Montana Arts Council

Grant Resources

MAC's Grantwriting Handbook

Click here to view our grantwriting handbook in PDF form.

Grant Writing

  • What exactly do I plan to do: what, with whom, for whom, by when? This tangibly summarizes your planning in terms that people unfamiliar with your idea will understand.

  • How exactly will I spend this money if I get it? You’ll express this in a budget.

  • What exactly will be different, and for whom, if the grant is successful? Your answer to this question will anticipate your evaluation process.

Every grant has strings, whether it’s from the public sector, the corporate sector, an individual donor, or a foundation. Government makes funds available to benefit society.

  • Your project or organization is available to all people, regardless of income, race, gender, or age group;

  • Your work is planned, as much as possible, with the people you hope to affect, as opposed to merely being planned for them;

  • Your organization is governed by people who represent the community’s many interests or populations;

  • Your work might benefit the local economy; or

  • Your work might change community life for the better?

So your proposal should articulate the public good that will result if you are funded.

How to Apply for Grants Administered by the Montana Arts Council

For details on applying for grants adminstered by the Montana Arts Council, refer to our current grant application handbook. It's got all the info needed to write applications which include only relevant information, which will save time and effort when you're applying.

Montana Arts Council Grant Application Handbook 2022

Do you know your community, the audience, or the population that you’re trying to reach?

While there may be some grants that are awarded through a noncompetitive funding formula, most public funding is quite competitive. It’s easy to feel that as a taxpayer, you deserve to have those dollars to come back to you! Public funding agencies have to spread funds as widely as possible, and reward excellent works with funds enough to carry them out.

Excellence is rewarded, but the human beings reviewing proposals have personal aesthetic ideas, as well. A proposal that wasn't’t funded by one year’s reviewers may be funded by the next.

Contact the Funding Agency

First, request guidelines and other information.

Second, call the funder's grants program staff. 

  • To VERIFY that your work or idea fits the guidelines, and that your proposal is feasible.

  • To CLARIFY what the guideline language means.

  • The third objective in calling the staff is to UNDERSTAND THE REVIEW PROCESS.


  • List every cost, also referred to as expense, whether or not you will pay cash for it. Total these costs. Call this total "X."

  • Mark those costs that you can cover with donations. For instance, a school district, which usually charges for the use of the high school auditorium, will provide the use of the auditorium free. That’s a donation. Or maybe the newspaper will give you 50% off on advertising so half of your advertising budget is a donation. Estimate time at “fair market value.” A good general rate for artist services is $25/hour. Total these figures and call them "Y." Or call them by their grant writing name – "in-kind donations."

  • Brainstorm every likely source of income. A good rule is "Diversify!" It’s good to have a number of different sources. And it’s also good if at least some of the income is coming directly from you or your organization – otherwise it suggests that you aren’t really committed to your work. Make sure you understand the “match” required.

Think about potential income sources: a fundraiser, ticket sales, the surplus from last year’s budget, an extra membership drive, the sale of advertising, another grant, or even a wealthy donor. Total these and call them "Z."

  • Compute! From your costs X, subtract the in-kind donations Y. From this new total, subtract the cash income Z. What is left over? That is how much you still need.

  • Transfer your budget to the agency’s forms. They may have pre- determined categories but now you can easily fit your figures into these

Providing Supporting Evidence

  • Make sure that everything crucial is in the text or narrative of the proposal: use the attachments to enhance your assertions. Remember the "Show Me With Specifics" rule. If you said that you’re collaborating with the school district, enclose a letter from the Superintendent verifying this.

  • Show the reviewers your art and your vision, with a website link, DVD or CD. Make sure you show the best possible moment – hit ‘em hard from the beginning with the art, not with introductory remarks, dead space, audience coughing, or applause.


  • A few days before the grant deadline, do a final check of your proposal. Run a spell check on your document. Typos may suggest – even subliminally – that you’re a sloppy manager, not to be trusted with public funds. Handwritten applications are hard to read.

  • Read the guidelines one more time to make sure you’ve addressed everything that was required, formatted it correctly, and made enough copies.

  • Make sure that all of your numbers agree, and add the figures in the budget one more time.

  • Ask an outsider to read what you’ve written. Try the local school district’s grant writer or a newspaper editor. Supply them with the review criteria and ask them to objectively score the proposal as though they were on the panel. Make your corrections accordingly.

 Submitting On Time

  • Submit your application at least one day before the deadline. If you run into technical difficulties during submission, this will give the organization’s staff to help you resolve them.

  • And if you’re allowed to go to the review meeting, put the date on your calendar and plan to attend. That’s the best feedback of all – even if you can’t participate in the meeting.

Notes from University of Massachusetts grant writing workshop and Kristin Han Burgoyne, Montana Arts Council’s Grant Director.

Grantwriting Links

Basic Elements of Grantwriting

The Corporation for Public Broadcasting evaluates hundreds of proposals each year for a variety of funding purposes. This publication is an easy guide to the basic elements of grant writing and is offered to assist applicants to CPB and to other funding sources. It offers guideposts to help you through each stage of the process. These guideposts are transferable to a variety of grant applications. However, we encourage you to carefully read the guidelines written for each grant you select. Successful grant writing involves the coordination of several activities, including planning, searching for data and resources, writing and packaging a proposal, submitting a proposal to a funder, and follow-up. Here are some steps that will help.

Proposal Writing: Short Course

The Foundation Center’s guide to successful proposal writing. This is especially useful in connecting the project narrative and financials.

The Foundation Center

Learn to write winning proposals. Get quick answers to your questions. Explore e-learning opportunities.

National Assembly of State Art Agencies

NASAA, National Assembly of State Art Agencies is made up of state arts agencies.

National Endowment for the Arts

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a grantmaking agency supporting America's visual, literary, design, performing arts and community arts.

For Individuals: Resume and Employment Guide for People With Disabilities

According to the Social Security Administration, there are over 8 million disabled workers in the United States. These workers often face challenges such as stereotyping, discrimination, and a lack of accomodations. Thankfully, there are a variety of legal protections and employment resources available that help people with disabilities overcome these challenges and advance their careers.

For Individuals: Mental Health Disability Rights in The Workplace: A Guide For Employees

Struggling with your mental health can make it difficult to function on a daily basis and handle every-day activities, including employment. Mental health disorders can affect one’s ability to work as expected in a variety of ways, and these struggles are often misunderstood. However, this doesn’t mean that there aren’t any options. This article is intended to help guide you through your rights and provide education on the challenges that may arise from struggling with mental health at work.

For Individuals: Alliance of Artists Communities

The Alliance of Artists Communities is a national and international association of artists' communities and residencies — a diverse field of more than 1,500 programs worldwide that support artists of any discipline in the development of new creative work.

For Organizations and Communities: ArtPlace America

ArtPlace America (ArtPlace) is a ten-year collaboration among a number of foundations, federal agencies, and financial institutions that works to position arts and culture as a core sector of comprehensive community planning and development in order to help strengthen the social, physical, and economic fabric of communities.

For Organizations and Communities: Bank of America Charitable Foundation

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation offers grants and sponsorships to arts organizations, and also three innovative programs, Art Conservation Project, Art in Our Communities® and Museums on Us®.

For Organizations and Communities: Billings Cultural Partners

A partnership through which arts, cultural and historic organizations address cooperation and funding opportunities.

For Organizations and Communities: B.W. Bastian Foundation

The B.W. Bastian Foundation strives to build community and understanding by supporting local and national institutions. Financial support is directed to the Arts through educational outreach.

For Organizations and Communities: Classics for Kids Foundation

The mission of the Classics for Kids Foundation is to empower young people to shape positive futures through music, build sustainable stringed instrument music programs, and provide grants for high quality instruments.

For Organizations and Communities: Costco Wholesale Corporate Contributions Program

This program supports nonprofit organizations in company-operating communities. Grants and product donations are provided to nonprofit organizations and educational institutions that address children's issues, education, and health and human services. Donation and grant eligibility guidelines are available on Costco’s website.

For Individuals: Craft Emergency Relief Fund

The Craft Emergency Relief Fund gives direct financial and educational assistance to craft artists, including emergency relief assistance, business development support, and resources and referrals on topics such as health, safety, and insurance.

For Individuals: Creative Capital Foundation

Creative Capital Foundation supports artists pursuing innovative approaches to form and content in the arts.

For Individuals: Creative Writing Fellowships

The NEA Literature Fellowships program offers $25,000 grants in prose (fiction and creative nonfiction) and poetry to published creative writers that enable the recipients to set aside time for writing, research, travel, and general career advancement.

For Organizations and Communities: Department of Commerce

Tourism Special Events Grant Program (SEGP)
Tourism Infrastructure Investment Program Grants (TIIP)

For Individuals: Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation

The Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation supports contemporary visual artists through its Marketplace Empowerment for Artists and Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award programs for curators.

For Organizations and Communities: First Interstate Bank

The First Interstate Foundation grants in two main areas: Community Development and Leadership Grants.

For Individuals: First Peoples Fund

Founded in 1995, First Peoples Fund's mission is to honor and support the creative community-centered First Peoples artists.

For Organizations: Ford Motor Company Fund

Since they began our operations in 1949, they have invested nearly $1.5 billion in civic organizations around the world to help drive a brighter future.

For Individuals: Fund for Women Artists

Offers financial and other resources to women in theatre, film and video.

For Organizations and Communities: Fundsnet Online Services

A comprehensive website dedicated to providing nonprofit organizations, colleges, and universities with information on financial resources available on the Internet. Includes an extensive list of arts funders.

For Organizations and Communities: Gannett Foundation: Community Action Grant Program

The Gannett Foundation provides support to nonprofit organizations that serve the communities where Gannett Co., Inc., owns a newspaper or broadcast station. The Foundation’s Community Action Grant Program’s priorities include education and neighborhood improvement, economic development, youth development, community problem-solving, assistance to disadvantaged people, environmental conservation, and cultural enrichment.

For Individuals, Organizations and Communities: Getty Education Institution for the Arts

The Getty Education Institute for the Arts provides grants for arts education.

For Organizations: Gilhousen Family Foundation

Giving to support spiritual life, education, community-based projects, and cultural programs in and around Bozeman, Montana. On the broader level, funding for projects that allow people to more actively participate in society through access to spiritual development, education, and health care.

For Individuals: Gottlieb Foundation

Offers grants to individual visual artists through two programs: an annual Individual Support Grant and a separate program to assist visual artists in cases of catastrophic events through an Emergency Grant program.

For Individuals: Harpo Foundation

The Harpo Foundation was established in 2006 to support artists who are under recognized by the field. The foundation seeks to stimulate creative inquiry to encourage new modes of thinking about art. We view the definitions of art and artist to be open-ended and expansive.

For Organizations and Communities: Heineman Foundation

The purpose of the Foundation is to provide seed money to start-up projects and new projects within existing organizations for a maximum of three to five years.

For Individuals, Organizations and Communities: High Stakes Foundation

Funds transformational ideas that promote equality, climate change solutions, economic development, local agriculture, sustainable communities, ecosystem preservation and leadership.

For Individuals, Organizations and Communities: Humanities Montana

Humanities Montana provides grants, public conferences, lectures, workshops, exhibits, a statewide speaker's bureau, reading/discussion groups, and makes available an extensive media collection, and a variety of publications.

For Individuals: Jazz Masters Fellowship

The NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship is the highest honor that our nation bestows on jazz artists.

For Organizations: Knight Foundation

Supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts.

For Organizations and Communities: Kresge Foundation

The Kresge Foundation Arts and Culture Program’s holistic approach of creative placemaking aims to support and assist community revitalization efforts through the integration of arts and culture.

For Organizations and Communities: Lannan Foundation

Dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects which support exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities, the Foundation offers support to long-term special projects in the areas of contemporary visual art, literature, indigenous communities, and issues of cultural freedom.

For Organizations: Lois Lenski Covey Foundation

The Lois Lenski Covey Foundation is dedicated to fostering a love of reading among undeserved children and youth. The Foundation provides grants for the purchase of books published for young people preschool through grade 8.

For Individuals: Longhouse Education and Cultural Center at Evergreen

The primary public service work of the Longhouse at Evergreen State College, Olympia, WA., is to promote indigenous arts and culture.Their website provides information on grant programs and other resources for native artists.

For Organizations and Communities: LOR Foundation

The LOR Foundation supports livability and quality of life by improving access to nature, recreation, clean water, transportation options, cultural experiences, and economic stability.  They partner with rural communities in Montana, Idaho, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico to protect the character of their towns and the landscapes that surround them.

For Organizations and Communities: Lowe's Toolbox for Education Grant Program

The Toolbox for Education Grant Program, offered by Lowe’s Charitable and Educational Foundation, provides grants of $2,000 to $5,000 to public K-12 schools, as well as school parent-teacher groups associated with public schools, throughout the United States that develop projects to encourage parent involvement and build stronger community spirit.

For Individuals, Organizations and Communities: John D. Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation is a grantmaking institution dedicated to helping groups and individuals foster lasting improvement in the human condition.

For Individuals: MAP Fund (Multi-Arts Production Fund)

The MAP Fund is founded on the principle that exploration drives human progress, no less in art than in science or medicine. MAP supports live performance projects that embody a spirit of deep inquiry.

For Organizations and Communities: Charlotte Martin Foundation

The Charlotte Martin Foundation is dedicated to enriching the lives of youth in the areas of athletics, culture, and education and also to preserving and protecting wildlife and habitat.

For Organizations and Communities: Jerry Metcalf Foundation

The Jerry Metcalf Foundation awards grants in the areas of the arts, historical research and preservation, and education, to individuals and groups who are working to enhance Montana's diverse communities.

For Individuals: MetLife Foundation

MetLife was founded on a simple, powerful insight: Everyone needs access to the right financial tools to pursue more from life.

For Organizations and Communities: Montana Community Foundation

The Montana Community Foundation is a resource to many non-profit Montana art organizations.

For Organizations and Communities: Montana History Foundation

The Montana History Foundation is an independent, non-profit corporation that provides development and advisory leadership for organizations dedicated to the preservation of Montana’s history and culture.

For Individuals: Musicians Foundation, Inc.

The Foundation provides financial assistance to musicians who need help in meeting current living, medical and allied expenses.

For Individuals, Organizations and Communities: National Endowment for the Humanities

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) supports learning in history, literature, philosophy. Provides grants in research, education, museum exhibitions, documentaries, and preservation.

For Organizations and Communities: National Institute on Out-of-School Time

A model program that works to create systemic community-based change to improve the quality and availability of programming for children and youth in Boston, Chicago, and Seattle during non-school hours.

For Individuals: National YoungArts Foundation

The National YoungArts Foundation identifies and nurtures the most accomplished young artists in the visual, literary, design and performing arts and assists them at critical junctures in their educational and professional development. YoungArts aspires to create a community of alumni that provides a lifetime of encouragement, opportunity and support.

For Individuals, Organizations and Communities: Native Arts and Cultures Foundation

The Native Arts and Cultures Foundation (NACF) is a Native-led, 501 (c) 3 philanthropic organization dedicated exclusively to the perpetuation of American Indian, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian arts and cultures nationwide.

For Individuals: Native Arts at NEFA

Fueled by a commitment to increase the visibility, self-determination, and sustainability of Native artists and art forms, Native Arts at NEFA supports Native artists and organizations through grants, technical assistance, and network development.

For Organizations: Newman’s Own Foundation

Newman’s Own Foundation has a proactive strategy to identify organizations that fit funding criteria and meet their four specific Focus Area goals. All grant inquiries and applications for funding are by invitation only. Regretfully, the Foundation is unable to respond to unsolicited requests.

For Individuals and Organizations: New Music USA

New Music USA are passionate advocates for new music focused on what brings the community together in the first place: the music. Their approach to advocacy includes providing over $1 million each year in grant support for the creation and performance of new work and community building throughout the country.

For Individuals: The Online College Guide for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Students

A resource for navigating higher education challenges for deaf and hard-of-hearing students.

For Individuals: Pollock-Krasner Foundation

The Foundation welcomes, throughout the year, applications from visual artists who are painters, sculptors and artists who work on paper, including printmakers.

For Organizations: Preserve America

Preserve America provides matching grants to support community efforts to demonstrate sustainable uses of their historic and cultural sites, focusing on economic and educational opportunities related to heritage tourism.

For Individuals, Organizations and Communities: Puffin Foundation

The Puffin Foundation provides grants to artists who are often excluded from mainstream opportunities due to their race, gender, or social philosophy, in the fields of fine arts, film and video, music, photography, theater, and public interest. The Foundation particularly supports creative and innovative initiatives that will advance progressive social change.

For Organizations and Communities: Sparkplug

The Sparkplug Foundation supports nonprofit organizations that are proposing start-up projects in the fields of music, education, and grassroots organizing. In the Music category, the Foundation supports emerging professional musicians or music-development programs. In Education and Teaching, the Foundation funds projects that deal with "the whole student" and with learning as a community activity.

For Organizations: Starbucks Foundation

The Starbucks Foundation was created as part of their commitment to strengthen communities.

For Organizations and Communities: Steele-Reese Foundation

The Steele-Reese Foundation is a charitable trust committed to supporting rural communities and the nonprofit organizations that serve them in Idaho, Montana, and Appalachian Kentucky, and focuses on the unique challenges of rural living and on helping people build healthy, successful, and sustainable communities.

For Individuals: Sundance Institute Documentary Fund

The Sundance Documentary Film Program supports non-fiction filmmakers worldwide in the production of cinematic documentaries on contemporary themes.

For Organizations and Communities: Surdna Foundation Thriving Cultures

Surdna Foundation’s Thriving Cultures program is based on a belief that communities with robust arts and culture are more cohesive and prosperous, and benefit from the diversity of their residents, and seeks to create just and sustainable communities in four ways: Teens' Artistic and Cultural Advancement, Community Engaged Design, Artists and Economic Development, and Artists Engaging in Social Change.

For Organizations: Target Field Trip Grants

Target Field Trip Grants were launched because some of the best learning opportunities happen outside the classroom. Once-in-a-lifetime learning experiences through field trips they'll never forget are made possible with grants awarded to K-12 schools nationwide; each grant is valued up to $700.

For Individuals: Tippet Rise

Tippet Rise hosts classical chamber music and recitals and exhibits large-scale, outdoor sculptures, celebrating the concept that art, music, architecture, and nature are inextricably linked in the human experience, each making the others more powerful.

For Organizations and Communities: Tourism Cares

Tourism Cares is a nonprofit charity that administers the Worldwide Grant Program in support of worthy, tourism-related nonprofit organizations that are working to preserve, conserve, and restore the world's natural, cultural, and historic treasures.

For Organizations: Town Pump Charitable Foundation

The Town Pump Charitable Foundation provides financial support to Montana charitable or governmental organizations with a priority of supporting/meeting basic needs and education for Montana citizens.

For Organizations and Communities: Treacy Foundation

The Treacy Foundation supports nonprofit organizations in Montana by awarding financial grants and providing financial assistance through scholarships to students pursuing higher education.

For Individuals: Upstart Co-Lab

Upstart Co-Lab aims to increase opportunities for artists as innovators, catalyze more capital for creativity, and enable to support themselves sustainably.

For Organizations and Communities: U.S. Bank

U.S. Bank’s giving program funds economic development issues tied to work, home, and play that provide the most meaningful impact in local communities.

For Individuals: Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation

The Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation supports a broad spectrum of worthy causes benefiting economically and socially disadvantaged individuals and families, at-risk youth, and those with special needs.

For Organizations and Communities: Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts’ grant making activity is focused on serving the needs of artists by funding the institutions that support them, and are made for scholarly exhibitions at museums, curatorial research, visual arts programming at artist-centered organizations, artist residencies and commissions, arts writing, and efforts to promote the health, welfare and first amendment rights of artists.  

For Individuals: WESTAF

The Western States Arts Federation (WESTAF) currently administers two grant programs: Independent Music on Tour (IMTour™), for tour-ready independent musicians, and TourWest, a competitive program that provides subsidies to arts and community organizations for the presentation of out-of-state touring performers and literary artists in AK, AZ, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, UT, WA, & WY.

For Organizations: Weyerhaeuser

Weyerhaeuser awards grants throughout their operating area to non-profit organizations that creatively deliver quality arts and performance programs.



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