How does the WESTAF CARES Relief Fund for Organizations differ from the other CARES Act funding opportunities either directly from the National Endowment for the Arts or my state arts agency?
  • In April 2020, the National Endowment for the Arts received a $75 million appropriation through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to preserve jobs and help support organizations forced to close operations due to the spread of COVID-19. The Arts Endowment awarded 40 percent of the funds directly to state and regional arts agencies to distribute through their funding programs. Sixty percent of the funds are designated for direct grants from the Arts Endowment to nonprofit arts organizations all across the United States.
  • As one of the nation’s six regional arts organizations, the WESTAF CARES Relief Fund for Organizations is the grant program designed specifically for arts and culture organizations located in the 13-state WESTAF region.
  • State arts agencies across the country are also devising their own programs for which your organization may be eligible. Visit the National Assembly of State Arts Agency state arts agency directory for links to specific state agency websites and additional information regarding COVID-19 relief and other types of funding. Visit WESTAF's COVID-19 resource page for information specific to the 13-state western region.
If my organization applied directly to the National Endowment for the Arts or my state arts agency for a CARES Act grant, can I also apply for a WESTAF CARES grant?
  • Yes. Applying for a CARES Act grant does not preclude you from applying for a WESTAF CARES grant. It is possible that organizations that have received sizable CARES Act relief funds from other sources may be viewed as having less critical need, and therefore, not recommended for funding through the WESTAF CARES Relief Fund. Organizations will need to refer to eligibility requirements and policies guiding the allocation of state arts agency CARES Act funds as they will vary.


Can I receive a WESTAF CARES grant if I have never received a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts before?
  • Yes. Applicants can receive a WESTAF CARES grant if they have never received direct or subawards from the National Endowment for the Arts. Note: The criteria differ on this point by each CARES Act-supported program. Please refer to the specific National Endowment for the Arts, regional arts organizations and state arts agency guidelines regarding eligibility.
What is a DUNS number and is it required? How can I get one?
  • This number is a unique nine-digit identification number of the entity applying for funds. DUNS numbers are available free of charge for all businesses required to register with the U.S. federal government for grants. Information about how to acquire a DUNS number can be obtained online at https://fedgov.dnb.com/webform. The process may take a while, so applicants should apply for one immediately, if they do not already have one.
Can I apply for a WESTAF CARES grant through a fiscal sponsor?
  • No.
Are there specific disciplines that are eligible for this grant?
  • There is no requirement as pertains to arts related discipline. Any nonprofit organization or equivalent with a three-year history of arts programming prior to the application deadline can apply.
Is there a specific budget range for eligible organizations?
  • Yes. Organizations must have an operating budget between $50,000 - $2,000,000 for the most recently completed fiscal year.
Our budget was over $2M for the most recently completed fiscal year, and was projected to be this current fiscal year until COVID-19. Is my organization eligible to apply now that my new current and next fiscal year budget will be below $2M?
  • No. The WESTAF CARES eligibility range refers to the organization's unadjusted, pre-COVID-19 figures for the most recently completed fiscal year.
When completeing the budget section of the application, which figures should we use for the current fiscal year section - year to date or our original (pre-COVID-19) budget?
  • Use the organization's pre-Covid-19 budget for the current year. Applicants can speak to additional support sought or challenges in the "Demonstrated Need" section of the narrative.
What is an "operating reserve"?​​​​​
  • An operating reserve is an unrestricted fund balance set aside to stabilize an organization's finances. Also referred to as a "rainy day savings account" for unexpected cash flow shortages, expenses or losses.
Are organizations that aren’t specifically recognized as an arts organization eligible to apply?
  • If the organization has one of the following designations: a) a tax exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization; b) a unit of state or local government; c) a nonprofit institution of higher education; or d) a federally recognized Indian tribal government AND a three-year history of arts programming prior to the application deadline, that organization may apply to the WESTAF CARES program.
Can individual artists apply for this grant?
  • No. Only 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations (or equivalent nonprofit entities) are eligible to apply.


Is there a period during which these funds should be expended?
  • Yes. Grantees have until December 31, 2020 to utilize the funds. Given the intent of the award, we would expect that this grant will be used immediately to offset impacts from the COVID-19 related economic downturn, far in advance of the deadline. 
Do I need to have a match for this grant?
  • No, the National Endowment for the Arts does not require a match for WESTAF CARES relief funds.
Can I regrant the funds that my organization receives?
  • No.
What are the allowable expenses for this grant?
  • CARES Act funds may support salaries, administration costs, artist/contractor fees, technology, facilities upgrades, technical assistance or programming costs.
What expenses are unallowable?
  • Unallowable uses include re-granting of grant funds; entertainment including amusement and social activities such as receptions, parties, galas, dinners, etc., and any associated costs including catering, alcohol, planning, staffing, supplies, etc; funding cash reserves or endowment accounts or instruments and lobbying and fundraising activities.

Review Criteria

How do you define “demonstrated need” or other review criteria?
  • See Eligibility & Review Criteria section.
How was the criteria established?
  • WESTAF’s strategic vision articulates goals and metrics related to increasing opportunities, benefits, and resources for historically underrepresented communities in a manner that results in quantifiable and systemic change. We acknowledge the need to employ intentional practices that remove historic, societal and systemic barriers for more equitable communities and arts and culture field, including through the WESTAF CARES Relief Fund program. WESTAF’s decision to focus on organizations’ perspectives on inclusion, need, artistic and cultural merit, and public community benefit align with this commitment.

Application, Adjudication & Notification 

What is the application period for this grant?
  • The application will be available on May 6, 2020. In anticipation of high demand for relief funds, WESTAF will monitor application volume closely and determine a deadline based on program capacity. For that reason, eligible organizations should strive to submit their applications as soon as possible on or after May 6, 2020. 
What will factor into WESTAF’s decision to close the application?
  • WESTAF will consider the number of applications and geographic representation of organizations in the applicant pool. We are committed to striking a balance between being accessible to potential applicants, awarding at least one grant to each state in WESTAF's 13-state region and considering the capacity of the panel reviewers to review signifcant numbers of applications.
Will organizations with applications that are still in progress be notified of the deadline in advance and be permitted to complete and submit them?
  • WESTAF will send an email notification to organizations with an application in progress at least 4 hours in advance of the deadline. Organizations that intend to apply will need to submit all required materials online by the posted deadline date and time. UPDATE: Due to high demand, WESTAF CARES Relief Fund for Organizations applications will close TODAY, Monday, May 11, 2020 at 5:00 PM MDT. To be considered for this grant, applications must be complete and SUBMITTED BY 5:00 PM MDT. WESTAF will not consider any incomplete or “In Progress” applications for funding.
Will applicants be notified when an application has been received?
  • Yes.
Can you offer a deadline extension for extenuating circumstances?
  • Unfortunately, no.
When will the decisions be made and funds be disbursed?
  • See the Review Criteria + Timeline section. 
Will I need to turn in a final report?
  • Grantees will be expected to complete a Post-Award Report which will capture additional information about use of the funds.

Technical Issues

Do you have technical support available?
  • Yes, during office hours: Monday through Friday, 8:30 AM - 4:30 PM. Mountain Time at 303.629.1166 or grants@westaf.org
I am the grant writer for more than one organization, do I have to register more than once?
  • Yes. Profiles are based upon each unique organization and its EIN number, NOT the primary contact or grant writer an organization shares. Each organization should have its own profile. 
If I've used GO Smart to apply for grants in the past, can I use the same login and password?
  • To apply for WESTAF CARES funds, applicants must create a new profile with a different username from other GO Smart profiles. All other information, including the password, can remain the same.
Can I use the same password for multiple user accounts?
  • Yes. Usernames have to be unique but passwords can be the same. 
Can I save my work and come back to it later?
  • Yes. At the bottom of each application page is a Save button and additional Save buttons in the narrative section. If you click on the Save button as you work on the application, your data will be saved.
Can I print a copy of my application?
  • Yes, under Current Programs and Applications, you will see your application listed by ID number. There you will find a View PDF link. If you click on that link, you can download a PDF file of your application for printing. The application also offers a “Print to PDF” option.