General Policies & Legal Requirements
Making the arts accessible to Nevadans of all cultures and abilities, without prejudice to geographic or economic status, is a priority for all NAC programs. We encourage our grantees to utilize events or procedures that broaden the public’s cultural awareness and participation. Methods to address diversity in your community include involving individuals from diverse populations and/or organizations in the planning, implementation, evaluation and follow-up of a program. Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act states, in part, that “no otherwise qualified person with a disability... shall solely by reason of their disability be excluded from the participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.”
The NAC encourages its grantees and partners to view accessibility as both a philosophic commitment and a business practice. By making all of our arts and cultural programs, activities, information and facilities accessible and usable to all people, with and without disabilities, we open the door to a new and expanded audience of participants, patrons and advocates.
For information on requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) or how to make your programs and facilities more accessible, download the Design for Accessibility Handbook along with an Arts Accessibility Checklist on the National Endowment for the Arts’ AccessAbility homepage at www.nea.gov/resources/Accessibility/. This website provides information and links to Leadership Initiatives in Arts and Aging, Arts in Healthcare, Arts in Corrections, Universal Design and Careers in the Arts. It also features award-wining accessibility programs implemented across the nation. The Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) provides strategies, guidelines and resources to make the Web accessible to people with disabilities at www.w3.org/WAI/. VSA of Nevada provides arts programming for all Nevadans, including the 15 percent of Nevada's population with some type of disability. Visit www.vsanevada.org or call 775.826.6100.
NAC believes that artists should be compensated for their expertise and services rendered. NAC also encourages the employment of artists who are Nevada residents. However, NAC supports a balance in funding both the development of Nevada artists and providing Nevadans (which includes artists) with the opportunity to experience the work of artists from outside the state.
Grant recipients may be asked by NAC to submit to periodic on-site programmatic, managerial and fiscal audits. If a recipient receives $500,000 or more in federal funds, the federal government requires recipients to submit an audit report to the NAC for the year in which NAC funds were received and spent. As part of the Final Report Packet, NAC requires all recipients of a Challenge Grant and/or Partners in Excellence Level 5 grant to include an independent audit, a Financial Review Statement, or a copy of pertinent page(s) of the IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ Form.
NAC now requires all recipients of Partners in Excellence Level 1 - 4 grants to include a copy of pertinent page(s) of the IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ Form from the prior year in their supplemental materials with their application packet.
Why the revision? As a state agency, the NAC must be assured that grantees are being funded at the level that is appropriate for their operating budgets. Beginning in FY11, all Partners in Excellence (PIE) Grants and Challenge Grants recipients will be required to submit either copies of the IRS Form 990 or some form of an independent financial review. Please refer to specific guidelines for these categories. These audit materials must be included in the Final Report Packet so NAC staff may use the summer months to review the submitted audit materials and make changes to the funding levels if necessary.
While a community is most commonly defined in terms of geography, it may be defined in terms of common interests as well. Examples of communities include, but are not limited to: a neighborhood; a town or other municipality; a county or multi-county area - within or across state lines; or a group of individuals and organizations that share a common heritage or interest in a common artistic discipline.
State and federal funding (public funding) has been instrumental in the formation of arts and cultural organizations and institutions in Nevada and across the country for decades. This public funding remains vital to the health of our arts industry and in providing access to arts experiences for our citizens. However public funding for the arts remains vulnerable because so many are unaware of its impact on the individual, our schools and our communities. This is the primary reason that public funding institutions like the NAC and the NEA have credit/acknowledgement requirements.
NAC grants are made possible with appropriations from the Nevada State Legislature and funding from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA). It is required that acknowledgement of this support is prominently included on grantee websites, and included in all grantee publicity and printed materials - programs, catalogues, posters, news releases and advertisements. It is the grantee’s responsibility to contact the NAC if they do not have a website or cannot display the required logos and text on its website or printed materials. All grant recipients will receive written information regarding proper and required acknowledgement of NAC and other funders in the Grants Management Packet. Electronic versions of current NAC and NEA logos are available on the NAC website at www.nac.NevadaCulture.org/.
NEW Credit Language: This program, project, exhibition, organization, etc. (whatever is appropriate for your NAC grant) is supported by public funding for the arts through the Nevada Arts Council, a division of the Nevada Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
Why the revision? The NAC Board voted to emphasis the value of public funding for the arts in accordance with the agency mission.
The information requested of all NAC grant applicants (in grant applications and final report forms) is critical for state and national cultural policy development and planning. Both the NEA and the NAC uses this data to determine trends, establish statistical data and develop budget requests. This data is also the foundation for NAC budget narrative, which is presented to the Governor’s Office and the Nevada State Legislature every biennium to demonstrate the value of public funding for the arts. Section Five of the National Foundation for the Arts and Humanities Act of 1965, as amended, authorizes both of these national endowments to request such information for use in application processing and in trend analysis and statistical research. As this complies with the Privacy Act of 1974, the NAC responds to NEA requests for information.
Why the addition? This section addresses questions by grantees and applicants about why we ask certain information on grant application forms and final reports.
DUNS NUMBER, REQUIREMENT OF
All grant applicants to the NAC (except individuals) must have a DUNS Number. The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) number is a unique nine-character identification number. DUNS numbers are required of all Federal grant recipients and provided by the commercial company Dun & Bradstreet. The federal government and other organizations such as Americans for the Arts use the DUNS number to assess the economic impact of nonprofit organizations. The number also provides consistent name and address data for electronic grant applications. Obtaining a DUNS number is easy and there is no charge. To obtain a DUNS number, go to the Dun and Bradstreet website at www.dnb.com/US/duns_update/
Requiring a DUNS number will help insure that reports about Nevada arts and cultural funding and activity levels are as accurate as possible. Since all federal grants require a DUNS number, this also helps prepare NAC grantees to apply for a NEA grant. FISCAL AGENT, USE OF
Incorporated nonprofit organizations that have filed for, but have not received tax-exempt status through the Internal Revenue Service may apply to certain grant categories through a Fiscal Agent, which is an incorporated nonprofit tax-exempt organization that is eligible to apply for NAC grants. This Fiscal Agent becomes the legal applicant of record, redistributes the grant funds to the project coordinating organization, and is responsible for all the requirements of the specific grant category. This includes contracts, fiscal records and final reports. Any correspondence to the NAC regarding a Fiscal Agent-sponsored application or grant must be submitted either by the Fiscal Agent or jointly by the Fiscal Agent and the project coordinating organization.
Organizations intending to use a Fiscal Agent must contact the NAC prior to submitting a grant application. A copy of the letter of acknowledgment from the IRS that an application for tax-exempt status has been filed must be submitted to the NAC prior to the panel meeting for the specific grant category.
The use of a Fiscal Agent does not release the project coordinating organization from responsible or accountable behavior. Therefore, NAC strongly recommends that the Fiscal Agent maintain separate financial accounts for all projects it represents, and that the project coordinating organization and the Fiscal Agent sign a letter of agreement or a contract that clearly details the legal responsibilities and obligations of each party.
Acting as a Fiscal Agent does not jeopardize the Fiscal Agent’s own grant applications. Individual artists may not apply through a fiscal agent.
Why the revision? We have used the term “applicant” for the organization not yet established as a tax-exempt, nonprofit entity. The legal applicant is the Fiscal Agent (with all fiduciary responsibilities). The above changes attempts to clarify the difference between the applicant Fiscal agent and the ‘project coordinating organization’ that is in the process of receiving nonprofit status.
FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION
NAC recognizes the need for public support of the arts and understands the responsibilities that accompany the allocation of public funds. At the same time, NAC advocates for and defends the right of free speech for all citizens under the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States.
Incorporation in Nevada means recognition of an organization’s corporate by-laws and articles by the Secretary of State in Nevada. This must be done before filing for tax-exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service. Procedures for becoming a nonprofit organization are not complicated and are available from the office of the Nevada Secretary of State in Carson City at 775.684.5704 or Las Vegas at 702.486.2440. However, organizations are encouraged to seek professional advice from an attorney or an accountant.
INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY, OWNERSHIP OF
The NAC does not own, collect royalties on or hold copyrights to artistic products resulting from its grants nor will it take any action on behalf of the grantee to protect the grantee's intellectual property rights. The NAC does, however, request from all its grantees the right to reproduce and use documentation of such products for educational, promotional, official or noncommercial purposes, both electronically and in print.
For most NAC grant categories, an organization must match in cash, dollar for dollar (1:1) NAC grant funds that are awarded. Matching funds may be anticipated by the applicant at the time of application submission, but must be received by the end of the grant period and by the time the final evaluation form is submitted to the NAC by the grantee.
In-kind contributions are allowable as a portion of the required match in the categories of Nevada Circuit Rider, Jackpot, Development, Design Arts and Folklife Opportunity Grants.
A partnership should represent a core group that is committed to working together and providing resources toward specific goals. Effective partnerships combine existing resources in innovative ways, create opportunities that previously did not exist and enable individual partners to advance their own priorities while working toward common goals. Partnerships may be new or they may already be in existence. They may include arts organizations, schools and educational organizations, businesses, government agencies, religious organizations, and civic and community groups.
NAC encourages grantees and applicants to think as broadly as possible about potential partnerships. A funder, venue or project beneficiary should be considered a partner only if it actively participates in the overall project.
NAC grant recipients are required to keep a copy of their original grant application, financial records, supporting documents, statistical records and all other records pertinent to NAC grants for a minimum of three years after the end of the project. Grant funds may be considered taxable income. Please consult with qualified tax consultants.
RELIGIOUS ART AND ACTIVITIES/PROJECTS
NAC funds cannot be used for projects (by an organization, institution or individual) with implicit religious content that may be perceived as advancing a religious purpose. Religious organizations may apply for a Project Grant to support arts or cultural activities or programming where related artistic expression is a primary focus. However, the project cannot occur or coincide with a religious activity or service, or be viewed as attempting to convert people to a particular religious viewpoint, nor can the project or program occur or coincide with a religious activity or service.
Why the addition? This Eligibility criterion is being added to the General Policies section in addition to the NAC Grants Guidelines.
TAX EXEMPTION, 501(C)3 STATUS
Tax exemption is a classification of the Internal Revenue Service. An organization may file itself, although the advice of an accountant or an attorney is recommended. Advice may also be obtained from the IRS at www.irs.gov.
For the purposes of NAC grant guidelines, an underserved area is defined by geographic isolation and/or limited access to quality arts resources and programs. Underserved people are those potential arts participants who may not be currently served by an organization’s or institution’s programs. Within these definitions, applicants are asked to identify their own underserved populations.
VERIFICATION OF NONPROFIT, TAX-EXEMPT STATUS
An organization applying for NAC funds for the first time is required to submit a copy of its Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws (both required for nonprofit status) and its IRS approved letter of tax-exempt status.