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Onondaga General Support
CNY Arts, Inc.


Onondaga General Support

Application Deadline: Tuesday, January 18, 2021, by 11:59PM (Extended from January 11)

Who May Apply: Cultural Institutions in Onondaga County by invitation only. 

Eligible Counties: Onondaga only

Project Period: January 1 – December 31, 2022

How to Apply: All applications, in their entirety must be submitted online through CNY Arts' online platform called Submittable (cnyarts.submittable.com)

In order to be eligible, the following criteria must be met: 

  • Arts and culture is a part of agency mission or represents a significant portion of agency activities 
  • Have capacity to report on financial status and attendance on an annual basis or upon request 
  • Have principal office in Onondaga County 
  • Conduct the majority of its activities in New York State and primarily benefit residents of Onondaga County 
  • Are designated as a 501(c)(3) 
  • Have capacity to utilize funds within the grant year 
  • Have non-discrimination policy in effect 
  • Must operate in accordance with guidelines for Onondaga County agencies, New York State nonprofit agencies, and 501(c)(3) agencies 
  • A CNY Arts General Operating Support grant should not exceed 25% or more of an agency’s total annual operating cash budget. 

The following are NOT eligible: 

  • Any agency of the County (includes libraries) 
  • Any educational institution, school or educational foundation 
  • Any radio or television broadcasting network or station 
  • Any cable communications system 
  • Any newspaper or magazine 
  • Any organization that is engaged solely in the acquisition or physical restoration of property 
  • Any agency that applies and receives direct funding from Onondaga County 
  • Requests that exceed equal 25% of the applicants total operational cash budget 

 FUNDING TIERS                                                                                           

General Operating Support grants are generally granted to Tier One & Two organizations. Tier status is not tied to funding levels. The following is required of an agency that meets the tier below. 


  • Annual budget $800,000 & up 
  • Established 10 years 
  • Full time director 
  • Board of Directors 
  • Year-round operation 
  • Annual audit 
  • Historically funded by Onondaga County 
  • Own or operate a venue 


Tier One agencies must provide evidence of audience impact and financial viability and are required to match County funds with corporate, foundation and individual donations. Government funds are not admissible for this match. Tier One agencies must report on their activities, finances, and match progress quarterly to CNY Arts, and must provide data for zip code analysis annually. 


  • Annual Budget $250,000 -799,999 
  • Established 5 years 
  • Board of directors 
  • Annual audit (for organizations with a budget over $750,000
  • CPA Review Report (for organizations under $750,000) 
  • Historically funded by Onondaga County 
  • Year-round operation 

    Tier Two agencies must provide evidence of audience impact and financial viability. Tier Two agencies must report on their activities and finances quarterly to CNY Arts and must provide data for zip code analysis annually. 


  • Annual Budget $25,000 - $249,999 
  • Established 3 years 
  • Board of directors 
  • Public component of work, including but not limited to performance, exhibition, arts education, or public discourse 
  • Organizations that meet the criteria of Tier Two but are not historically funded by Onondaga County 

    Tier Three agencies are not eligible for Onondaga County General Operating Support at this time. When funds allow, Tier Three agencies may apply for Project Support or Economic Development grants. 

Awards will be based on a competitive panel review process. A panel comprised of arts and business administrators from around the State review each project on the basis of its own merits and against others in the application pool. Priority will be given to applications that meet the criteria published within these guidelines. 

Each application is then submitted for a financial review completed by an independent Certified Public Accountant (CPA). Should the CPA have any questions, the organization will be given an equal period of time to submit a response to the inquiry. All reviews and organizational responses will be submitted to the panel for consideration and review. 

Panelists perform evaluation and rating of funding applications made to CNY Arts. Panelists are appointed by the CNY Arts Board of Directors. Panelists are selected in December to serve in the February 2022 panel. Each panelist is paid a $125 stipend to participate and is vetted to ensure no conflicts of interest exist with any of the applicants. 

Applications must be completed and submitted online through Submittable via cnyarts.submittable.com and this private link: 


Required Excel Forms (click to download)


All applications are evaluated and scored on how well the application addresses the following panel criteria. 



Ensures that GOS supports a broad array of cultural activity that fully represents the diversity of Onondaga County and that the supported events are accessible to the broadest possible public. In addition, the organizations’ events and facilities comply with public safety and accessibility laws. The following are considered elements of service to the public. Applicants will be evaluated based on their strength in these areas. 

  • Promotion and Outreach: an organization demonstrates that it makes significant efforts to reach a broad and diverse audience through marketing and public relations efforts. 
  • Audience Development: the organization offers thoughtful and well-designed educational and interpretive activities that help build audience appreciation and understanding of the organization and its work. 
  • Audience/Visitor Participation: the organization’s commitment to its programs and activities as demonstrated through attendance data (relevant to the population of the community served) as well as customer satisfaction surveys (if available and appropriate). 
  • Safety & Accessibility: the activities and events that support is being sought for will take place in venues that are fully accessible to the public and comply with all safety and accessibility standards. 
  • Diversity of Programming: programming reflects significant efforts to reach a broad array of artists and audiences. 
  • Community Service: the organization brings value to its community through partnerships with local businesses and schools, free and low-cost events, and in other appropriate ways. 


CNY Arts and Onondaga County believe in artistic and programmatic excellence without boundaries, and its evaluation process embraces the widest variety of entertainment offerings to the public in a broad array of settings and contexts, including classrooms and community centers, parks, open spaces, and traditional venues. 

CNY Arts considers four dimensions of proposals when evaluating applications: 

Idea: the concept or artistic impetus behind the artistic work or services proposed. 

Practice: the effectiveness of the artistic work or services and the impact it has on those experiencing it, or in the case of services, the effectiveness of the services in practice and their impact on the community served. 

Development: the contribution the artistic work makes to the development of the artists involved, the art form, and the arts generally, or for services, the contribution the services make to the development of a vibrant arts and cultural community in the state. 

Context: the context in which the work or services are being presented and the appropriateness of the work or services in that context. 


CNY Arts must ensure that funded organizations are capable of carrying out their proposals and will be ethical and effective stewards of Onondaga County public funds. 

CNY Arts considers four dimensions of managerial competence when evaluating applicant organizations. 

Mission: The organization’s activities must relate directly to its written mission statement. A mission statement should (1) define the organization’s purpose for being and core values, (2) determine its structure, functions and purpose, (3) be approved by the organization’s board, and (4) be reviewed regularly and updated when appropriate. 

Governance: The organization should have a governing board of directors or trustees, and that group should be diverse and appropriate to the mission of the organization. The board should provide administrative, financial, and ethical oversight for the organization by: 

  • Adopting enabling documents, including by-laws and a mission statement, both of which are reviewed at regular intervals 
  • Selecting a chief executive and annually reviewing her/his performance 
  • Reviewing and approving the annual budget and ensuring that proper financial controls are in place 
  • Engaging in adequate fundraising for the organization by making a personal contribution to the organization and actively soliciting support on its behalf 
  • Ensuring fiscal and programmatic integrity and maintaining accountability by upholding legal standards and ethical norms 
  • Maintaining and enforcing a conflict of interest policy 
  • Ensuring effective organizational planning by participating in an overall planning process and monitoring its implementation 
  • Recruiting and orienting new board members and assessing board performance 
  • Enhancing the organization’s public standing and value 
  • Understanding, monitoring, and strengthening the organization’s core programs and services 

Organizational Management: Organizational management will be assessed based on the extent to which the leaders of the organization comprehend their roles, advance the mission, and plan for the future. Responsible management hinges on the: 

  • Existence of a professional staff appropriate to the size and mission of the organization 
  • Implementation of board policies by professional staff 
  • Comprehension, review, and revision of policies by staff and with the board as needed 
  • Preparation of a year-end statement of the organization’s financial condition and program activities 
  • Offering of competitive compensation and health benefits to employees 
  • Appropriate compensation of artists 
  • Existence of personnel policies that include job descriptions and performance evaluations for board members, staff, and volunteers 
  • Development and implementation of a strategic plan incorporating input from the board, staff, community and other stakeholders. 

Financial Management: The organization will be evaluated based on whether it provides adequate human and financial resources to enable the organization to work toward fulfilling its mission and managing those resources appropriately. Successful financial management includes: 

  • Raising adequate financial resources for operating costs, cash reserve, endowment, and short and long- term capital needs 
  • Developing a balanced operating budget which includes contingencies, contains realistic projections of revenues and expenses, and is approved by the board 
  • Reviewing revenues and expenses in relation to budget at regular intervals and taking steps to raise funds or cut costs when necessary to balance the budget 
  • Establishing a finance committee that meets regularly to review financial statements and that reports directly to the board 
  • Engaging an independent financial auditor that reports directly to board 
  • Engaging in cost-effective fundraising activities. 
  • Written financial policies exist that govern investment of assets, internal control procedures, purchasing practices, reserve funds, compensation expense account reporting, and earned income 
  • Internal financial processes are monitored, including handling of checks, petty cash, cash disbursements, and payroll management, in order to prevent errors and misuse of funds 
  • The use of restricted funds is monitored 
  • Reports comparing Adopted Budget to actual revenue and expenses are made available to appropriate staff in a timely manner 
  • There is a fund development plan that ensures a diversified funding base 
  • Financials demonstrate diversified funding base 
  • Budget variances of more than 10% are noted and explained 
  • Operating deficits are explained and there is a deficit reduction plan for accumulated deficits. 
  • Timely and accurate execution of contracts and reporting (see Responsibilities of Recipients) 



To ensure financial health and stability an independent Certified Public Accountant will review all applications. Should the CPA need clarification or more information, a questionnaire will be generated and sent by the Grants Coordinator to your primary and secondary contact. You will have a period of time to respond to the questions. All questions and responses will be shared with the panel. Should you receive a 1 out of 3 points, you will be required to meet with CNY Arts on a quarterly basis. Along with that, you may have to submit monthly financial reports to CNY Arts. 


  • Program Schedule Form (download the template here) 
  • Expenses and Revenues, Personnel Roster, Performance Measures Excel Document (download template here) 
  • Organizational Chart & Staff List 
  • Board of Directors Roster (include Committees of the Board and Annual Meeting Schedule) 
  • Audit from your most recently completed fiscal year or for organizations under $250,000 operating budget, a 990 is sufficient accompanied by a Board Approved Financial Statement for your most recently completed fiscal year 
  • Recent 12-month Financial Statements (P&L and Balance Sheet) 
  • Current Organizational By-Laws 
  • 501(c)(3) Designation Letter 
  • Long-range or strategic plan

Optional Documents: 

  • Press Clippings/Marketing Materials 
  • Additional Support Materials 


  • Sign, notarize and adhere to the terms of the General Operating Support Funding Agreement 
  • Conduct all program activities consistent with the mission and goals expressed in its application for funds. 
  • Immediately notify CNY Arts in writing regarding any changes to your operations or programs 


  • Prominently and correctly credit the grant funding: “This program is made possible, in part, by operating support from the County of Onondaga, administered by CNY Arts.” 
  • Credit language should be accompanied by the CNY Arts logo (found here) and the Onondaga County seal (found here) 
  • Language should be used in all printed, broadcast, or online publicity related to the services supported by Onondaga County and CNY Arts, or in any program, publication, catalog, film, or comparable product. 



Submit four quarterly reports on time following the schedule below: 

  • 1st Quarter Report (January 1 – March 31, 2022): April 30, 2022 
  • 2nd Quarter Report (April 1 – June 31, 2022): July 30, 2022 
  • 3rd Quarter Report (July 1 – September 31, 2022): October 30, 2022 
  • 4th Quarter Report (October 1 – December 31, 2022): January 30, 2023 

Submit one annual report 30 days after the end of the General Operating Support Contract: 

  • Annual Report (January 1 – December 31, 2022): January 30, 2023 

Submit annual compilation of zip codes 

  • Zip Code Analysis (12-month period): August 1, 2022 



  • All events, projects, and programs must be submitted to the CNY Arts gotocnarts.org website at least 30 days in advance of the first event. Events must be up-to-date. 
  • Agencies must maintain an up-to-date profile on the CNY Arts directory (cnyarts.org/directory) for the duration of the contract period. 



Agencies must maintain insurance as required by the General Operating Support funding agreement with CNY Arts and the County of Onondaga named as additional insureds. 

Agencies are required to provide up-to-date proof of insurance documentation to CNY Arts before each policy document expires.