CNY Arts, Inc.


Onondaga County - General Operating Support

The application portal for General Operating Support is now closed. Please check back for future opportunities. 

Application Deadline: Friday, October 20, 2023

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

Eligible Counties: Onondaga County

Project Period: January 1, 2023 - December 31, 2023

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


The General Operating Support Program is made possible by the County of Onondaga, and administered by CNY Arts. The program provides grant funding for arts and cultural projects, programs, and services for the benefit of the residents and visitors of Onondaga County. The program also recognizes the important role the arts play as an economic driver and keeping Onondaga County an attractive place to live, work, and play. The County has historically funded several mid-sized arts organizations and larger cultural institutions. General Operating Support grants are available by invitation only to groups that have been historically funded through this program since 2011.

General Support represents an investment by Onondaga County in an organization’s primary vision and ongoing work. General support seeks to reward exemplary practice in all areas of administration, finance, programming, and other organizational activities. General Support is awarded on an annual basis.

Eligibility and Tier Requirements 

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

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 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 prepared by independent CPA (for organizations with budgets of over $1,000,000)
  • Financial Review Report prepared by an independent CPA (for organizations with budgets under $1,000,000)
  • 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
  • Financial Review Report prepared by an independent CPA
  • 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 One or 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.

Program Timeline

All applications and reviews must be completed and submitted in their entirety by the deadlines listed below. No exceptions can be made whatsoever.

Requirement Deadline
General Operating Support Application Opens Wednesday, August 23, 2023
General Operating Support Application Deadline Friday, October 20, 2023
General Operating Support Award Announcement On or before December 15, 2023
1st Quarter Report (January 1 - March 31, 2024) Tuesday, April 30, 2024
2nd Quarter Report (April 1 - June 30, 2024) Tuesday, July 30, 2024
Zip Code Analysis (July 1, 2023 - June 30, 2024) Thursday, August 1, 2024
3rd Quarter Report (July 1 - September, 2024) Wednesday, October 30, 2024
4th Quarter Report (October 1 - December 31, 2024) Tuesday, January 30, 2025
Annual Report (January 1 - December 31, 2024) Tuesday, January 30, 2025

Application Instructions

Applications must be completed and submitted online through Submittable via through this link: support-2024 

You will receive an email confirmation shortly after Submittable. If you do not receive one, your application has not  been successfully received and will not be considered for funding. Please contact the CNY Arts Regrants Program team with questions regarding your application submission.


Awards will be based on a competitive panel review process. A panel comprised of arts and business  administrators from around the State will 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 submitted for a financial review completed by an independent Certified Public Accountant  (CPA). Should the CPA have any questions, the organization will be given one (1) week 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 September to serve on the November 2023 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. 


All applications are evaluated and scored on how well the application addresses the following panel criteria. The  three criteria are averaged together to a maximum panel score of 9/9. The Financial Review is an additional three  points that are added to the panel score for a maximum total score of 12/12.

  • Clear artistic/cultural/programmatic vision that aligns with organizational mission
  • Programming that is well designed, distinctive, relevant, and innovative
  • Significant and creative contribution to the field, artists, and/or Onondaga County residents and visitors 
  • Organization supports a broad array of cultural activity that fully represents the diversity of Onondaga  County supported events are accessible to the broadest possible public.  
  • Addresses historically underrepresented and/or under-resourced communities in Onondaga County (i.e.  cultural, racial, ethnic, religious, age, gender diversity, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, income  level, education, limited access to transportation or rural locations, etc.) in its programs or services. 
  • Organization consciously creates opportunity for Onondaga County residents and visitors to participate.
  • Marketing and advertising is inclusive of a broad range of audiences.  
  • Spaces and programming conscientiously remove barriers, including to physical access.
  • Active and mutual connection with the local and Onondaga County artistic community. 
  • Staff and board possess skills/experience to lead. 
  • Sound financial management.  
  • Best practices in governance.

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  Officer to your primary and secondary contact. You will have seven days to respond to the questions. All questions  and responses will be shared with the panel. Should you receive 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. 

9: Exceptional - exceptionally strong (model and standard for the field or discipline with essentially no weaknesses)

8: Outstanding - extremely strong with negligible weaknesses 

7: Excellent - very strong with some minor weaknesses  

6: Very Good - strong with numerous minor weaknesses  

5: Good - strong but with at least one moderate weakness  

4: Satisfactory - some strengths but with some moderate weaknesses 

3: Fair - some strengths but with at least one major weakness 

2: Marginal - a few strengths and a few major weaknesses 

1: Poor - very few strengths and numerous major weaknesses 

0: Not Scorable - too many major weaknesses; or the criteria is not addressed in the application 

Minor Weakness: An easily addressable weakness that does not substantially lessen impact. 

Moderate Weakness: A weakness that lessens impact. 

Major Weakness: A weakness that severely limits impact. 

Application Questions 

  • Mailing Address, Budget, Type of Institution, Social Media Information, Contact Information
  • Mission Statement 
  • Organizational Background (1000 words): Tell us about your organization, including its history and cultural  and community context. Include your organization’s mission, artistic/cultural vision, and community served.  Contextualize this with demographic data. 
  • Audience Data for 2022 and 2023 (chart)
  • Creativity (1500 words): Provide an overview of your programs and activities. Highlight 3 recent examples  of different activities that represent your organization’s artistic / cultural vision. Identify how they align with  your mission, and how they provide creative / innovative contributions to the field, artists and/or public. Explain how you work with local and/or artistic communities to reflect their interests and needs in your  artistic programming and other activities. 
  • Public Service (1500 words): Briefly describe your organization’s audience. Please highlight specific efforts  to engage Onondaga County residents and prospective visitors. If your organization serves a significant  number of people from historically underrepresented communities (cultural, racial, ethnic, religious, age,  and gender diversity, sexual orientation, disability, veteran status, income level, education, limited access to  transportation or rural locations, among others), please identify those communities here. Briefly describe  your organization’s cultural programming, noting whether it is created by individuals within a historically  underrepresented community. Beyond your current audience, describe efforts to expand your reach,  especially within Onondaga County or by attracting visitors to Onondaga County. Provide an example of  how your organization uses marketing to reach a broad range of audiences. Describe how you remove  barriers (physical or economic) to participation. Tell us about a current alliance or local partnership that is  critical to reaching an under-resourced audience. 
  • Managerial / Financial (3000 words): Staff – Briefly describe your organization’s staffing structure. Include  descriptions of the knowledge, skills, and/or experience of up to three key staff members (maximum 4  sentences each) who lead the organization, manage finances, and manage artistic/cultural programs. Be  sure to include why they are a good fit for your organization. Include a link to the full staff list on your  website (if available). Challenges – Explain any hurdles your organization experienced that caused a deficit  (i.e. access to foundations, corporations, private donations). Identify examples within the past five years  and what steps the organization is taking to resolve this. Make sure any financial hurdles are also detailed  in the notes of your uploaded budgets, distinguishing those caused by COVID directly and indirectly.  Successes – If applicable, please describe a recent success of the organization (i.e. attracted a large  audience, artistic triumph, impact on local economy, awards). Artist Compensation – If your organization  works with artists, explain how they are compensated and the compensation structure utilized (e.g., staff,  independent contractor, by rehearsal or teaching hour, or performance fee). Detail the number of artists  involved and financial compensation including per diem.  
  • Grant request, projected budgets 
  • Organizational Budget Attachment (download required template here
  • Personnel Roster Attachment (download required template here
  • Financial Condition Review: Explain any increases/decreases in 2024 projected budget in the following  categories: Personnel, Other Expenses, Revenue. 
  • Organizational Chart 
  • Board of Directors Roster with Committees and Meeting Schedule 
  • Annual Audit or Audited Financial Review 
    • If submitting an audit that does not correspond to the most recent fiscal year, please include an  explanation, and provide the expected date for audit completion. 
  • IRS Form 990
  • Financial Statements for the most recently completed fiscal year. 
    • Must include a Budget and Actuals Report, with a comparison, and a Balance Sheet that are both  board approved/ratified and signed by the treasurer. 
  • Financial Statements for the current fiscal year 
    • Must include a Budget and Actuals Report, with a comparison, and a Balance Sheet that are both board approved/ratified and signed by the treasurer.  
  • Current Organizational By-Laws 
  • Long-range or Strategic Plan 
  • Press Clippings / Marketing Materials (Optional)

Responsibilities of Recipients

Organizations that receive a 2024 GOS award must fulfill the following requirements.

  • 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 Onondaga County and 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.
  • All events, projects, and programs must be submitted to the CNY Arts’ Arts & Entertainment Calendar 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 ( 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.