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General Operating Support and Youth Employment in the Arts

General Information

General Operating Support (GOS) Grants are offered to established not-for-profit organizations that provide arts programming to their defined communities in a manner that supports the mission of the organization. Successful applicants demonstrate ongoing arts programs, strong operations, stable management, and a strong commitment to making artistic programs accessible and relevant to a diverse range of participants.

The Youth Employment in the Arts (YEA) Grants provide up to $4,500 to General Operating Support recipients to support youth employment opportunities in their organization through the year. Youth Employees may be between the ages of 14 to 22. Organizations may request funds for up to 4 Youth Employees. Duties may be administrative or artistic in nature, or a combination of both.

Please note that the GOS & YEA application has been redesigned to simplify the process. Please carefully review the FY25 GOS & YEA Guidelines before completing the application.

GOS & YEA opens on May 30, 2024.  

Eligibility Requirements

All applicants must apply using a registered Salesforce account and include proof of eligibility at the time of application.

Educational/Organizational applicants must serve as one the following:

  • A registered 501(c)(3) Not-For-Profit Organization in good standing with the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State
  • Branch of Government (e.g., Municipal, County, Libraries, Park Districts, etc.)
  • Charitable Trust 
  • Institutions of higher education and Religious Organizations  
  • PTOs, PTAs and other School Affiliate Organizations

Organizational applicants must:

  • Have a valid FEIN and UEI number
  • Be pre-qualified in the state’s GATA system

Application Tips & Tools

  • The GOS & YEA application has been redesigned to simplify the process. Please review the FY25 GOS & YEA Guidelines carefully before completing the application.
  • Use Chrome as your browser when working in Salesforce.
  • Once logged into Salesforce complete updates to the Applicant Information tab first. This includes uploading the Accessibility Worksheet.
  • If applying for YEA be prepared to complete the requested application fields when starting the GOS & YEA application. See page 16 of the Guidelines.      
  • Questions? Join the Webinar (or watch the recording), participate in one of the Drop-ins, join an Information Session in your region, or contact your Program Director. 

Review Criteria

GOS Criteria

  • Application Completeness
  • Arts Activities Clearly Serve Mission
  • Eligible to Receive Funds from the State of Illinois

Grant amounts may increase based on successful evidence of commitment to inclusivity and access for the following historically under-resourced communities: rural, high poverty, BIPOC (Black, indigenous, and/or people of color), and disability.

YEA Criteria

  • Application is Complete
  • Appropriate Supervision
  • Responsibilities are Meaningful

Webinars, Drop-ins, and In-Person Sessions

We have several opportunities for you to connect with IAC Programs staff for questions on the GOS & YEA Grant. 


  • GOS & YEA Application Webinar 
    During the GOS & YEA webinar, IAC staff discuss application tips and best practices including how to use the agency’s online Salesforce grant platform.  

A Webinar Recording is now available


  • Drop-in sessions are one-hour sessions that have no agenda. Participants may ask questions of the participating Programs staff and get answers in real time. Pre-registration is not available.

To join click on the link at the meeting time:

Drop-in #1: Tuesday, June 18, 2024 at 10:00am
Drop-in #2: Wednesday, June 26, 2024 at 6:00pm
Drop-in #3: Monday, July 1, 2024 at noon
Drop-in #4: Thursday, July 11, 2024 at 3:00pm
Drop-in #5: Tuesday, July 16,2024 at 1:00pm


  • In-Person Informational Sessions with Q & A 
    Program Directors will also be visiting their statewide regions to host in-person Informational Sessions about GOS & YEA and IAC’s other FY25 grant opportunities. Registration for these sessions is recommended.  Please visit the Workshops & Webinars page for details.


How do I request a specific grant amount?

GOS: Applicants do not request a specific grant amount. Awards are determined by a funding formula.

YEA: Complete the budget form included with the YEA application questions to request up to $4,500. 

When can I get my money?

IAC does not issue checks directly. IAC vouchers payment authorizations through the state comptroller’s office. Grantees may check the state comptroller’s website for updates on their grant payments. Additionally, if an applicant has received a payment from the state within the past 12 months, they may call the state comptroller at (217) 557-0930 to request direct deposit. 

I did not submit my application on time, can I still apply?

IAC is unable to accept late application submissions. 

How much should the organization pay the Youth Employees?

At minimum the stipend offered must meet Illinois minimum wage and grant recipients must comply with Illinois state employment laws.