The City of Austin is no longer accepting applications for the Thrive Grant. The deadline for submission expired on December 2 at 5 p.m. 

The Thrive Grant offers focused investment to sustain and grow local arts nonprofit organizations deeply rooted in and reflective of Austin’s diverse cultures. Awarded grants range from $85,000 to $150,000 per year for the 2-year contract.

Grant Guidelines

Download the Thrive Grant Guidelines (PDF, 550 KB)

Eligibility: Applicants, Activities, Expenses

 

Eligible Applicants

  • 501(c) non-profit arts organizations operating for five years or more. 501(c) status must be active at the time of application. 
  • Applicant’s primary mission and over 51% of their body of work is the production, presentation, or promotion of arts and culture. This includes organizations that provide professional support to creatives.  
  • Applicants organization must be located in the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) which includes Travis, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, and Williamson Counties. 
  • 51% or more of the applicant’s creative production is within the Austin 10-1 City Council districts or extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and a minimum of 5 years of creative production within Austin.  
  • Proposed activity meets all program requirements as outlined by the Hotel Occupancy Tax. All events are open to the public and marketed to tourists, or applicant is an arts service organization.  
  • Applicants who are not receiving City funding for the same activities in the fiscal year in which they are applying. 

Ineligible Applicants

 


Eligible Activities

  • Operations related to the organization’s ability to produce public events. 
  • Exhibitions. 
  • Performances. 
  • Workshops, classes, and camps that include a performance or exhibition that is open to and marketed to tourists. 
  • Public art projects that are installed on public or private property and accessible to the public. 
  • Activities related to the sustainability and growth of the organization. 

 


Eligible Expenses 

  • Administrative and creative costs incurred in the preparation and implementation of cultural activities that are open to and marketed to tourists. 
  • Costs related to improving the organization’s ability to produce cultural events. 
  • Insurance costs. 
  • Subscription costs or license fees for software needed to complete contracted activities. 
  • Capital expenditures - Any single capital expenditure over $2,000 must be pre-approved by the staff contract administrator to ensure compliance with the contract and City policy. Capital expenditures include but are not limited to the purchase, repair, or renovation of equipment or property like speaker systems, theater seats, artwork, etc. These are examples and not an exhaustive list. Please contact your contract administrator for further questions about specific expenses. 

Awards received from this grant may not be used toward activities funded by any other City of Austin programs. 

Application Preview

Preview the application questions to help prepare your answers. Applications will not be accepted via email or mail. The application must be submitted through the application home page only. 

Note: When filling out your application, you will not be able to save your progress. We recommend preparing and saving your answers in a separate document.

 

Eligibility Questions

  1. What is your organization type? 
  2. In what year did your organization's operations providing goods and services to the public begin? 
  3. Is 51% or more of your work produced or presented within the Austin 10-1 districts or extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) for five or more years? 
  4. Do the activities in your proposal culminate in an event or events that are open to and marketed to tourists? 
  5. Are you currently receiving any funding through any of the following programs?
    • Live Music Fund, Heritage Tourism, other City of Austin programs 
  6. If yes, is your Cultural Funding application for the same activities that are funded by one of the programs above? 

 

Application Questions 

  1. What is your organization's mission, vision, and primary production history? 
    • Please identify your key constituencies and provide information about applicant’s service to them.  
  2. Select the option that best describes the artistic discipline of your project/organization. 
  3. How did the needs of your key constituencies influence the founding of your organization? In what ways has your organization maintained a responsive approach to their interests? 
    • Your response should include your organization’s specific history in direct service to your key constituencies and your organization’s founding history and community service goals. 
  4. Description of how your organization has directly improved access to opportunities for your key constituencies. 
  5. Who holds power in your organization and how do they represent your community? 
  6. What are your proposed activities and how is your proposal relevant to the current social and cultural interests of your community? 
    • Your answer could address: tourist accessible activities that you produce, description of proposed activities, participant(s), etc., working in collaboration with the community. 
  7. In what ways is intersectionality a key component of your activities?
    • See definition in glossary section. 
  8. Describe the non-financial ways your community supports your organization and how that support has short and long-term impact on your organization's success.
    • Examples of non-financial community support include but are not limited to: volunteers, mentorship or partnerships, collaborations with community members/leaders, or audience participation. 
  9. Describe the ways your community financially supports your organization and how that support has has a short and long-term impact on your organization's success. If your community does not financially support your organization, please explain why. 
    • Examples of financial support include but are not limited to: cash donations paid services ticket sales, donations of goods 
  10. Describe the ways your organization invests in your community.
    • Please include information on systemic and long-term benefits your organization's programming has for the community. Examples of investment into your community can include but are not limited to: leadership roles, job creation, social services, career development, networking, education, mentoring or partnerships, providing free or low, cost spaces, etc. 
  11. Does your proposal include specialized programming or accommodations for individuals with disabilities?  
  12. Does your proposal include specialized language access accommodations for programming for non-English speaking communities? 
    • The panel will consider how these options are represented in your budget. Accessibility accommodations that are “upon-request only” will not be considered a specialized service. 
  13. How will the requested funds be used to move your organization closer to becoming a cultural institution? 
    • This may include bringing back operations and activities reduced during the pandemic, improving and sustaining existing operations, or developing new initiatives and operations. 
Application Materials

Upload the following required documents to be considered for eligibility of the Thrive grant. Acceptable file formats include: .csv, .doc, .docx, .odt, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, .wpd, .wpf, .gif, .jpg, .jpeg, .png, .svg, .tif, .tiff. Max file upload: 10MB

Application Scoring

Applications will be reviewed and scored by a panel. Applicants will only receive points that apply to their project.

Applications to be a Thrive panelist closed on September 30. Individuals selected to participate on the Thrive Panel will be notified by October 21.

Up to 100 points available: 

 

Operations

Criteria Available Points

Mission and Key Constituencies 

What is your organization’s mission, vision, and primary production history? Please identify your key constituencies and provide information about applicant’s service to them. 

For the purposes of this program, key constituencies that will be prioritized are community groups that are at immediate risk of cultural erasure and displacement within Austin and/or have been institutionally marginalized and under-funded by the City of Austin Cultural Arts Division. 

Up to 15 Points

History of Service  

How did the needs of your key constituencies inform the founding of your organization?  In what ways has your organization maintained a responsive approach to their interests? Your answer should include:  

  • Your organization’s specific history in direct service to your key constituencies.  
  • Your organization’s founding history and community service goals.  
  • Clear description of how the applicant has directly improved access to opportunities for key constituencies.
Up to 15 Points

Cultural Leadership

Who holds power in your organization and how do they represent your community? Your answer could include:  

  • Executive and creative leaders in your organization  
  • Board of Directors
Up to 30 Points
Total Up to 60 Points

 

Cultural and Social Impact

Criteria Available Points

Cultural Activities Relevance and Responsiveness  

What are your proposed activities and how is your proposal relevant to the current social and cultural interests of your community? Your answer could address:  

  • Tourist accessible activities that you produce  
  • Description of proposed activities, participant(s), etc.  
  • Working in collaboration with the community 
Up to 10 Points

Intersectionality and Inclusion    

Intersectionality is where race, class, gender, and other vulnerabilities overlap. It describes the many ways in which various forms of discriminations can intersect, creating special vulnerabilities for some. In what ways is intersectionality a key component of your activities? 

Up to 5 Points

Community Relationships  

Describe the non-financial ways your community supports your organization and how that support has short and long-term impact on your organization’s success.

Examples of non-financial community support include but are not limited to:

  • Volunteers 
  • Mentorships or partnerships 
  • Collaborations with community members/leaders 
  • Audience participation  

Describe the ways your community financially supports your organization and how that support has had a short and long-term impact on your organization’s success. If your community does not financially support your organization, please explain why.

Examples of financial support include but are not limited to:

  • Cash donations 
  • Paid services 
  • Ticket sales 
  • Donations of goods
Up to 5 Points

Opportunity Creation / Community Benefits 

Describe the ways your organization invests in your community. Include information on the systemic and long-term benefits your organization’s programming has for the community.  

Examples of investment into your community can include but are not limited to: 

  • Leadership roles 
  • Job creation 
  • Social services 
  • Career development 
  • Networking 
  • Education 
  • Mentoring or partnerships 
  • Providing free or low-cost spaces
Up to 5 Points

Accessibility  

  • Does your proposal include specialized programming or accommodations for individuals with disabilities 
  • Does your proposal include specialized language access accommodations or programming for non-English speaking communities? 

The panel will consider how these options are represented in your budget. Accessibility accommodations that are “upon-request only” are admirable but will not be considered a specialized service. 

Up to 5 Points

Cultural Institution Status 

a) [Budget table] 

b) How will these funds be used to move your organization closer to becoming a cultural institution? 

This may include bringing back operations and activities reduced during the pandemic, improving and sustaining existing operations, and/or developing new initiatives and operations. 

 A cultural institution will have reliable and consistent access to multiple types of sustaining financial and physical assets. See Additional Program Details document for full definition of cultural institution. 

Up to 10 Points
Total Up to 40 Points
Glossary of Important Terms

View the full glossary of terms and definitions for helpful reference in understanding goals and priorities. The glossary begins on page 20 of the Thrive Grant Guidelines - Additional Program Details (PDF, 575 KB).

 

Intersectionality

The term intersectionality was coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to highlight the overlapping vulnerabilities that are at play in shaping the life chances of some of society's most vulnerable populations, for example: women who are poor, of color, or who are undocumented. ​

Intersectionality describes the many ways in which various forms of discriminations can intersect, creating special vulnerabilities for some. Vulnerabilities related to systemic and institutional racism are an integral part of intersectionality.​

 

Cultural Displacement

Cultural displacement occurs through changes in the aspects of a neighborhood that have provided long-time residents with a sense of belonging and allowed residents to live their lives in familiar ways.  ​

As the scale of residential change advances, and shops and services shift to focus on new residents, remaining residents may feel a sense of dislocation despite physically remaining in the neighborhood. This may also reflect the changing racial or ethnic character of the neighborhood—not just its class composition.​

 

Cultural Erasure

Cultural erasure is when, because of cultural displacement, key aspects of neighborhoods that allow both current and future residents to feel at home go missing.

Current and future residents lose access to opportunities in the neighborhood and the scale of change erases key aspects of the neighborhood that allows residents to feel at home.​

 

Content was developed in collaboration with the City of Austin's Equity Office and industry resources. 

 

Grant Awardee Commitments

In addition to application proposals, the following information will also be required.

Cohort Participation

Selected awardees will participate in a cohort to: 

  • Meet with staff to discuss their organization improvement goals and path to becoming a cultural institution. 
  • Attend optional trainings, networking events, and other learning opportunities. 
  • Share expertise with other selected awardees. 
  • Provide reporting requirements. 
Reporting Requirements

Awardee will be required to submit a report annually. To ease reporting requirements, awardees will have the option to participate in conversation-based assessments and reporting with their dedicated City staff person. 

  • Year One: Interim Report - The interim report will be used by staff to update and revise your contract as necessary for any year two changes. Disbursement of the remaining 10% of that year’s contract will not be issued without approval of the submitted interim report.   
  • Year Two: Final Report - A final report is due within thirty days of the final program date in year two of the contract. Workshops on how to complete your report will be made available and supporting materials can be found in the Contractor Library. 
Funding Timeline

Thrive operates on the calendar year, and it has a two-year cycle:   

Year One:

  • October 12, 2022 – December 31, 2023
  • The program application opens to the public. Applications are reviewed for eligibility by Cultural Funding staff. Eligible and complete applications are scored during a panel review process. Award amounts of approved applications are then determined using a funding matrix. 

Year Two:

  • January 1 – December 31, 2024 
  • Year one awardees will receive the same award in year two, or higher (as funding allows); there is no application process in year two. An awardee can decline year two funding if they wish.
  • Interim reports and contract updates for year two must be approved by Cultural Funding staff before year two funds are disbursed. 
    • Payment 1: 90% of award amount can be invoiced once contract is in place 
    • Payment 2: 10% of award amount can be invoiced upon approval of final report