Special Request Grant

Posted by Maryland State Arts Council ; Posted on 
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Special Request Grant




Special Request grants provide support for arts activities that fall outside organizations’ regular budgets but align with MSAC’s goals to provide support and build capacity for Maryland’s arts sector.


The purpose of the Special Request grant is to provide support for arts activities that fall outside organizations’ regular budgets but align with MSAC’s goals to provide support and build capacity for Maryland’s arts sector. A primary aim of the program is to bolster stability, innovation, and visionary thinking among organizations supporting the arts.

Description The Special Request program supports three types of arts activities:

  • Innovative projects addressing stated constituent needs
  • Pilot or one-time projects
  • Capacity-building efforts

Innovative projects are locally-led, mission-specific efforts in which an organization provides arts experiences or resources that address the stated needs of a particular group. The innovative aspects of such projects should represent a departure from the applicant organization’s regular activities. A framework for imagining such innovation is MSAC’s Grantmaking Approach, which is available for review at https://msac.org/about.

Pilot or one-time projects are efforts in which an organization attempts to reach a new goal that is relevant to its mission but not yet part of its regular activities. Such projects should be accessible by the public but otherwise may be undertaken in a spirit of creativity and experimentation. Based on the outcome of such projects, applicants may choose to incorporate them into ongoing, regular activities. Applicants are eligible to apply for Special Request funds supporting as many as three consecutive years for the same pilot or one-time project, although an initial award does not guarantee funding in subsequent years.

Capacity-building efforts are organized initiatives that support an organization’s long-term stability, visibility, or effectiveness. Such efforts are geared toward internal improvement and may or may not be immediately accessible by the public (e.g., consultancies, needs assessments, staff searches, etc.). The outcome of capacity-building efforts is improvement in the applicant’s ability to deliver on its mission.

The eclectic nature of Special Request support is due to MSAC’s practice of regularly engaging constituents to identify common needs in the arts sector. The Special Request program is an attempt to address such needs in a comprehensive, transparent way.

Grant Cycle


Grants are between $2,000 and $50,000, and the amount is determined based on applicant requests. Projects will be funded at the total requested amount or not at all. Partial fulfillment of applicant 7 requests will not be considered. Grants may fund the entirety or a portion of an applicant’s proposed activity.

The budget for the Special Request program comprises unused funds from other areas of MSAC’s annual budget, including grants and administration. The Special Request budget might therefore change from year to year, or even within a single year, based on the availability of other funds.

Support Period

Special Request grants fund activities taking place in the same MSAC fiscal year (FY) in which they were awarded. MSAC’s fiscal year 2023 runs from July 1, 2022, to June 30, 2023.

If all grants funds are not completely expended by the close of the fiscal year in which they were awarded, the grantee must explain how the remaining funds have been obligated (i.e., budgeted) to remain in compliance.


  • Applications
    • Application publication: February 10
    • Application deadline, March: March 1
    • Application deadline, April: April 1
    • Application deadline, May: May 1
  • Application strategy webinar
    • Webinar: February 27
  • Review of applications
    • March: March 2-16
    • April: April 2-17
    • May: May 2-16
  • Applicant notification
    • Between the 16th and last day of each month
  • Final reports
    • Forms and instructions available upon grant award
    • Reports due August 15, 2023

Visit https://www.msac.org/sites/default/files/2023-02/FY23%20Special%20Request%20grant%20guidelines.pdf for more information.

Website: https://www.msac.org/programs/special-requests/special-request-grant

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