Guide to Funding and Application

The Portsmouth Museums and Museum & Fine Arts Commission Guide to Funding

FY2025 MFAC Grant Application

Final report FY2024


Grants are available to eligible IRS tax-exempt organizations through the Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission funding program for

 fiscal year July 1, 2024 - June 30, 2025. The Commission’s members, appointed by City Council, review all applications and make

 recommendations for funding. City Council determines available grant funds. The digital application packet may be downloaded from the City of

 Portsmouth Boards and Commissions web page on the City of Portsmouth website. You may also contact the Department of Museums and 

Tourism (


  • Organizations requesting support must be non-profit in nature and hold a tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and must have been in existence for at least one year, with a Board of Directors and visible support from the community
  • Applicant organizations must be registered in the City of Portsmouth or utilize grant funds entirely for projects to be carried out within the city or that directly impact citizens of Portsmouth.
  • Applicant organizations must have a diverse Board of Directors from the region and are encouraged to provide evidence of support from the Portsmouth community.
  • Remember that your organization is competing with other organizations for limited dollars. It is important that all applications are clear, complete and well written.
  • Every application shall contain (1) a certification by the applicant that to the best of his/her knowledge, the information contained in the application is true and correct and the filing of the application has been authorized by the governing body of the applicant; and (2) a certification that the applicant is in compliance with Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (42 USC Section2000d) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (29 USC Section 794).
  • Every Project Grant Application must have a direct relationship to a public-oriented activity such as: a performance, exhibition, film, video production or presentation, outreach program, or hosting a workshop, seminar, class, or lecture series, and other activities to be determined by the Commission.
  • The Commission views its financial assistance as that of a catalyst; helping to augment and strengthen private support of the arts. All Commission grant recommendations are subject to available funds and approval by City Council.
  • In all published materials (inclusive of electronic media) and announcements, regarding the particular activity supported, acknowledgment must be made that (organization or activity) is funded in part by a grant from the Portsmouth Museum & Fine Arts Commission and the City of Portsmouth.




The program is designed to provide partial funding to eligible organizations to create and present their work, to develop new innovative programs

 or expand present ones, and to increase opportunities in the humanities and for visual and performing arts for all Portsmouth Citizens.

Eligible Activities:      

Includes but not limited to projects, programs, exhibits and/or performances:

  • In the arts or humanities
  • Taking place within the City of Portsmouth or that directly impact Portsmouth citizens
  • Commission or purchase of new works of art
  • Outreach programs for special audiences.
  • Hosting an arts/humanities workshop, seminar or class.
  • A film or video production or presentation.

Other activities (to be determined by the Commission) 

Ineligible Activities:     

The following activities are not eligible for funding from the Portsmouth Museum & Fine Arts Commission:

  • Activities restricted to an organization’s membership
  • Costs of parties, receptions, fund-raising benefits, etc.
  • Activities that are primarily religious in nature
  • Prizes and awards
  • Non-artistic portions of festivals or community celebration events
  • Pass through granting to other organizations
  • Capital improvements, new construction
  • Basic operating expenses such as rent and utilities, unless directly related to the arts project the organization is presenting.
  • Gratuitous tickets

Application Deadline: Thursday, February 1st, 2024

Period of Coverage:

For expense of projects for the following fiscal year, July 1, 2024 to June 30, 2025.

Amount of Assistance:

Funding requests cannot exceed 50% of the estimated project cost, and the maximum grant amount regardless of project costs is $15,000.

Other Requirements:

Grant awards may only be used for those programs or purposes specified in the application and approved by the Commission. A signed application form is the applicant’s agreement to do what is described in the application. The Commission reserves the right to request the return of all or part of any grant award for noncompliance with the specified terms and conditions of the award. Any leftover monies not used for the program or purpose specified in the application and approved by the Commission must be returned to the City of Portsmouth by June 30th of the fiscal year of the award.


Submit a completed digital application packet by 11:59 pm, February 1, 2024. Application packets may be addressed to Alex Benitez, Director-

Dept. of Museums & Tourism and sent to the following email address: Please use the subject heading: MFAC

 Grant Submission- (name of your organization) to help us track your application. Only applications that are received on or before the stated

 deadline will be reviewed and considered. All attachments must be submitted in full to include organizational budgets, expenses, and financial

 disclosure in the formats requested in these guidelines.



  • Project should demonstrate artistic/humanities excellence and artistic/humanities merit.
  • Extent to which the proposal meets the demonstrated needs of the community, including special efforts to involve under-served segments of the city’s population.
  • Service to the public including number of people served.
  • Strength of outreach and lifelong learning programs.


  • Quality and thoroughness of planning and implementing programs.
  • Organization’s capability to administer budget and proposed programs.
  • Sound management and fiscal accountability.
  • Appropriate relationship between proposed budget and program.

Evaluation Plan

  • Evidence of effective, appropriate and objective evaluation.
  • Evidence of improvements based on evaluation 

Public Commitment

  • Degree and depth of public participation (Board, volunteers, participants, audience)
  • Level of local private support
  • Community and governmental participation/partnerships 

Special Consideration

  • Special consideration will be given to projects which serve the cultural needs of Portsmouth’s diverse and underserved populations.

The Commission may impose such additional criteria as necessary to properly account for the expenditure of public funds.


  1. Upon receipt of the Commission award letter, grantee will submit an acceptance letter.
  2. The Commission requires a brief narrative interim progress report not to exceed 500 words for each project grant not completed by February 1st of each year. Interim reports are due on February 1st of the active grant cycle. Reports should be submitted digitally as MS Word or PDF.
  3. Within 30 days following the completion of a project, the grantee will submit a final report to the Commission to which shall be attached a financial report, invoices, copies of cleared checks or such other items necessary to substantiate expenditures which should equal the amount of the grant award.
  4. The report should include a statement regarding the level of success of the program, a description of who was served (to the extent possible, including demographics of the audience served), attendance of audience, number of tickets sold and complimentary, and a current financial statement of the organization.
  5. Documentation verifying the payment of admissions taxes or any other taxes paid to the City of Portsmouth.
  6. All interim or final reports must include documentation such as programs or newspaper clippings that indicate acknowledgment given to the Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission.


  1. Payments for grants shall be administered based on the amount of the award. Grantees must submit request for payments utilizing the Support to Cultural Arts Organization Grant Expenditure Invoice.
  2. Payments for grants of $5,000 or less will generally be dispersed in one payment at the beginning of the fiscal year in July.
  3. Grants of more than $5,000 will be dispersed in two payments in July and January.
  4. In addition to the initial invoice, the City of Portsmouth requires a signed copy of the Support to Cultural Arts Organizations Grant Agreement.
  5. A current and completed W-9 form must be on file.

These documents should be submitted to:

Portsmouth Museum and Fine Arts Commission Attention: Alexander Benitez, Ph.D.

521 Middle Street

Portsmouth, VA 23704