Grant Guidelines for Organizations


The maximum funding for each arts and culture grant is $10,000 for Operating Grants for organizations, $5,000 for Project & Program Grants for organization and $2,500 for individual artists. 

Applicants are required to show a match to the requested funds from earned income, foundations, individual and corporate contributions, government agencies and other organizations. These matching funds can include in-kind goods and services as well as volunteer and professional time, as part of the cash match.  


Through grant making and other activities and services, the City of Fort Myers strives to: 

  • Develop stable, well-managed arts & culture organizations and institutions, through fair distribution of funds 
  • Encourage artistic quality and program innovation, including "seed money" for organizations and projects
  • Develop new audiences and challenge existing audiences
  • Promote lifelong arts and cultural education
  • Promote multicultural inclusion in all aspects of the City’s cultural life 
  • Stimulate increased private support for the arts & culture 
  • Promote economic development and tourism in the City of Fort Myers 
  • Promote and encourage art and culture in all communities and neighborhoods of the City 
  • Create a nurturing environment in which artists can flourish



  1. Non-profit organizations that produce and/or present a cultural program or festival within the City of Fort Myers’ corporate limits. 
  2. Have documented IRS nonprofit, tax-exempt status as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Applicants with pending 501(c)(3) status are not eligible. 
  3. Have completed one year of fiscal operation as a non-profit organization and can provide board-approved financial statements. 
  4. Be able to provide most recently completed IRS Form 990.
  5. Be able to match amount requested on a dollar-for-dollar basis. 
  6. Operating budget to dedicate 10% or more in marketing expense for proposed activities. 
  7. Applicant organizations may submit only one application. 
  8. If the organization has received a City of Fort Myers Arts & Culture Grant at any time in the past then a Post-Grant Final Report must have been submitted for that Grant. 
  9. Units of city or municipal government are ineligible for City of Fort Myers Arts & Culture Grants (i.e. public school, library, city special events department, etc.).
  10. Religious Organizations and Churches are ineligible for City of Fort Myers Arts & Culture Grants. 



Project & Program Grants support arts & culture activities, projects and programs that take place within the City of Fort Myers. Your description should include:  

  • Overall goal(s) regarding your project or program
  • Objectives or ways in which you will meet the goal(s)
  • Specific activities for which you are seeking funding
  • Who will carry out those activities 
  • Time-frame in which the activities will take place 
  • How the proposed project or program will benefit the community of the City of Fort Myers, being as clear as you can about the impact you expect to have and long-term strategies (If applicable) for sustaining this effort. 


Operating Grants support non-profit organizations based in the City of Fort Myers that are exclusively dedicated to arts and culture. They are awarded to offset a portion of annual operating costs. Your description should include: 

  • The opportunities, challenges, issues or needs currently facing your organization
  • Overall goal(s) of the organization for the funding period 
  • Objectives or ways in which you will meet the goal(s)
  • Activities and who will carry out these activities 
  • Time-frame in which the activities will take place 
  • Long-term funding strategies 



Although the review process varies according to grant category, the process always involves a qualitative evaluation of some kind. 

Application materials will be distributed to the Arts and Culture Grants Review Committee, an external committee composed of artists, arts & culture administrators, and community arts & culture representatives for individual review and ratings according to review criteria stated below. 

Review Committee meetings are scheduled for discussion and ratings are averaged to reach each applicant’s overall rating. 

After the Arts and Culture Grants Review Committee has rated the applicants, the panel makes funding recommendations which are forwarded to Public Works Administration’s staff. Public Works Administrations staff prepares a City Council Item for presentation to the Mayor and City Council for approval. Awards will be announced in May and checks will be sent within 3 weeks of receipt of a signed agreement from the Artist or Organization. 


Applications for financial support from the City of Fort Myers Arts & Culture Grants will be reviewed applying these criteria: 

  1. Organization, individual & project/program artistic merit 
  2. Community outreach - 
  3. Art-related educational value for Fort Myers residents 
  4. Administrative ability 


Organization, individual & project/program artistic merit refers to: 

  • High standards of quality & merit 
  • Responsiveness to current and future art & culture needs
  • Innovations and creativity 
  • Vision and leadership of staff and volunteers
  • Activity furthers applicant’s stated mission

Community Outreach refers to: 

  • Effectiveness of community involvement as shown by diversity of audience (i.e. affecting a variety of social, economic and ethnic populations)
  • Effectiveness at furthering the understanding of an arts and culture form to a diverse audience, representing a variety of social, economic and racial populations 
  • Representation and participation by special audiences, including economically deprived, children, the elderly, the disabled and geographically under-served neighborhoods
  • Innovation in programming to reach new and special audiences, including collaborative programs with other groups
  • Effectiveness of marketing efforts

Art-related educational value refers to:

  • Organizations and Projects & Programs that promote the arts and culture in education
  • Organizations and Projects & Programs that expand youth involvement in and access to arts and culture 
  • Organizations and Projects & Programs that provide educational opportunities for arts and culture to youth and adults 
  • Organizations and Projects & Programs that enhance arts and culture appreciation for all citizens

Administrative ability refers to: 

  • A continuing history of growth, stability and vision 
  • A long-range and/or short-range plan
  • Evidence of effectiveness and efficiency of organization
  • Evidence of leadership of administrative staff, when applicable 
  • Evidence of ability to deliver services effectively


A Post-Grant Final Report is due at the end of the granting period and must be received in order to be eligible to apply for a grant in any future grant cycles for this program. The post-grant final report will be due May 31, 2022.