The Thrive Application is Now Open!

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. All applicants not awarded a Thrive grant will automatically be considered for the Elevate grant.

Application Open: June 25 at 10 a.m.  

Application Close:  July 23 at 7 p.m.

Before you apply, review the:

Apply for the Thrive Grant

Application Assistance

The Economic Development Department is offering various ways for the community to learn about the Thrive Grant application process and eligibility 

*Spanish Language Assistance Available 

Find helpful resources from our third-party administrators at The Long Center here. 

Funding Timeline 

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

FY 24 Thrive 

 

Activities Occurring

January 1, 2025 – December 31, 2026

Application Opens

June 25, 2024 @ 10 a.m.

Deadline 

July 23, 2024 @ 7 p.m.

Panel Reviews

August 26-29 and September 4-10

Notification of Awards

September 20, 2024 

 

Year one:  January 1, 2025 – December 31, 2025

  • Payment 1: 50% of award amount can be invoiced once contract is executed

  • Payment 2: 40% of award amount can be invoiced once initial report is approved

  • Payment 2: 10% of award amount can be invoiced upon approval of interim report 

 

Year two: January 1, 2026 – December 31, 2026

  • Year One awardees will receive the same award in Year Two. 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 

 

Applications will be reviewed and scored by trained outside review panelists. Applicants will only receive points that apply to their project. Up to 130 points are available. We anticipate that most applications will not receive the maximum number of points available. 

 

Grant Guidelines

Download the Thrive Grant Guidelines in English (PDF,640 KB)

Download the Thrive Grant Guidelines in Spanish (PDF,456 KB) 

Eligible Applicants

Eligible Applicants

  • 501(c) non-profit arts organizations operating for five years or more. 501(c) status can be new but must be active at the time of application.
  • Applicant’s primary mission and over 50% of their body of work is the production, presentation, or promotion of arts and culture. This includes organizations that provide professional support to creatives.  
  • Five years of operating history in the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) which includes Travis, Bastrop, Caldwell, Hays, and Williamson Counties.  
  • Over 50% of the applicant’s creative production is within the Austin 10-1 City Council districts or extraterritorial jurisdiction (ETJ) and a minimum of 1 year 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    
    • Occur within Austin or the Austin ETJ  
    • Marketed to tourists   

Ineligible Applicants

  • 501(c) non-profit organizations or that are not primarily an arts organization.
  • Individuals or creative businesses with annual operating budgets above $500,000.  
  • Applicant organizations outside of the Austin-Round Rock-Georgetown Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA).
  • City of Austin Employees
  • Applicants who have accepted grant funding from the Cultural Arts Fund (Thrive, Elevate, or Austin Live Music Fund) in the current City of Austin Fiscal Year 2024 grant funding cycle 
Eligible Activities and Expenses

See Additional Program Details in English (PDF, 518 KB), Additional Program Details in Spanish (PDF, 519 KB) for a more detailed list of eligible and ineligible activities and expenses

Eligible Activities 

  • Operations related to the applicant’s ability to produce public events
  • Exhibitions
  • Performances
  • Workshops and classes 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 by the public (Applicants must obtain written permission from the property owner prior to submitting an application. See page 6 of the Additional Program Details in English (PDF,362 KB), Additional Program Details in Spanish (PDF,519 KB) for more information).
  • Activities related to the sustainability and growth of the organization. EXAMPLES:
    • Expanding public programming and audiences
    • Establishing a reliable space for planning and presenting work
    • Establishing new and/or more diversified revenue sources  
    • Operations related to the production of public events 

Eligible Expenses

  • Administrative and creative costs incurred in the preparation and implementation of cultural activities that are open to and marketed to tourist (including staff hours, contractor costs, and artist salaries)
  • 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 Details

Preview the application questions to help prepare. Applications will not be accepted via email or mail. The application must be submitted through the Submittable application home page only (link will be added on June 25 at 10 a.m.). 

Eligibility Questions

Is 51% or more of your work produced or presented within the City of Austin Council Districts or extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ)?  

If yes, has your work been produced or presented within the City of Austin Council Districts or extra-territorial jurisdiction (ETJ) for five or more years?

Are activities in your proposal open to and marketed to tourists? If you are an arts service organization that supports artists and arts organizations with their own public activities, answer “yes.”  

If you are currently receiving funding through any other City of Austin department or program (excluding pandemic relief programs), please disclose.  

Application Questions and Points

Key Constituencies & Creative Mission 

 

Identify your key constituencies. How do you serve them through your artistic goals, creative mission, and experience producing public events? 

 

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. 

 

Key constituencies are not necessarily just your audience. They may also include others who are deeply impacted by your work, like participating artists, staff, creative advisors and/or community groups, etc. 

 

Answer must include:     

 

Up to 15 Points

History of Service 

 

How have you met the needs of your key constituencies?  

 
Your answer should include:

  • Your specific history in service to key constituencies

  • Your founding history and community service goals

  • Description of how you have directly improved access to opportunities for your key constituencies

  • Examples of opportunity creation: 

  • leadership roles 

  • jobs 

  • social services 

  • career development 

  • networking 

  • education 

  • mentoring or partnerships 

  • providing free or low-cost spaces 

 

Up to 15 Points

Cultural Leadership  

 

Who holds decision-making power in your creative practice and how do you/they represent your key constituencies? 

  

 

Your answer could include:   

  • You, the individual artist applicant  

  • Executive and Creative Leadership  

  • Advisory Board   

  • Creative Advisors 

 

Up to 30 Points

Cultural Activities  

 

What are your proposed public activities?  

 

Your answer should address: 

  • Description of proposed activities (who, what, when, where)

  • Desired outcome or impact of your proposed activities, including how equity is centered.

  • How key constituencies are involved in the development of the activities 

 

Up to 10 Points 

 

Intersectionality And Inclusion    

 

Describe how intersectionality is incorporated into your activities?    

 

The City values intersectionality and inclusion.  

 

The term intersectionality was coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw. Intersectionality is where different parts of an individual’s identity, like their race, class, and gender, can overlap and result in that person experiencing special challenges or discrimination that's unique to their lived experience.  

 

Your answer should include:  

  • Identify the intersectional identities participating in your activities 

  • How those identities are included in the creation and presentation of your activities 

 

Up to 10 Points 

 

Accessibility 

 

Describe the specialized accommodations and/or programming for individuals with disabilities that you intend to provide at your proposed activities, if any. 

 

Your answer should address:

  • Specific services or adaptations you will provide 

  • Name(s) of service provider and/or participation of a trained professional in administering services or adaptations 

 

Accessibility accommodations that are “upon-request only” are not considered to be specialized.   

 

Hosting activities in an ADA accessible facility, by itself, is also not considered to be specialized.  

 

Up to 10 Points

Language Accessibility  

 

Describe the specialized language access accommodations or programming for non-English speaking communities that you intend to provide at your proposed activities, if any.   

 

Your answer should address: 

  • Specific services or adaptations you will provide (including the language(s) they will be provided in) 

  • Name(s) of service providers and/or participation of a trained professional in administering services or adaptations 

 

Accessibility accommodations that are “upon-request only” are not considered to be specialized. 

 

Up to 10 Points

Marketing   

 

Describe how you will market your proposed activities.  

 

Your answer should include your marketing platforms (ex: social media, web, newsletter, print, radio/tv, etc.) and specialized marketing efforts to reach:   

 

  1. Audiences within your key constituencies 

  1. New audiences within the City of Austin’s Priority Key Constituencies 

  1. Audience members with disabilities and/or audience members whose primary language is not English 

  1. Tourists 

 

An applicant’s key constituencies are NOT required to align with the City’s priority key constituencies (as defined in the Additional Program Details (PDF,362 KB), Detalles adicionales del programa (PDF,519 KB)) to receive points for Item 1. HOWEVER, Item 2 requires the applicant to reach NEW audiences within the City’s priority key constituencies that are not reached through Item 1. 

 

Utilizing two or more forms of social media (ex: Facebook and Instagram) will only count as ONE marketing platform. 

 

 

Up to 10 Points 

 

Budget (NOT A NARRATIVE - Just the budget table) 

 

How will you use this grant to produce your proposed activities?  

 

Your answer should address payment to artists and/or administrators and:

  1. Estimated expenses related to providing specialized accessibility and/or language access services

  1. Estimated expenses related to marketing to current or new audiences

  1. Explanation of expenses to produce your activities

  1. Budget should be reflective of this application 

 

Up to 10 Points 

 

Cultural Institution Status 

 

What steps will you take over the two-year grant cycle that will move your organization closer to becoming a cultural institution in Austin?    

 

  • Provide 2 to 3 goals for each funding year 

  • Describe how these goals move you closer to becoming a cultural institution  

 

Your answer could include:  

Bringing back operations and activities reduced during the pandemic 

  • Mission revision 

  • Re-launching programming from before the pandemic 

  • Stabilizing and/or expanding administrative resources and staff 

Improving and sustaining existing operations by developing systems to diversify revenue streams 

  • Cash donations/grants   

  • Paid services   

  • Ticket sales   

  • Donations of goods 

  • Capacity building/training/certification 

Developing new initiatives 

  • Hiring new staff  

  • Developing new programming 

  • Creating a strategic plan 

Asset acquisition 

  • Acquiring or maintaining a long-term lease 

  • Purchase of equipment valued under $2,000 

Deepening relationship-oriented contributions from community 

  • Board development 

  • Volunteers   

  • Mentorships or partnerships   

  • Collaborations with community members/leaders   

  • Audience participation  

 

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

130 Points 

Application Materials

Upload the following required documents to the Thrive application.  

Glossary of Important Terms

Here are just a few important definitions for helpful reference in understanding goals and priorities. For a full list of definitions please see the glossary of terms and definitions beginning on page 19 of the Additional Program Details. 

Creative Business 

A creative business is an individual or a group whose primary activities are arts and culture based, and does not have a 501c non-profit status. Creative businesses with annual operating budgets below $500,000 can apply as an individual or arts group in Nexus and Elevate. 

 

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. 

 

Cultural Institution

The Cultural Funding programs define this as an entity whose primary mission is to present and produce arts and cultural activities, has a high degree of financial sustainability, and is seen as an indispensable part of a community. It is important to note that an organization can be an indispensable part of the community but has not received the historical financial support necessary to achieve cultural institution status as defined here.   

 

A cultural institution will have reliable and consistent access to multiple types of these hallmark attributes, including but not limited to:

  • multiple paid full-time staff, including dedicated development and marketing staff, often with access to employment benefits such as health insurance and/or paid leave 

  • an endowment and/or cash reserves  

  • a diversity of operating support grants   

  • consistent corporate sponsorship and private donations   

  • steady earned income (representing a significant percentage of the annual budget) 

  • a permanent location in the form of owned property or a long term (10+ years), rent controlled lease   

  • a diversity of capital campaign or physical infrastructure funds (grants, government contracts, individual, and corporate)  

  • fee based membership to industry networks such as Americans for the Arts   

 

Fiscal Sponsor

A nonprofit corporation with 501(c) status that applies for financial support on behalf of another organization or individual in order to enable the latter to receive the benefits of tax-exempt status. There are several forms that fiscal sponsorship can take, but in every case, the fiscal sponsor takes responsibility for external parties that the funding will be utilized for tax-exempt, charitable purposes as defined in the internal revenue code. See The Long Center’s 

 

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. 

 

Key Constituencies

The people deeply impacted by your work, which may include your audience, community members, and/or participating artists and administrators. These ‘key constituencies’ are identified and named by the applicant.

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. Any reference to ‘key constituencies’ in a program application and scoring rubric will be referring to the community groups that meet this definition and that has been directly identified by the applicant.

This may refer to Black/African American, Native American, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, Middle Eastern, and Pacific Islander, the LGBTQIA, and disability communities.

NOTE: Audience served is NOT the same as ‘key constituencies’ as the audience served may or may not include communities that are at immediate risk of cultural erasure and displacement within Austin and/or have been institutionally marginalized. 

Application Scoring 

Applications will be reviewed and scored by a panel.  Panels will be available for public viewing, and applicants may request reviewer comments after awards have been announced. Applicants will only receive points that apply to their proposal based on the scoring rubric; we anticipate that most applications will not receive the maximum number of points available. The number of awards that are approved is subject to the availability of funds. We expect to award approximately 35 grants per cycle.

 

 

Grant Awardee Commitments

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

Reporting Requirements

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

 

Year 1: Initial Report*

An initial report will be used by Cultural Arts Division staff to establish a baseline of data and information about the organization’s self-identified goals. This assessment is developed through a conversation about the organization’s existing areas of expertise and interest in sharing those skills through collaborative learning opportunities, as well as any possible networking connections the organization hopes to leverage during the cohort time period. This assessment will be used in the planning of Thrive cohort opportunities and to track progress during the interim and final reporting stages of the grant.

 

Year 1: Interim Report*

The interim report will be used by Cultural Arts Division staff to update and revise your goals as necessary for any Year Two changes. Disbursement of the remaining 10% of that year’s goals will not be issued without approval of the submitted interim report.  

 

Year 2: 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.  

 

* See Additional Program Details for more detailed reporting information. 

 

Application Resources

All Cultural Funding Programs are administered by Create Austin, a service of our third-party administrators at the Long Center for the Performing Arts. The Create Austin website hosts a variety of resources for Elevate applicants including the Program Guidelines, a fillable application template, a detailed breakdown of the application, and more. Access the Create Austin Resource Hub. 

Review the Application Assistance section at the top of the page for opportunities provided by the City of Austin’s Cultural Arts Division. 


2023-2024 Thrive Grant Awardees

With over 140 applicants, the top 59 scoring applications were reviewed and scored by a panel. After the panel review, the top 36 scoring applications were recommended for funding. Final award amounts were based on the requested amount and panel score. Read more about the grant in the Thrive Grant Guidelines (PDF, 550 KB). Read the Thrive Panelist Training Materials (PDF, 3.3 MB).

Thrive, Elevate, and Nexus cultural funding programs were developed in consultation with Austin’s creative community over the past 3 years. Funding will prioritize equity through a combination of seed funding, broad sector support, and targeted investment. Read the Cultural Funding Report (PDF, 1.8 MB)El camino hacia la equidad cultural (PDF, 2.2 MB)

Organization Name Award
allgo $150,000
Austin Asian American Film Festival $100,000
Austin Chinese-American Network or ACAN $85,000
Austin International Drag Foundation, Inc. $100,000
AZTLAN DANCE COMPANY $100,000
Ballet East Dance Company $85,000
Capitol View Arts $150,000
Cine Las Americas $150,000
Color Arc Productions $85,000
Dance Africa Fest $85,000
DAWA (Diversity Awareness and Wellness in Action) $100,000
E4 Youth, Inc $85,000
Esquina Tango $100,000
Glass Half Full Theatre $85,000
Great Promise for American Indians $150,000
ICMCA $85,000
Imagine Art $85,000
India Fine Arts, Inc $100,000
Indie Meme $85,000
Jump On It $100,000
LA PENA $150,000
Lannaya West African Drum and Dance Ensemble $100,000
Latinas Unidas Por El Arte (LUPE Arte) $100,000
LATINITAS, LATINITAS, INC. $100,000
Mexic‐Arte Museum $100,000
MoHA $150,000
Oliver Rajamani DBA Taranada $85,000
Outreach Productions $100,000
OUTsider Film & Arts Festival $100,000
PUERTO RICAN FOLKLORIC DANCE INC aka Puerto Rican Cultural Center $150,000
Red Salmon Arts $100,000
Roy Lozano's Ballet Folklorico de Texas $100,000
The VORTEX $150,000
Torch Literary Arts $150,000
WhatsintheMirror $85,000
Women in Jazz Association $150,000

 

 

Thrive Grant Dashboard

View a summary dashboard of demographics for the 2023 Thrive Grant applicants and awardees.


Thrive Panel Review Session Recordings

2023 Thrive Panel Review

In January of 2023, the Cultural Arts Division managed three days of live online panel review sessions with a goal to select 36 Thrive Grantees from a group of 59 semi-finalist applicants. Watch the 2023 Thrive Grant Review Panels on the EDD YouTube Channel.