CNY Arts, Inc.


Tier Three Project Support

The application portal for Tier Three Support is now closed. Please check back for future opportunities. 

Application Deadline: Tuesday, October 31, 2023 by 12:00 PM (noon)
How to apply
: All applications must be submitted online through 
Who May Apply: Tier Three Agencies in Onondaga County 
Award Amount$1,000.00 to $10,000.00
Project PeriodJanuary 1, 2024 to December 31, 2024




Applicant Eligibility

In addition to meeting the Tier Three Criteria, applicants must:

  • Have arts, culture, or heritage as a significant portion (60%) of mission or public programming, including but not limited to, performance, exhibition, arts education, or public discourse. 
  • Have a capacity to report on financial status and attendance on an annual basis or upon request.
  • Have a permanent address located in Onondaga County.
  • Have a non-discrimination policy in effect. 
  • Be designated as a 501 (c) (3).

Organizations are not eligible for Tier Three Project Support if they are:

  • An agency of the County (includes libraries).
  • An educational institution, school or educational foundation.
  • A radio or television broadcasting network or station, a cable communications system, or a newspaper or magazine. 
  • An organization that is engaged solely in the acquisition or physical restoration of property. 
  • An organization that has applied to CNY Arts for General Operating Support for 2024.
  • Individual Artists
  • Unincorporated entities
  • Requests that exceed 25% of the applicants total operational cash budget
  • A CNY Arts Grantee with an outstanding final report from a prior year grant (not including 2023 grants).  

Tier Three Qualifications

Tier Three Agencies are typically new or smaller nonprofit organizations that must have:

  • An annual budget between $25,000.00 
  • Been established for at least three (3) years;
  • A Board of Directors; and
  • A public, cultural 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 via CNY Arts' General Operating Support grant. 

Alternatively, organizations may qualify as a Tier Three Agency if they meet Tier Two criteria but have not historically been funded by Onondaga County. 

If you are an organization that does not meet the above criteria but interested in applying, please contact Ben Verdi, Regrants Program Officer, at (315) 435-2162 or

Below are the key dates for the Tier Three Project Support program. Please note we do not accept applications or corrections after the deadline.


Requirement Deadline
Application Opens Tuesday, September 19, 2023
Application Closes Tuesday, October 31, 2023 by 12:00 PM (noon)
Award Announcement On or before Friday, December 15, 2023 
Final Report Deadline No later than January 30, 2025

Eligible Expenses

  • Artist fees for performing, teaching, and providing services;
  • Direct administrative expenses related to the proposed project;
  • Marketing/publicity costs;
  • Expendable, project-related supplies and materials; and
  • Project-related travel expenses (not including out-of-state travel), rental of space and equipment, and technical fees.

Ineligible Expenses

Ineligible expenses include but are not limited to:

  • Any activity that takes place outside of Onondaga County;
  • Operating expenses or events that take place in privately owned facilities;
  • Purchase of permanent equipment, works of art, or capital improvements;
  • Further regranting, including cash prizes, scholarships, or fellowships;
  • Juried shows or competitions;
  • Camps, clubs, or activities restricted to the general public;
  • Food, drink, or other costs related to hospitality;
  • Galas, benefits, receptions, parties, or fundraising events;
  • Activities that raise funds for another organization, individual, or cause;
  • Entertainment such as balloons, clowns, or magicians;
  • Creation of textbooks or classroom materials;
  • Programs in which children are used as professional artists (paid a fee);
  • Projects that are recreational, therapeutic, rehabilitative, or religious in nature including at-risk or social service programs in which the purpose is primarily for rehabilitation, therapy, or worship;
  • Lobbying or advocacy-related expenses; or
  • Debt servicing or contingency funds.

Application Instruction

Applications must be completed and submitted through the Submittable pre-screen form via:

You may save your progress on Submittable as you complete your application. Please note that once the application has been submitted, it cannot be edited any further.

Upon completing and successfully submitting an application through Submittable, you will receive an automated email confirmation to the registered email address. If you do not receive an email confirmation, the application has not been correctly submitted and cannot be considered for funding.

For further assistance, please refer to the Submittable Help Forum or contact the CNY Arts Regrants Program Staff.

Accommodations & Application Support

CNY Arts will provide optional webinars and office hours with the Regrants Program Manager to review the guidelines, eligibility requirements, and the application. For hours and more information, please visit click on the "Office Hours & Webinars" section below.

CNY Arts provides extensive, free technical assistance and support to all interested applicants. Application guides, video tutorials, and panel feedback summaries will be available to all applicants. Additional accommodations to facilitate your participation in this program include but are not limited to interpretation or translation services, computer or technical support, budgeting, grant writing, or project development. For more information, please contact the CNY Arts Regrants Program Staff.

Applicant Information

  • CNY Arts funding history;
  • Contact information of applicant;
  • Organization mission statement;
  • Annual operating budget; and
  • Electoral district numbers.

Basic Project Information

  • Grant request amount;
  • Project summary, including dates & locations;
  • Artistic discipline and type of activity; and
  • Estimates of artists, audience, and other beneficiaries.

Project Narratives

You will be asked to provide detailed project descriptions in response to the project narrative questions, such as:

  • Public activities;
  • Audience engagement and promotion plan;
  • Community involvement and support; and
  • Use of grant funds, project timelines, and evaluation.
  • Project Budget Form;
  • Biographies or Resumes of Key Artists;
  • Proof of nonprofit status and list of staff and Board of Directors;
  • Organizational financial statement for most recent fiscal year;
  • Organizational projected budget for current fiscal year;
  • Letters of support; and
  • Additional artistic samples and support materials.

Grant awards and funding recommendations will be determined by a competitive peer review process conducted by a panel of business leaders, academics, and arts professionals. Because funds are limited, project proposals must meet specific criteria as published within these guidelines. The panel’s funding recommendations will then be submitted to the CNY Arts Board of Directors for approval.


Peer review panelists for the Tier Three Project Support Grant program are nominated by residents and community members of Onondaga County and are subsequently appointed by the CNY Arts Board of Directors. Panelists must be nominated and must be residents of or work in Onondaga County to serve. Panelists are paid a nominal honorarium to participate and may not serve for more than three (3) consecutive years. To nominate yourself or another individual to serve as a peer review panelist, please complete this nomination form. New panelists will be selected on a rolling basis.

All applications are reviewed by CNY Arts staff for completeness and eligibility before they enter the Peer Review Panel Process. The Peer Review Panel will then use the following criteria to evaluate and score each application:

Creativity (5 points)

  • Quality of submitted samples of past works;
  • Experience or credentials of proposed artists and personnel; and
  • Originality, innovation, relevance, and quality of project concept and design.

Access & Inclusion (5 points)

  • Engagement with audiences from historically excluded communities;
  • Consideration of community needs and interests (non-duplication of comparable existing programs or services);
  • Appropriateness and effectiveness of outreach and marketing plans for core audiences; and
  • Cultural depth in audience or learner experience.

Feasibility (5 points)

  • Overall clarity of project proposal with defined objectives;
  • Reasonable plan for implementation and evaluation;
  • Previously demonstrated ability to implement projects; and
  • Realistic and achievable budget and timeline.

Additional Considerations

Priority may be given to the following applicant organizations:

  • Organizations outside of Downtown Syracuse;
  • Organizations whose grant project occurs outside of Downtown Syracuse; and
  • Organizations whose arts and culture-related programs comprise more than 50% of their operations.

Panel Scoring Schema

5: Exceptional - exceptionally strong (model and standard for the field or discipline with essentially no weaknesses)
4: Very Good - very strong with some minor weaknesses
3: Satisfactory - some strengths but with some moderate weaknesses
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.

Organizations that receive a 2024 Tier Three Project Support award must fulfill the following requirements.

  • Sign and adhere to the terms laid out in the contract (funding agreement);
  • Conduct all funded activities as described in the application;
  • Provide CNY Arts with copies of promotional materials and an advance schedule of all funded events;
  • Provide CNY Arts with complimentary tickets for all funded events for auditing purposes, as applicable;
  • Attend the CNY Arts Awards Ceremony (anticipated Spring of 2024);
  • Immediately and in writing notify CNY Arts of any changes to the project, including dates, locations, admission fees, artists hired, or activities conducted (all changes to funded projects are subject to approval); and
  • Prominently and correctly include the following credit language in all printed and published materials:
This project was made possible with funds from the County of Onondaga through the Tier Three Project Support Program administered by CNY Arts.
  • Credit language must be accompanied by the CNY Arts logo and the County of Onondaga Seal.

Can an individual artist apply for a Tier Three Project Support grant?

  • No. The only eligible applicants for this program are nonprofit organizations in Onondaga County designated "Tier Three". Individual artists may not apply, even with an eligible fiscal sponsor.

Can a nonprofit organization that does not meet Tier Three requirements apply for a Tier Three Project Support Grant?

  • Yes. Nonprofit organizations that do not meet Tier Three requirements can apply for a Tier Three Project Support Grant only if they apply with an eligible Tier Three organization as their fiscal sponsor. The sponsoring agency may take an administrative fee of up to 10% but would not be eligible to apply for a separate Tier Three Grant.

Can a nonprofit organization that applied for direct NYSCA funding or Statewide Community Regrants (SCR) apply for Tier Three?

  • Yes. Direct NYSCA applicants and SCR applicants are eligible for Tier Three support because this program is funded by Onondaga County--not the state.

Can an organization apply more than once?

  • No. Tier Three will only support one project from any organization.

Will there be a mandatory application seminar or webinar?

  • No. There will not be any mandatory application seminars or webinars. However, CNY Arts will host bi-weekly Zoom office hours to answer any questions.

Will there be a separate Tier Three Festival Fund in 2023?

  • No. All organizations, including festivals, will have their applications considered together. There will be no separate round for festivals this year.