A Breakdown of the Life Cycle of a Manitoba Arts Council Grant
By Diana Sefa
If you happen to be an artist or a member of an arts organization, you’ve most likely worked diligently on assembling a grant application, painstakingly double-checking that all requirements from the guidelines have been met. You’ve managed to submit your grant application by its program deadline date – so, what exactly happens during the wait-time between submitting a grant application and finding out whether it has been awarded or declined?
Here is the breakdown of the life cycle of a Manitoba Arts Council grant*:
1) Grant application arrives to our office by hand, mail, courier, or in our drop box (which is checked daily) and is date-stamped and logged at reception.
Grant applications received by mail after the deadline date are still accepted as long as they have been mailed on the program deadline date. If the program deadline date falls on a weekend or holiday, grant applications may be submitted up until the next working day.
2) Logged grant applications are distributed to their corresponding program assistants, who have been pre-assigned to organize a jury for the grant application’s specific program.
The program assistant then registers, scans, and attaches a PDF file of the grant application into the online management system. Once registration is complete, program assistants notify all grant applicants by email to confirm receipt of their application.
3) Grant application is then checked for eligibility by the program’s corresponding consultant. The fate of the application is determined at this point, being deemed ‘Eligible’, ‘Ineligible’, or, by request of the applicant, ‘Withdrawn’.
If the application is deemed ‘Ineligible’, the consultant notifies the applicant by email. For details on eligibility, read the general guidelines and program-specific guidelines.
4) Program assistant attaches all ‘Eligible’ grant applications to the grant management system, proceeding to review all eligible grant applications’ provided support material, and copying all digital support material along with PDF files of the scanned applications into a jury package.
Non-digital support material is typically presented on jury day (with the exception of several programs in which literary support material is mailed to peer assessors prior to the jury day for review). The jury package will eventually be distributed to peer assessors, well-before the jury day.
In the meantime, the program consultant prepares a long-list containing names of these potential peer assessors.
Suitable potential peer assessors are chosen based on several factors, including artistic discipline, and whether or not they self-identify as Indigenous, francophone, visible minority, or person with a disability, in order to ensure a critically diverse jury well-suited to evaluate the particular range of artistic work from the grant applications received to the program.
5) Consultant reports back to the program assistant once the long-list of names of potential peer assessors is complete and approved by management.
The program assistant then contacts all long-listed potential peer assessors, asking them to indicate their availability and/or willingness to participate on the jury.
6) Once the program assistant receives a sufficient number of responses from willing and available potential peer assessors, their names are placed on a short-list, from which the program consultant will choose the final peer assessors who will sit on the jury.
Once final peer assessors are chosen and approved by management, the program assistant delivers the jury package to the final peer assessors.
7) Then comes jury day, typically held approximately 12 weeks after the grant application’s program deadline, in which the program consultant runs a jury meeting as eligible grant applications to the program are assessed by the final peer assessors.
At the end of the jury, peer assessors, consultant, Director of Finance, and Chief Executive Officer will sign off on the peer assessment report, which is the official document stating the final decisions made in the jury.
8) Post-jury, the program assistant attaches the finalized peer assessment report into the online management system.
Paper copies of relevant documents are filed away to eventually be archived. Then, the consultant sends ‘Award’ and ‘Decline’ emails to all grant applicants. In these emails, applicants are given the option to request their support material to be returned to them or picked up; otherwise, support material will be destroyed within 3 months post-jury.
9) If you receive an ‘Award’ email, congratulations on receiving your grant!
Attached to the ‘Award’ email is a Funding Agreement, which must be printed out, completed, signed and submitted to MAC’s office by mail or in person in order to receive your funds.
And if you receive a ‘Decline’ email, keep in mind that in many cases, it does not necessarily reflect the quality of your grant application. If ‘Declined’, applicants may request some feedback by contacting the program consultant. Applicants would need to schedule a time to receive feedback over the phone or in person.
10) All successful grant applicants will eventually need to submit a Final Report when it is due, in order for their future grant applications to be deemed eligible.
The names of successful applicants and amount of their grant will be made public on MAC’s website and in its Annual Report.
*This is a breakdown of the majority of MAC grants and does not necessarily reflect the process of other funding agencies.