Frequently Asked Questions

For top-level questions about the Opportunity Fund –its mission, eligibility, timeline and review criteria — please return to the Opportunity Fund main page HERE.

 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS – UPDATED: 3/12/24

The questions below were developed from questions received from prospective Opportunity Fund applicants.

Where can I find a copy of the full Arts and Culture Plan that shows all of the plans Priorities and Strategies (not just the ones applicable to the Opportunity Fund)?

A copy of the Arts and Culture Plan can be found on the LOI Guidelines page and here.

Who will review my application? 

In conjunction with Priya Sircar, the city’s arts and culture officer, Charlotte Is Creative will review letters of intent for eligibility. Applicants that meet the eligibility requirements and whose projects align with the guidelines of the Opportunity Fund will be invited to submit a full proposal with a final project budget using a provided form.

With city staff oversight, Charlotte Is Creative will manage a selection process involving  review panels comprised of community members to review eligible applications.

The panels will recommend vetted proposals to the full Arts and Culture Advisory Board. The full Arts and Culture Advisory Board will consider the recommendations and vote to award any grants.

What else can I do to make my application stronger?

Glad you asked! We are excited to welcome two grant writing experts, Scribe and Absolute Impact Consulting, who will provide group assistance to applicants in crafting effective applications and developing project budgets. These experts will cater to both individual applicants and non-profit applicants.

The grant coaching sessions will take place in-person and virtually. To register for the March 20 & 23 Info Sessions with Grant Experts, click here.

Individual grant coaching sessions will be available for projects approved to complete full proposal. Instructions on how to sign up for one-on-one coaching calls will be provided if you advance to Phase 2.

When can applicants expect to receive notifications about the final decisions?

Applicants will be notified about the final award decisions by the end of June 2024.

Is there a restricted amount that can be requested by applicants previously supported from the Infusion Fund?

No. Applicants previously supported from the Infusion Fund can request up to $40,000.

Will there be another opportunity after June 30, 2025, for projects to apply for an Opportunity Fund grant? 

The Infusion Fund ends June 30, 2024. At this time, we do not know if the Opportunity Fund grants will continue. 

Is there a word limit for the LOI? 

There are two essay questions in the LOI, and each has a 300-word limit. 

I have two project ideas, but they are each different artistic mediums/disciplines. Can I combine them into one grant proposal?

It is recommended that you choose one project and apply with the one that best fits the eligibility criteria for this fund.

If you have applied for an ASC Cultural Vision grant (or other ASC grant), can you also ask for money from the Opportunity Fund to help satisfy matching fund requirements? 

Yes, but please ensure the timing of the project matches the eligibility criteria of the Opportunity Fund. 

If an organization is primarily a direct service organization that provides art workshops for youth, are they eligible? 

Yes.

Is this limited to a singular event or can it be a series of events as long as it’s within the eligible time frame?

The proposed project, program or initiative doesn’t have to be a singular event. It can be a series of activities, as long as it occurs between July 1, 2024 – June 30, 2025.

NOTE: Grant funds cannot support an organization or individual’s regular programming, as this grant is for new activities or an expansion of a current project/program/initiative, i.e. the grant could fund a new feature of an existing project, program, or initiative.

Are you eligible if the project starts before June 30th? 

No. Projects must start after June 30, 2024.

Could a non-profit get funds for two (or more) projects each up to $40,000?

No. Only one application per applicant/organization will be accepted.

If you receive an Opportunity Fund grant, will it have implications for or impact on any operating grant you might receive?

There are no future operating grants planned through the Infusion Fund, which ends June 30, 2024. We cannot speak to whether other operating support from funders separate from the Infusion Fund will consider an Opportunity Fund grant in their grantmaking eligibility.

If your fiscal sponsor is also applying for an Opportunity Fund grant, can they still be your fiscal sponsor? 

Yes.

Does my fiscal sponsor need to be secured during the LOI phase, or just by the time I submit my full proposal?  

Your fiscal sponsor or agent does not need to be secured yet in order to submit an LOI. Your fiscal sponsor needs to be in place and listed on your full proposal. 

If our project is part of a larger project, do we just focus on our piece in the LOI, or should we also discuss the larger project?

Due to the word limit, focus mostly on the part of the project the Opportunity Fund would fund. If you have space, you can provide some context by mentioning how it fits into the larger project. 

Can the grant cover the full cost of the project?

Yes.

Can an applicant apply for the grant if they live outside of Mecklenburg County, but the project will take place in Mecklenburg County?

No, the person or organization/group applying for the grant must be located in Mecklenburg County. The project must be conducted wholly or mostly in Mecklenburg County or benefit Charlotte-Mecklenburg communities or artists. 

Is there a matching funds requirement for this grant? 

No.

In past Opportunity Fund rounds, organizations that are supported by the Infusion Fund were required to have a collaborator. Is that the case this time? Will an Infusion Fund-supported large organization have a competitive proposal without a collaboration?

Collaboration is not a requirement, but it is highly encouraged. It depends on what is right for the project.

Can we submit multiple proposals for multiple projects? 

No. Only one application per applicant.

Can we use the money to become a 501c3?

No, because that is an operating expense and operating expenses are not eligible for support through the Opportunity Fund. 

Is a grant recipient still permitted to accept physical donations? Examples: Art supplies for the program.

Yes. If you are invited to submit a full proposal, we will ask you to reflect where you are getting revenue and that revenue can also include in-kind donations. 

If an arts organization plans to give a performance in a non-traditional privately-owned space (like a brewery), would that qualify?

Yes.

Can a House of Faith apply for funding?

Yes. Only if it’s a 501c3. If not, they can apply with a fiscal sponsor. Or, they may be eligible if applying with a collaborator.

Does bringing national and international diverse work for creation and exhibition/presentation to the Charlotte community qualify?

The emphasis of the Opportunity Fund is on benefiting the local community. That doesn’t mean there can’t be an outside collaborator. But, if the motivation is simply to bring in an outside artist/collaborator, that is not the kind of project that has been previously funded. 

With the LOI only requiring narrative responses, is it advisable to reference “Letters of Support available from partners” since you cannot upload those during the initial step in the application process?

You can mention you have them, but you will be required to upload your letters if you are invited to submit a full proposal.

If me/my organization is the lead applicant on one application, may I still be listed as a collaborator on others?

Yes.

The full proposal questions are similar to those on the LOI form. Should we make changes for the proposal if we wrote 350 words at LOI?

The Full proposal allows you to expand on your LOI answers if you need to do so. Explaining your idea clearly to make sure the reviewers understand what you are planning to do and how it advances the priorities and strategies of the Arts & Culture Plan is advised.

Does every member of a collaboration be a resident of Mecklenburg county?

No, but the lead applicant submitting the application must be a resident of Mecklenburg County.

Can we meet with the grant writer to discuss our application before we get accepted for the full proposal?

No. Once you are accepted for a full proposal, you will receive a link to sign up with a grant writer.

Contact Opportunity Fund Staff

For any questions about Opportunity Fund eligibility or the LOI application, please email: OppFundSubmissions@charlotteiscreative.com.

Charlotte Is Creative is the City of Charlotte’s administrative partner in managing the application process and review panels for the 2024 Opportunity Fund.