CNY Arts, Inc.


COVID-19 Arts Impact Fund for Organizations

CNY Arts has made available a limited pot of funding for COVID-19 Arts Impact Grants that support nonprofit arts organizations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Three categories are available: Restart, Reopening, and Resiliency. Funds will be provided through a competitive peer panel regrant process administered by CNY Arts.

Application Deadline:  Contact CNY Arts for more information 

June 2021 Update: Limited funds are available. Applications are now open and being reviewed on a rolling basis.

Who May Apply: Nonprofit Arts Organizations and Individual Artists

Eligible Counties: Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, and Oswego

Award Amount: $1,000 - $10,000 (*see grant request tab)

Project Period: 12-months starting day of application submission.

How to Apply: All applications, in their entirety must be submitted online through Submittable (

Application Forms

Informational Sessions & Webinars

Learn more about the application and guidelines for the COVID-19 Arts Impact Fund with CNY Arts Programs Director, Liz Lane. The webinar is 45 minutes in total. The presentation is 30 minutes with 15 additional minutes for Q&A. Please register to receive the Zoom meeting information.

Next Webinar:

October 29 at 5:30 PM (45 minutes) 

Applicant Eligibility*

Eligible applications to the Resiliency Fund must meet ALL of the criteria below:

  • Nonprofit arts organizations (501(c)(3) or NYS Charity based in Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, or Oswego counties.
  • Has received funding through CNY Arts in the past three years (FY2018, 2019, or 2020) OR is a New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) grantee (FY2018-2020) deeming them ineligible for CNY Arts’ Decentralization Grants. Those who have not received funding through either entity must complete an eligibility application to determine whether the organization may complete the Arts Resiliency Fund Application.
  • Must have at least a three-year history of artistic programming.
  • Must have an operating budget of at least $15,000 based on expenses from the most-recently completed fiscal year (via Form 990).

*If you do not meet all of these criteria, please contact CNY Arts staff immediately.

Evaluation Criteria

Funding is limited; all applications must be in compliance with these published grant guidelines and will be evaluated and scored competitively based on the criteria listed below:

  • Qualitative and quantitative impact of COVID-19 on the organization’s operation and ability to deliver services and programs,
  • Organizations that demonstrate history of artistic programming, thoughtful community impact, and a track record of success in Central New York and the Mohawk Valley,
  • Commitment to the meaningful and ongoing engagement with CNY and MV communities, connecting audiences to accessible arts, culture, history, and heritage opportunities, and
  • A plan to use the funds that will have a positive impact on an organization’s ability to survive COVID and look to a long-term future (i.e. skeletal staff on board, virtual arts programming, fundraiser, etc.).

Program Priorities:

All organizations that have received support from CNY Arts OR the New York State Council on the Arts in the past three years (2018, 2019, 2020) are eligible to apply. Priority points will be given to:

  • Organizations that have not received foundation or private support around COVID-19 related loss.
  • Organizations and artists that demonstrate highest risk during this crisis, including historically under-resourced organizations, as well as those who serve under-resourced populations, communities, and artistic disciplines.
  • Organizations articulating action steps towards advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility as part of the internal and external practices.

Eligible Expenses include, but are not limited to:

  • Salary support
  • Consultant fees for training, evaluation, or planning
  • Contractor fees for legal, bookkeeping, human resources for reopening, health and safety, virtual artistic content, and remote work
  • Software/Hardware for online and virtual programming or remote work
  • Purchase and/or installation fees related to protective gear or equipment for employees and patrons
  • Strategic alignment funds for expenses related to mergers
  • Utilities (rent/facility fees, internet, phone, electricity, insurance, etc.)
  • Other expenses to fulfill the goal of resiliency as defined by the applicant. However, this fund cannot be used to pay off long-term debt accumulated prior to January 1, 2020.

Grant Request**

Grants cannot exceed 25% of an organization’s annual operating budget. Award amounts will range as follows per an agency’s prior year Annual Budget (Form 990):

  • Less than $100,000 may request up to $2,000
  • Between $100,001 - $250,000 may request up to $5,000
  • Between $250,000 - $500,000 may request up to $7,500
  • Greater than $500,000 may request up to $10,000

**Accepted applicants may reapply to this fund after completing their project and submitting a Final Report that is approved by CNY Arts staff.

Application Check List

All applicants should submit their materials through Submittable. A complete application must contain the following materials:

  1. Applicant Profile: includes basic questions such as organizational information, contact information, eligibility questions (funding history, organizational projected budget).
    • Organizational Projected Budget
  2. Project Narrative should include a narrative qualifying and quantifying the impact the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the agency and operations. Include amount requested and its expected impact on the organization and its clients/constituency. The proposal should specifically address the panel criteria above.
  3. Project Budget include a breakdown of how you will spend the grant. If applicable, please include invoices or bills if requesting funds for retroactive expenses.
  4. Audited Financial Statement for most recently completed fiscal year. One of the following forms must be uploaded.
    • Form 990
    • Financial Review
    • Audit
  5. IRS Form W-9

*You may address all application letters to the Members of the CNY Arts Impact Fund Panel.

Frequently Asked Questions

All questions that are submitted to the Program Director are posted below with answers. 


I do not have a 990 or annual audit, is there another form of financials I can upload?

In lieu of an audit or 990, you may upload your board-approved financials for your most recently completed fiscal year. Any applicant is welcome to upload a document with budget notes or an explanatory cover page for more context. 

My organization is situated on a county line. Can we still apply? 

Unfortunately, we are only able to accept applications from organizations with permanent addresses within one of the seven counties (Cayuga, Cortland, Herkimer, Madison, Oneida, Onondaga, Oswego).