The City of Austin is no longer accepting applications for the Austin Arts and Culture Non-Profit Relief Grant. The deadline for submission expired on August 2, 2021 at 5:00 p.m. 

We are in the process of reviewing all applications submitted and are exploring how we can use additional federal and local funds to offer assistance for non-profit organizations, small businesses, start-up companies, entrepreneurs, and creatives.   

Find helpful resources:   

  • City of Austin's - A one-stop resource to help non-profits, businesses and individuals recover from the financial hardships caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Find resources related to funding, unemployment assistance, legal aid, consulting help, and more.   

  • Economic Development Department’s Small Business Resources Directory - Database of local, state, federal, and community resources. Filter by “Disaster Relief” to find immediate support for businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Austin Arts and Culture Non-Profit Relief Grant Dashboard:

View larger version of Program Metrics 

The Austin City Council approved Resolution 20210610-092 on June 10 to designate $2 million for the Austin Arts and Culture Non-Profit Relief Grant. The grant is funded through Austin’s allocation from the Federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

The Austin Arts & Culture Non-Profit Relief Grant provides one-time unrestricted $20,000 grants to local arts and culture non-profit organizations facing hardships due to the economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.  


For Technical Support and Application Status: 

As a part of a partnership with the City of Austin, Austin Better Business Bureau will accept and review all submitted applications. 

Austin Better Business Bureau: Email or call 512-318-2683.


For Application Assistance: 


Informational Webinar:

Watch the Austin Arts & Culture Non-Profit Relief Grant - Informational Webinar

Vea el seminario en línea sobre la Subvención de ayuda para agencias sin fines de lucro de arte y cultura de Austin

Grant Guidelines

Arts and Culture Focus Area Categories

Arts and Culture Non-Profits are defined as:  

Organizations with programming that promotes or develops art in any medium (visual, performing, music, etc.), preserves or commemorates historical events and local cultures, or promotes the distribution of ideas. Examples include art museums, historical societies, theaters, local-access radio and television, and festivals.  

Eligible Applicants

Eligible Non-Profit Organizations must meet the following conditions:     

  • Organizations able to provide a 2019 and/or 2020 federal income tax return (990s). 
  • Organizations who have been in operations providing services for two years minimum as of July 14, 2021. 
  • Organizations whose primary mission is within the arts and culture sector.  
  • Organizations under good standing with the Internal Revenue Service and classified as a “public charity” with tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)3 or 509(a)   
  • Must provide primary services to the populations within a City of Austin Council District, but not further than the regional MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties.  
  • Non-Profit organizations must meet ONE of the following location eligibility criteria:  
    • An office/headquarters street address physically located with a presence in a City of Austin Council District 
    • OR Non-Profits without a street address physically located in a City of Austin Council District, which includes Non-Profit organizations who do not have a brick and mortar office/headquarters location, or regularly operate as an at-home Non-Profit must provide demonstrated evidence that the organizations primary programming and service locations occur within a City of Austin Council district. A programming location cannot be a P.O. Box address including a UPS Box.  
Ineligible Applicants
  • Entities organized as a 501(c)(4) or 501(c)(6) 
  • Fraternal, sectarian, and religious organizations 
  • Endowments or memorials   
  • Non-profit hospitals and higher education institutions   
  • Private foundations   
  • Organizations whose primary mission is not within the Arts & Culture sector 
  • Full time, permanent City of Austin employees are ineligible to receive these funds   
  • Organizations that cannot meet one of the two location-based eligibility criteria (See Eligible Applicants section) 
  • P.O. Box or UPS Box accounts do not qualify as physical or programming addresses 
  • Organizations whose primary activities serve beyond the MSA (Metropolitan Statistical Area) Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, Travis and Williamson Counties are not eligible to apply 
  • Non-Profit organizations primarily serving Statewide or Nationwide populations 
Eligible Expenses

Since this is not a reimbursement award, receipts from eligible expenses will not be required at time of application. It is a one-time, flat, unrestricted grant of $20,000 to be used for organizational expenses. In the event of an audit, the City may ask an organization how they used the grant. 

These funds may be used for items such as:  

  • Personal Protective Equipment Purchases and Rentals  
  • Sanitation and Cleaning Supplies or Services  
  • Utility Expenses  
  • Travel (within 100 miles) providing direct service to customers  
  • Other   
  • Technology and Software  
  • Programming  
  • Rent or Mortgage Payments  
  • Operational costs   
  • COVID-Compliance facility modifications  
  • Payroll, Contractor, and /or Employee Retention Expenses  
  • Non-Profit Insurance   
  • Worker Training  
Required Documentation  |  Documentación requerida

All documentation is required at the time the application is submitted. You may be contacted after you have submitted your application for clarification on documents but you will not be able to submit outstanding documents after the deadline of August 2, 2021 at 5 p.m. unless otherwise requested by the City of Austin. All application questions must be answered and all required documentation must be completed for your application to be considered for eligibility. Acceptable file types: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, .wpf, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .svg, .tif, .tiff 

  • Organization’s 2020 Tax Returns (990s). If you have not filed your 2020 tax returns, please provide your 2019 tax returns with proof of extension for 2020 returns - Required documentation to review the organization’s revenue. 
  • Articles of Incorporation or Certificate of Formation  
  • Charitable Status Letter 


Documentación requerida

Es necesario presentar todos los documentos e información cuando envíe su solicitud. Es posible que se comuniquen con usted luego de que envíe su solicitud si fuera necesario clarificar algo en sus documentos, pero no podrá enviar documentos adicionales después de la fecha límite del 2 de agosto de 2021 a las 5 p.m., a menos que la Ciudad de Austin se lo pida. Es necesario que responda todas las preguntas en la solicitud y que presente toda la documentación con su solicitud para poder determinar si califica. Los formatos de documentos aceptados son: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, .wpf, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .svg, .tif, .tiff

  • Declaración de impuestos de la organización para el 2020 (990) Si no ha presentado su declaración de impuestos para el 2020, por favor provea su declaración de impuestos para el 2019 con prueba de la extensión solicitada para el 2020. La documentación se requiere para confirmar los ingresos de la organización.
  • Artículos de incorporación o certificado de organización
  • Carta de confirmación de entidad caritativa
Application Scoring Matrix  |  Matriz de puntuación para las solicitudes

Every application will be evaluated against a scoring matrix that includes criteria for need and equity. For the distribution of funds, 100% of the program funding will be allocated to applicants that score the highest according to this matrix. Organizations led by members of historically marginalized communities are especially encouraged to apply. 


Application Scoring Matrix

Category Criteria Percentile
  • Demographics of Board (Race/ethnicity; Gender; LGBTQIA; Disability) 
  • Demographics of Executive Director or person serving in a leadership role (Race/ethnicity; Gender; LGBTQIA; Disability; Veteran) 
  • Number of Employees (FTE - Full-Time Equivalent)  
  • Annual Revenues  
  • Populations served 
  • Operates a venue/creative space 
  • Effects from COVID-19 pandemic 
  • Has not received any other City funding 
  • Has not received Shuttered Venue Operations Grant program 
TOTAL   100%


Todas las solicitudes se evaluarán conforme a una matriz de puntuación que incluye criterios de necesidad, vulnerabilidad y equidad. Para la distribución de fondos, el 100% de los fondos del programa se asignarán a los solicitantes que reciban la mayor puntuación conforme a esta matriz. Se anima especialmente a que soliciten organizaciones dirigidas por miembros de las comunidades históricamente marginadas.


Matriz de puntuación para las solicitudes

Categoría Criterios Percentila
  • Composición demográfica de la junta directiva (raza/origen étnico, género, LGBTQIA, discapacidades)
  • Datos demográficos del director ejecutivo o líder (raza/origen étnico, género, LGBTQIA, discapacidades; veterano)
  • Número de empleados (equivalente a tiempo completo o FTE, por sus siglas en inglés) Ingresos anuales
  • Poblaciones a las que sirve
  • Opera un centro de actividades/espacio creativo
  • Efectos de la pandemia del COVID-19
  • No ha recibido ningún otro financiamiento de la Ciudad
  • No ha recibido fondos del programa de Subvención para Centros de Actividades Cerrados
TOTAL   100%


Frequently Asked Questions 



Is this application available in multiple languages? 

Yes. This application is available in English and Spanish. If you need the application in another language, please contact

The City of Austin is committed to compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Reasonable modifications and equal access to communications will be provided upon request - including translation and interpretation services. For assistance, please contact the Economic Development Department at The City receives and accepts Video Relay Service (VRS) calls from people who are Deaf or hard-of-hearing through Relay Texas 7-1-1. 


What are my next steps after I submit my grant application?   

The  Better Business Bureau will contact all applicants and notify them if they are or are not approved for funding within ten business days following the deadline. Those approved will receive funds directly.   


How can I check my application status?  

The Better Business Bureau will contact applicants within ten business days of the application closing date. 


Will I get confirmation that my application has been received?  

Applicants will receive a confirmation email at the email address provided in the application. The confirmation email will include additional information about next steps. 


What should I do if I am having technical difficulties with the application?    

Please contact the Better Business Bureau directly at or by phone at 512-318-2683


If I have full-time, part-time and quarter-time employees, how should I calculate the total number of employees?  

For the purposes of this program,  

  • a full-time employee counts as 1 FTE  
  • a part-time employee working 20 - 40 hours per week, counts as .5 FTE 
  • a part-time employee working less than 20 hours per week, counts as .25 FTE 
  • Independent contractors are not counted toward an organization’s FTE total 


What will the Better Business Bureau do with my information? 

The City of Austin contract with Better Business Bureau requires not to disclose or use application data and retain the confidentiality of the application data. 


Do I need to attend a pre-application meeting before applying?    

No. You are eligible to apply directly. You may seek assistance with a grant application from  one of our Technical Assistance Community Champions (Austin Revitalization Authority or Mission Capital). 


What are the reporting requirements for Austin Non-Profit Relief Grant?  

There are no reporting requirements at the time of application. If audited, the organization would be required to submit documentation of eligible expenses for reimbursement. This documentation may be receipts, payroll, or other documentation.  


Are early applicants given any priority in allocations? 

Early applicants are not given priority in allocations. We still encourage applicants to submit their completed applications before the final deadline of August 2 at 5 p.m. This will allow additional time for follow-up if the Better Business Bureau needs additional documentation or has additional questions about your application. 


Why does the application ask questions about the Board and Executive Director demographics? 

In short, we want to lead with equity and prioritize organizations that have been historically underserved.  

City of Austin Equity Statement: Racial equity is the condition when race no longer predicts a person's quality of life outcomes in our community. The City of Austin recognizes that race is the primary determinant of social equity and therefore we begin the journey toward social equity with this definition. The City of Austin recognizes historical and structural disparities and a need for alleviation of these wrongs by critically transforming its institutions and creating a culture of equity. 


I don’t have demographic information about by Board? What should I do?  

Understanding Board demographics can be important for your organization and its equity goals. If you do not know your board’s demographic makeup, a simple anonymous survey is the easiest and fastest way to gather this information (I.e., Microsoft Forms or Google Forms). If you need assistance, contact the Austin Revitalization Authority at or call 512-469-1705 or contact Mission Capital at

You also have the choice to select “Prefer not to answer” for all demographic questions. 


Is it necessary to register as a women or minority-owned business for eligibility requirements or prioritization of scoring? 

No. It is not required to register as a woman- or minority-owned business. 


Due to COVID, I didn’t renew my lease, can I use my P. O. Box hard address?  (i.e. UPS location address)? 

Non-Profits without a street address physically located in a City of Austin Council District, which may include Non-Profits who do not have a brick and mortar office location or operate as an at-home Non-Profit must provide evidence that the organizations primary programming and activity locations occur within a City of Austin Council district. A programming location cannot be a P.O. Box address.  

P.O. Boxes can be used only as a mailing address (not tied to eligibility).  


The State of Texas does not require Articles of Incorporation for 501(c)3 status. What other documentation is acceptable to provide? 

Applicants can provide their DBA, their Articles of Incorporation, or their Certificate of Formation. 


Can an application be edited after submission via the online portal or through Better Business Bureau? 

No. Once an application is submitted, Better Business Bureau will review the application documentation for completeness and notify the applicant within ten business days if additional information is needed. In all other cases, submitted applications can not be edited. 


When will an applicant receive an approval or denial letter of grant funds? 

All applicants will receive approval or denial correspondence by mid-August. During the application period, if more information is needed from an applicant the Better Business Bureau will contact an application within ten business days to retrieve more information. 



Is a non-profit organization eligible if it is a 501 C4 or C6A? 

Per City Council Direction, 501 C4 and C6 organizations are not eligible. Eligible applicants must be non-profit organizations under good standing with the Internal Revenue Service and classified as a “public charity” with tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)3 or 509(a).   


Am I eligible to apply if I receive money from the City of Austin Cultural Funding Programs: Arts, Heritage, Music Divisions?   

Yes, you are still eligible to receive the Arts & Culture Non-Profit Grant. 


Am I eligible to apply if I received funding from other City of Austin COVID-19 programs? 

Yes, you are still eligible to receive the Arts & Culture Non-Profit Grant.  


Am I eligible to apply if I have received funding from the first or second round of Austin Non-Profit Relief Grant in 2020?  

Yes. If you received funding in round one or two of the Austin Non-Profit Relief Grant, you are still eligible for this funding. You will, however, receive higher points on the scoring matrix if you didn’t receive the grant or if you received an award under $15,000.  


Can I apply if I am fiscally sponsored by a non-profit organization? 

No, fiscally sponsored groups are not eligible for this funding. Only 501(c)3 and 509(a) organizations are eligible to apply.  


If an organization has a pending 501(c)3 status, but has submitted all required documentation and has received documentation that their application is approved but not yet finalized, are they eligible? 

No. An organization must be an active 501(c)3 for at least two years to be eligible. 



Do I need to repay the dollars received through the Austin Arts & Culture Non-Profit Relief Grant? 

No. The Austin Arts & Culture Non-Profit Relief Grant is not a loan program.  


How much funding can I request?

Applicants can request a flat $20,000 per organization.  


Are eligible Arts & Culture Non-Profits guaranteed to receive funds?  

No. Due to widespread need, the City anticipates requests for aid will surpass the $2 million allocated for the Austin Arts & Culture Non-Profit Relief Grant. Organizations will be selected for funding based on their score on the matrix.  


How will my organization receive funds from the City of Austin if approved for the Austin Arts & Culture Non-Profit Relief Grant program?  

The Better Business Bureau will make all efforts to send funds within ten business days following the grant application closing date by check. Factors that might affect this timeline include the volume of grants being processed and the delivery timing of the United States Postal Service.    


Does this City of Austin grant or loan affect the forgivability of any federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds that were received from the U.S. Small Business Administration?  

No, receiving a City of Austin grant or loan will not affect the forgivability of Federal Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) funds. 


Is this a one-time payment or are there various milestones that need to be met?  

One-time payment .


What restrictions will be placed on the funds granted?  

There are no restrictions on these funds. There is an expectation, however, that the money will be used to support the organization's operations, programming, and services to the greater Austin community.