal support for programming; extension of resources and effectiveness through partnerships and other means. For additional criteria, consult the Partnership Agreements guidelines.

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