Grants & Programs

Policies & Priorities

In the review of any application submitted to the Council for funding, the policies and priorities listed below are taken into consideration. Please note each IACA program has specific evaluation criteria and matching fund requirements.


  • Each applicant organization must be registered as a not-for-profit corporation in good standing with the Office of the Illinois Secretary of State. Units of government, institutions of higher education, and national/regional service organizations approved by the Illinois Arts Council Agency are also eligible to apply.
  • Each applicant organization must hold tax-exempt status from federal income tax under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and must qualify as a charitable organization under Section 170(c) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as amended.  Units of government, institutions of higher education, or Federally-recognized Indian tribal governments are also eligible to apply.
  • Each applicant organization must have a Federal Employer Identification Number (FEIN), assigned by the Internal Revenue Service.
  • Each applicant organization must be registered with and have a UEI (commercial and government entity code).
  • Unincorporated organizations and individuals may not apply to the IACA through a fiscal agent.
  • Applicant organizations must have been in active service to the public for at least a year prior to the date of application.
  • While the Council recognizes the need of arts organizations for financial support, grant funds from the Council should be considered supplemental. No guarantee can be made for support for more than one year.
  • Organizations that receive support from other government sources are eligible to apply for Council funds for arts projects.
  • Recognizing the importance of sound management practices in the arts, the Council maintains that an operating surplus realized by an organization in one fiscal year will not result in a reduction of grant funds.
  • The Council is supportive of those programs of artistic quality that reach special audiences comprised of citizens who are not regularly served by the arts. These include, but are not limited to, individuals with disabilities, institutionalized persons, older individuals, and lower income groups.
  • The Council recognizes the importance of maintaining Illinois’ rich heritage and supports the diverse art forms of all ethnic and racial groups.
  • Acknowledging that access to the arts is vital to all Illinois residents, the Council strives to support programs of artistic quality that will serve small and rural communities.
  • The Council recognizes that increasing public understanding of and demand for the arts through comprehensive arts education at all age levels is one way to create support for the arts. While the Council will continue to assist with arts activities that complement the school curriculum through such activities as the IACA’s Arts-in-Education Program, the major responsibility for arts education lies with educational institutions. Schools, colleges, and supporting local and state departments of education are primarily responsible for arts education.
  • The Council supports college and university arts programs if they benefit and are accessible to the general public. Those events which are normally considered a part of regular or academic programs will not be funded.
  • The Council will not support subsidizing an individual’s academic study.
  • The Council supports those programs that emphasize the professional presentation and production of the arts. Generally, the Council will not directly support the touring or sponsorship of non-professional groups within this policy. The Council recognizes the social contributions that can be the result of arts experiences.
  • The Council will not support out-of-state touring.
  • Council funds may not be used for capital improvements, construction, or for the purchase of permanent equipment.
  • Council funds may not be used to pay the balance of an organization’s previous year’s operating deficit.
  • With the exception of state colleges/ universities, which are required to match IACA funds from outside sources beyond staff time and overhead provided by the college and/or university, state agencies and their affiliates are ineligible to receive funds from the IACA. State agencies are those entities defined by the Office of the Comptroller in Procedure 27.50.10, pp3 to 60 of the SAMS manual.
  • Council funds may not be used for artistic programs at functions where the artists are not the primary focus.
  • The Council will not support fundraisers, benefits, receptions, or other social functions.


  • The Council recognizes the crucial role our state’s artists and arts organizations play in society. Priority is therefore given to those programs involving Illinois artists and arts organizations. While the Council considers its primary responsibility to support Illinois arts organizations and artists, this does not exclude the use of out-of-state resources capable of providing services or programs determined to be unavailable within the state or to supplement those already available.
  • Priority will be given to those programs that provide economic opportunities for Illinois artists.
  • Generally, priority will be given to those programs for which substantial funds have been raised from other sources.
  • Priority will be given to those programs that affect more artists and larger audiences within a specific community.
  • Priority will be given to those organizations that have demonstrated a history of sound management practices.

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