Much of the work done to expand arts activities across Mississippi is accomplished through projects taken on by arts and community-based groups. This project grant is available exclusively for MWS schools to fund projects that strengthen capacity for education in the arts. Proposed projects must align with the goals outlined in applicant’s MWS Growth Planner.

Capacity Building Project Grants range from $2,000 to $5,000 and do not require a cash match from the applicant schools. These grants are highly competitive.

Application Deadline: September 1

Dates for Eligible Projects: Activities supported by MAC’s Project grant must take place between October 1 of the current year and June 30 of the following year.

Before submitting an application, MAC recommends you thoroughly read the Frequently Asked Questions.

Who May Apply

Organizations who apply for a Capacity Building Project Grant must be an active Mississippi Whole School or Model School member. Eligible organizations are limited to applying for either a MAC Project or MWS Capacity Building Project Grant each year. Individuals are not eligible to apply for a Project Grant. Applicants are strongly encouraged to consult with the MAC Arts Education Director about the viability of their proposal before submitting an application.

Project Grant Examples

Capacity Building Projects strengthen ongoing arts education efforts for students Pre-K through 12th grade. Arts education programs also foster professional development for educators, enabling them to teach the arts more effectively and use the arts as learning tools in teaching non-arts curriculum.

Examples of eligible projects:

  • A school (or school district) hires a consultant to work with teachers to introduce or infuse the arts into the curriculum; a school contracts with an artist to create a work of permanent art such as a mural; a school develops a year-long artist-in-residency program.

Cash Income and In-Kind Contributions

Unlike other Project Grants to organizations, the MWS Capacity Building Grant does not require a cash match, however; organizations may still apply additional income and in-kind contributions, such as volunteer hours or donated space, to their projects. These contributions should be documented in the application budget and can help demonstrate community support for a project.

How To Apply

Apply online using MAC’s eGRANT system. Faxed, mailed, or emailed applications are not accepted. Please review the guides and video tutorials available on MAC’s Frequently Asked Questions page, then contact MAC staff if you have any questions.

Please be prepared to submit the following information through the eGRANT system:

  • In 2022, the federal government transitioned from the use of the DUNS Number to a new Unique Entity ID (UEI) as the primary means of identification required to apply for and receive federal funding. Due to federal regulations, MAC will be unable to award any funding to organizations that fail to provide this information. It is 100% free for an organization to request a UEI, and you need not complete the full registration in order to obtain your ID. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to obtain your organization’s UEI. For further assistance in obtaining a UEI, you can reach the help desk by calling 866-606-8220 to speak to a registration specialist.
  • Narrative (three-page maximum) in which you provide an overview of your organization and address the Project Grant review criteria
  • Budget Itemization that explains in greater detail each expense and source of income (not required) included in the Budget section of the application. See sample budget itemization. Note: Pay careful attention to your budget itemization since it will answer many questions that the narrative description is not likely to answer and it speaks for the applicant’s accountability.
  • A list of your board of directors indicating ethnic make-up and members with disabilities. Public schools should submit a list of their current school board members.
  • Current biographies (one half page maximum for each) of your organization’s key artistic and administrative personnel, both paid and volunteer. Do not substitute bios with resumés.
  • A copy of letters of agreement or signed contracts between your organization and the artists or consultants participating in the project that have been finalized as of the application deadline. If arrangements with the artist(s) have not yet been finalized, please submit a plan for securing these agreements. This should include a list of the artists you are considering and a timeline for completing this work.
  • A current brochure for the artist(s) or the full resumé of the consultant (including a client list with phone numbers) whose work will be supported through the grant. If the artist is a member of an adjudicated roster run by another state or regional arts organization, send a copy of the page on which the artist is featured, along with a copy of the roster’s cover page.
  • If your project involves a partnership with another organization (or organizations), please provide letters of intent from these partners. The letters should clearly explain each partner’s role in the project.

Applications should be complete, including all required information and materials. Incomplete applications, defined as applications missing one or more of the above-listed documents, will not be considered for funding and will be returned to the applicant.

For guidance on grant writing, please see Tips for Writing Grant Applications.

Review Criteria

Capacity Building Project Grant applications must show a strong alignment with the applicant’s MWS Growth Planner goals. Applications are reviewed using the following criteria:

1. Project Goals and Outcomes (20 points)

  • The applicant states the main goals that their organization has for the project
  • The applicant describes how they will achieve their goals and measure outcomes

2. Quality of Project Activities and Artistic Excellence (30 points)

  • The application lists the artists and artistic staff involved in the project and their qualifications
  • The main project activities are adequately described with all critical information included, including how the project aligns with the applicant’s MWS Growth Planner

3. Public Participation and Access (30 points)

  • The applicant describes everyone involved in planning and participating in the project
  • The applicant describes how they will publicize the event and their strategies for inclusivity and accessibility

4. Ability to Achieve Goals and Evaluate Success (20 points)

  • The staff or project leaders are described, including their qualifications
  • The project is supported by the community
    Appropriate partnerships with other organizations (when applicable) have been arranged
  • Proper financial controls are in place
  • The plans for promoting and evaluating the project are included
  • For more information on preparing your evaluation, see Evaluating Projects and Programs.

Click here to see the information panelists will use when evaluating and scoring your application.

Supplementary Materials

Supplementary Materials Format

In addition to the above items, you should be prepared to submit supplementary materials through the eGRANT system that will help panelists understand your organization and its programs. Supplementary materials should relate to the proposed project activities and should support the claims made in your narrative. The materials can be referenced in your narrative.

These materials may include:

  • a copy of sample programs, brochures, educational materials, or other promotional materials that relate to the proposed project activities;
  • News clippings that relate to the proposed project activities, such as response to your organization’s past programs or the artist with whom you plan to work
  • letters of support for the project
  • Work samples from artists you are presenting, if the artist is not a member of MAC’s Artist Roster. The samples will allow the review panel to determine the level of quality of the proposed artist(s)

Supplementary Materials File Types

Ineligible File Types: Items uploaded from the following file types will be disregarded in adjudicating applications and may result rejection of an application for being incomplete:

  • Pages (.pages)
  • Numbers (.numbers)
  • Keynote (.key)

Please note, the above programs offer the ability to export to or save as a PDF.

Video & Audio

  • If you share media from your website, link directly to the video/audio rather than the home page.
  • MAC recommends applicants upload using the following file types: MP3, MOV, MP4, WMV, WMA.
  • MAC recommends applicants upload links to video or audio files. Applicants can link to websites such as YouTubeVimeoSoundcloudBandcamp, etc.

Images & Documents

  • MAC recommends applicants upload using the following file types: Word (.doc or .dox), Excel (.xls, .xlr, or .xlsx), PDF (.pdf), or JPEG (.jpeg).
  • You may upload links contained in a Word Document or PDF.

Application Calendar

September 1 – Project Grant application deadline

September 1-30 – Review of applications by the grant panel (the specific panel date will be available by early September. Applicants are allowed to attend panel.) MAC Board approves final funding decision on all applications.

October 1 – Applicants are notified whether their application was funded or not. No information on the grants (including whether or not an applicant will be receiving an award or the amount of the award) will be available from MAC prior to this date.

Grant Payments

Project Grants are paid in two installments:

  • 75% of the grant award will be distributed on or shortly before the start date listed in the application.
    • Please note:
      • If your start date has changed, you must fill out a Grant Change form.
      • First payments will not be made until MAC is in receipt of a properly signed contract and accompanying documents.
      • *Due to the increased probability of cancelled projects due to COVID-19, MAC is requiring a confirmation that the project will take place on the stated start date before the first payment will be issued. If you have received a project grant from MAC this year but have not confirmed your state date, please email to confirm. 
  • 25% of the grant award following receipt and approval of the final report.

Legal Requirements

MAC and its grant recipients are contractually committed to abide by state and federal regulations that bar discrimination based on race, color, national origin, disability, age, or sex and require accessibility for persons with disabilities.

All grant recipients must assure compliance as required by these federal acts:

  • Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, and the Americans with Disabilities Act, which bar discrimination of federally assisted projects based on race, color, sex, religion, national origin, or handicap;
  • The Fair Labor Standards Act, which requires paying professional performers, artists, related and support personnel, laborers, and mechanics at or about the minimum compensation level for persons employed in similar activities;
  • The Drug Free Workplace Act of 1988, which prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, or use of a controlled substance in conducting any federally assisted activity; and
  • Executive Order 12549, which requires certification from the grant applicant that neither it nor its principals are presently debarred, suspended, proposed for debarment, declared ineligible, or voluntarily excluded from participation in any federal program.


Making the arts accessible to all people is a major priority of MAC. One of the conditions grantees accept is that their programs are accessible to people with disabilities. Every organization receiving funding must provide reasonable accommodations when people with disabilities request services. Accessibility involves both the facility and the activity or product of the program. Non-capital expenses to serve people with disabilities may be included in MAC grant requests.

Addressing accessibility as early as possible ensures that people with disabilities will be able to participate in programs. Organizations should conduct an evaluation of all policies, practices and programs to ensure equal access. People with disabilities and organizations representing them should participate in this evaluation process as advisors. The National Endowment for the Arts’ Office for Accessibility provides information about accessibility as it relates to the arts.

For more information on how to improve your organization’s accessibility, visit MAC’s ADA Checklist online or contact MAC’s Accessibility Coordinator at 601-359-6030.

For more information on applying for a Capacity Building Project Grant, contact the Arts Education Director Charlotte Smelser, 601.359.6037, or Director of Grants Lauren Rhoades, 601.359.6035,