An orchestra is performing while the conductor looks at the cellist in the center.

Grants for Organizations

Grants for Organizations (GFO) provide operating support that strengthen and sustain Maryland's arts infrastructure.

The GFO granting program provides general operating support to nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, as well as units of government, that produce or present ongoing arts programming that is open to the public. GFO grantees not only provide access to the arts in their communities, but they create audiences for the future, uplift communities, and stimulate the economic impact throughout the state.

In Fiscal Year 2022, the Maryland State Arts Council awarded GFO grants to 260 arts organizations and programs across the State totaling $15,999,067.

MSAC relies on a diverse array of experts from across the state of Maryland to do the important work of evaluating applications. We invite participation through program-specific public calls for panelists. We select panelists with a focus on diversity of experiences, diversity of location, and expertise in varying artistic disciplines. Click here to join our mailing list and receive calls for panelists as we release them. 

On September 9, 2021, the Maryland State Arts Council voted to adopt a new funding formula for the GFO program in an effort to more equitably distribute state appropriated funds to arts organizations across the state. The change will be implemented over a five-year phase-in period beginning in FY2024 and puts MSAC at the forefront of a national trend of state arts agencies adopting policies that promote more equitable distribution of grant funds. 

The new formula groups organizations into five budget tiers, providing a larger percentage of allowable expenses as a maximum grant award to smaller budget organizations, and a smaller percentage to larger organizations that have greater access and connections to non-governmental funding sources, professional fundraising staff, and other resources.

Click here to read the press release for details on the process of developing the new formula. 

When will this change happen? 

The new funding formula will be used to determine FY24 grant amounts. FY23 funding determinations will use the current formula. 

There will be a 5 year “phase in” process of the new funding formula. Over 5 years (starting with FY24 funding), the formula’s cap allocations will move to land at the following percentages by Tier level by FY28:

Tier 1: ($50K - $500K) - 15% (cap allocation) over 5 year transition

Tier 2: ($500K - $1.5M) - 10% (cap allocation) over 5 year transition

Tier 3: ($1.5M - $5M) - 6% (cap allocation) over 5 year transition

Tier 4: ($5M - $10M) - 4.5% (cap allocation) over 5 year transition

Tier 5: ($10M+) - 4% (cap allocation) over 5 year transition

During this 5 year process, a Grant Amount Cap will also be put into place, as follows:

Year 1 (FY24): $1.4M maximum grant

Year 2 (FY25): $1.3M maximum grant

Year 3 (FY26): $1.2M maximum grant

Year 4 (FY27): $1.1M maximum grant

Year 5 (FY28): $1M maximum grant

Note - the cap allocations will vary based on the MSAC funding allocation each year for the GFO program, along with the other variables, including number of organizations in the GFO program, and each organization’s allowable income year to year, and panel score.

What WILL change for FY23?

Another change that was approved is that NEW organizations will no longer need to complete 3 consecutive years of “on year” full applications to be “phased into” the GFO cycle (receiving 40%, then 60%, then 80% of the total grant in each of the three years). New organizations will now complete just one year of an “on year” full application (in their first year) and, if approved, will receive 100% of the award in Year 1! In Year 2, the organization will then fall into the discipline-specific GFO cycle. 

Click here to access the FY23 program guidelines to review all program details, including deadlines and discipline cycles.

Click here to download the new GFO Funding Formula Calculator.

Beginning in April 2022, all organizations applying for funding from MSAC will be required to have a Unique Entity ID (UEI) from in alignment with requirements from the National Endowment for the Arts. This UEI will take the place of a DUNS number, which will no longer be required. You can register for a UEI number by reviewing the information below. 

Webinar Video 
Quick Start Guide


GFO Grants provide general operating support to nonprofit and tax-exempt organizations, as well as units of government, that produce or present ongoing arts programming that is open to the public. Read more.
New GFO applicants must complete an Intent to Apply application to determine eligibility. Read more.