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Fiscal Sponsorship

Artist residency programs need funding to launch and to be sustained, but many individuals, foundations, corporations or government organizations restrict funding to U.S. tax-exempt organizations. The Alliance's fiscal sponsorship program assists those artist residency programs that are just getting started, international residencies, and temporary entities that lack 501(c)(3) tax status recognized by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service, by providing an opportunity for these residency programs to solicit contributions from grant-makers and individual donors.

The Alliance offers a variety of professional development services to its members, and fiscal sponsorship is one more way that we can provide critical capacity-building support to artist residency programs.

Please read through all the following carefully and download the information packet and application form.

Current fiscally sponsored projects

Overview

Fiscal Sponsorship is a financial and legal system by which a legally recognized 501(c)(3) public charity (such as the Alliance of Artists Communities) provides limited financial and legal oversight for a project initiated independently by another entity. That "project" might be a one-time project or simply the activities of an arts organization or entity that does not have its own 501(c)(3) status. Once sponsored in this way, the project is eligible to solicit and receive grants and tax-deductible contributions that are normally available only to U.S. 501(c)(3) organizations.

Eligibility
Our fiscal sponsorship program is open and accessible to individuals and arts organizations throughout the U.S. and internationally, that are:

  • Emerging Program Members or Organizational Members of the Alliance in good standing
  • Actively programming or involved in the active creation of artists' residencies, defined as:
    • Organizations/entities that provide dedicated time and space to artists/creators of any discipline for the development of new creative work
    • Artists/creators are "in residence" for a finite period of time
    • Artists/creators are selected by pre-determined criteria (either by open application or by invitation)
    • Residencies are/will be provided for free or are/will be significantly subsidized

Benefits
The Alliance of Artists Communities' fiscal sponsorship program offers many benefits, including:

  • Donors can make online donations by credit card
  • Donors can make automatic recurring monthly donations
  • Fund release checks are issued monthly at the sponsored entity's request
  • Regular reports are issued with your fund balance, donation and fund release history, donor contact information, etc.
  • Donors receive prompt acknowledgement of their contributions

Terms

  • The applicant is fully responsible for proper use of funds in accordance with the intent for which they were solicited (whether from a donor or a grantor). Failure to deliver on the intended use of funds is grounds for cancellation of our agreement and the applicant is responsible for any return of funds that may be required by the donor or grantor.
  • The Alliance of Artists Communities deducts an administrative fee equal to the greater of $10 or 10% of each grant and donation contributed through fiscal sponsorship
  • Sponsored funds may only be used for charitable, non-commercial purposes
  • Sponsored entities agree to credit the Alliance of Artists Communities on the project for which funds are solicited
  • Sponsored entities must submit an annual report by December 15 of each year

See "Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement" for more details.

Apply for Fiscal Sponsorship

Step 1: Understanding who we are and what we sponsor

Application Timeline

Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis; however, applications are subject to quarterly Board approval. Please contact the Alliance to determine the date of the next Board meeting.

What Do We Sponsor?
The Alliance of Artists Communities supports fiscally sponsored projects that are consistent with our IRS-approved charitable mission. Projects must advance the field of artist residencies, be artistic in nature, and may not be produced solely for commercial gain. The term "project" is used very broadly, and may refer to a one-time project, an ongoing organization or entity, or the work of an individual.

Examples of the types of projects we sponsor include:

  • One-time or finite artist residency projects
  • Grassroots or DIY entities, collectives, or facilities engaged in artist residency activities
  • Emerging artist residencies
  • Arts organizations that have applied for a 501(c)(3) tax exempt determination and are awaiting IRS approval
  • International artist residency programs
  • Individuals involved in developing new residency programs

What is the Relationship Between the Alliance of Artists Communities and its Sponsored Projects?
Fiscal sponsorship has many different models. The Alliance of Artists Communities' fiscal sponsorship is structured as a program of the Alliance for its members, in keeping with the Alliance's mission to support artists' communities in order to advance the endeavors of artists.

As a sponsored project, you are treated as a separate legal entity responsible for your own tax returns, employment taxes, insurance, debts, liabilities and other legal obligations. Although fiscal sponsorship does not give projects their own 501(c)(3) status, it does enable them to access many of the benefits of the Alliance of Artists Communities' 501(c)(3) status.

The Alliance of Artists Communities provides a legal and efficient mechanism for funders and donors to support charitable, arts-related activities.

Fiscal Sponsorship Contract
By submitting an application you agree to be legally bound by the fiscal sponsorship agreement. Please review it carefully before applying. [ download the agreement ]

Step 2: Program eligibility and benefits

Program Eligibility
In order to be approved, you must demonstrate the following criteria:

  • You are an Emerging Program Member or Organizational Member of the Alliance in good standing
  • Project activities are related to artist residencies
  • Activities are charitable in purpose
  • If based in the U.S., you have a legal entity with a U.S. tax identification number (either a Social Security Number or Employee Identification Number) that will be responsible for all money released from the fund
  • You have a valid email address that you regularly check

Program Benefits
The core program benefit is the ability to solicit tax-deductible contributions or grants in support of your activities.

Step 3: Policies and procedures

Upon Approval

  • Review the contract and check out the FAQs.
  • Keep your contact information on file up to date - if we don't have a current email address we can't alert you to donations your project received!
  • Alert the Alliance of Artists Communities of other individuals authorized to act on behalf of your project (including anyone who will be contacting the Alliance of Artists Communities staff regarding the fund).

Crediting and Reporting

  • All written solicitations for funding that you produce must include standard language regarding the Alliance of Artists Communities' fiscal sponsorship, as provided by the Alliance.
  • The Alliance of Artists Communities is to be credited as a funder/donor where appropriate. You are requested, though not required, to include the Alliance logo where appropriate.
  • Grantees must file an annual report by December 15 of each year describing the activities undertaken with grant funds (we will provide a reporting form).

Review and Cancellation
All projects are subject to review by the Alliance of Artists Communities annually and fiscal sponsorship may be cancelled for any reason at any time, including:

  • Grantees fail to follow reporting, crediting, and fundraising procedures detailed herein
  • Grantees fail to deliver on the terms of grant funds and donations, or fail to enact the purpose for which funds were solicited
  • The grantee’s project terminates or is significantly changed to the extent that it no longer fits within the eligibility criteria for fiscal sponsorship
  • The grantee’s membership in the Alliance lapses

Fundraising Procedures

  • You may not solicit funds using the Alliance's fiscal sponsorship until you have received written approval of your sponsorship application.
  • As a fiscally sponsored project, you are responsible for your own fundraising; the Alliance will not solicit funds on your behalf. You are responsible for compliance with grant and donor requirements for any funds you receive. 
  • All grant applications for which you will be using the Alliance of Artists Communities as a fiscal sponsor must be reviewed by the Alliance of Artists Communities staff at least 10 days before being submitted to the funding source.
  • When soliciting funds, inform your potential donors that all donations (checks, wire transfers, and credit card transactions) must be made payable to the Alliance of Artists Communities in order to be tax-deductible.

Fund Disbursement

  • You will receive a monthly report of any funds received on your behalf, along with names and addresses of donors.
  • You may complete a funds request form at any time to request funds we have received on your behalf. The Alliance will send you a check within 10 business days. If you are requesting funds by wire transfer, the Alliance will deduct the wire transfer fee from the amount to be transferred. Funds may only be disbursed to the sponsored agency or individual; no third-party checks or wire transfers will be disbursed.

Some Important Notes

  • The legal entity associated with the fund is responsible for reporting all money released from the fund to the IRS as taxable income. The Alliance of Artists Communities will issue 1099 forms as required by law.
  • The legal entity associated with the fund may be transferred at any time by signing a contract amendment agreement.

Step 4: Complete the application form

Download the fiscal sponsorship agreement and application form and submit your application to the Alliance of Artists Communities. If you have any questions, please contact us at info@artistcommunities.org or 401-351-4320.