Small Request Funding

The Office of Cultural Affairs provides annual funding support to the arts. By contracting with local 501(c)(3) arts organizations to provide high quality arts services and programming in the community, the OCA serves the general public, individual artists and arts agencies. The Commission on Cultural Affairs assists in the process by evaluating requests and recommending funding. The mission of Small Request funding is as follows:

The City of Columbia’s arts funding program includes year-round opportunities for arts organizations. “Small Requests” support innovative programs and services that provide unique and one-time opportunities to Columbia’s diverse populations. -adopted January 2002

NOTE: These are not grants. Allocations of city dollars represent the purchasing or contracting of services from arts organizations. As such, the reach of the Office of Cultural Affairs into the community is extended and programs of local arts organizations are enhanced with additional dollars.

Online Application

All applicants are encouraged to contact the Office of Cultural Affairs in advance of completing an application to discuss the basics of the proposed project, determine eligibility of the applicant and to check if funds are available. 

Eligibility, Guidelines & Requirements

Applicants must be either, (1) a single, 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts & culture agency; (2) a collaboration of arts & culture agencies; or (3) a collaboration of an arts & culture agency and one or more nonprofit agencies (schools, social service agencies, public entities). 

  • Funds are available to arts agencies with total annual budgets of no more than $500,000. Collaborations are allowed, but only with an arts organization holding 501(c)(3) status as the lead agency.
  • An arts and culture agency is defined as an organization whose primary mission and/or more than 75% of its annual operating expenses are dedicated to cultural activities: the performing arts (music, dance, theatre), visual arts, literature, film, or whose primary mission is the promotion of their culture through educational and/or artistic activities.
  • If a project is funded in the Office of Cultural Affairs’ annual cycle, components of it are not eligible to be considered for a Small Request.
  • Projects must explain clearly the unique and timely purpose of the request, e.g., why wasn’t it included in the annual funding request (if the agency indeed received annual funding). Proposed projects should focus on the above-listed mission statement, especially in regard to innovation and uniqueness. In general, already established projects that are held regularly will not likely be funded by the Small Request program.
  • Proposed projects must occur within the Columbia city limits.
  • Proposed projects must be matched dollar for dollar with cash, in-kind contributions or a combination of both. Requests cannot be for more than $500. Requests cannot exceed 25% of organization’s annual operating budget. If request is approved, 20% of total funding will be withheld until final report has been completed.
  • An organization can receive up to two small requests per city fiscal year (October 1 – September 30). 
  • Funding may not be used for capital improvements, for political or legislative activities or for replacement of normally budgeted funds, such as staff salaries.
  • Funding is limited to one request per project.  Multiple proposals from the same agency are allowed if they are for different projects.
  • All requests will be reviewed subject to availability of funding. Applicants are encouraged to contact the Office of Cultural Affairs to learn the availability of funding prior to submitting application. 
  • Funded projects may not discriminate against any segment of the community on the basis of sex, race, age, color, religion, national origin, economic status, marital status, familial status, ancestry, disability condition or sexual orientation.
  • A final report is required if the project is supported. Reports are due 45 days after the end date of the funded project.

Rolling Submission Deadline

Application deadline is rolling.  Applications must be submitted through Foundant no later than two-months prior to the project’s start date (i.e. if the project begins May 15th then the application must be received by March 15th).

Review Process

OCA Staff will review requests for completeness.  The Commission on Cultural Affairs reviews applications and makes funding recommendations.  Meetings are open to the public and applicants are encouraged to attend to hear the review of the application.