Professional Performing Arts Organizations Operating Funding

This grant provides funding in three-year cycles to eligible professional organizations that self-create and self-produce performing art productions.

Application Deadline
November 1/19

Who can apply

Eligible Applicants

To be eligible for Professional Performing Arts Organizations operating funding, you must:

  • have public performing arts programming as your organization’s principal mandate as stated in its incorporation documents
  • engage in on-going development, implementation and promotion of performing arts programming as its core primary activity in an annual program or full season of professional self-created and self-produced work for public presentation

Your organization must:

  • be a not-for-profit organization
  • be registered and in good standing under the appropriate legislation and have been in operation in Alberta for at least three years
  • have at least 50% of the organization’s board members living in Alberta
  • employ at least one administrative and/or artistic staff member for the minimum duration of your programming season
  • pay a ‘fee for service’ at minimum industry standard rates (such as a union or nationally recognized rate) to at least 75% of the artists involved in the organization’s performance program for all performances
  • demonstrate the ability to operate using good governance principles, effective administration practices, and a commitment to fiscal responsibility while maintaining an artistic mandate
  • operate as a stand-alone arts organization at arms-length from municipalities, commercial enterprises, or organizations and institutions receiving annual operating funds from the Government of Alberta or its affiliates
  • comply with all Canadian Arts Database (CADAC) financial and statistical data requirements
  • have a board-approved cash reserve policy

Ineligible Applicants

Organizations that engage primarily in competition-based activity are not eligible for AFA funding.

First-Time Applicants

If this is your organization’s first application for AFA Professional Performing Arts Organizations operating funding, you must contact us at least three months before the deadline for a preliminary eligibility assessment to ensure your organization meets the eligibility criteria. 

Eligible first-time applicants are accepted only at the beginning of each three-year cycle. 

As a first-time applicant, your organization must provide approved financial statements that demonstrate the organization has positive net assets for the three annual fiscal periods immediately prior to application.

What does this grant support

This funding is designed to support your organization’s operations, which are specific to your organization’s mandate, strategic and/or business plan and activities as described in your application and/or reporting.

AFA operating funding typically supports expenses such as

  • administration
  • programming
  • salaries and fees
  • maintenance of equipment and fixed assets
  • promotion
  • other expenses as required to fulfill your organization’s mandate

Organizations which have an average annual CDR under $1 million, and have been in an AFA funding stream for a minimum of three years, may apply to the Creative Year option under this funding. This option allows organizations to receive non-reduced funding in a year without a performing season. Discipline-specific project expert panels assess the proposals for this option. To prepare for this option, organizations must contact the AFA at least one year prior to the proposed Creative Year.

How to apply

We only accept applications through the Grant Administration Tracking and Evaluation (GATE) online application system. 

We must receive your online application through GATE no later than 11:59 pm Mountain Time on the deadline date,  unless the deadline falls on a statutory holiday or a weekend when it will be extended until the next working day. Please give the system time to process your application so that the AFA receives notification of your submission before the deadline falls.

First-time applicants

First-time applicants will require a GATE username and password. Contact us via email at least five business days prior to the application deadline.

Please include:
1. the contact name of the individual responsible for preparing your application
2. the legal name of your organization
3. the contact person’s email address

The GATE username and password will be sent to the email address provided.

What to include in your application

For detailed step-by-step instructions, please download the GATE user guide for this funding opportunity.

GATE online forms:

  • an Application Contact List which designates one contact as your organization’s primary contact and Signing Authority for this application 
  • your organization’s street address and mailing address 
  • your organization’s registration details, including legal name, Alberta Registration number and incorporation date
  • CADAC number for your organization’s last three years of financial and statistical data
  • an Organization Applicant Agreement, which must be agreed to by your organization’s Signing Authority
  • a current board list which includes names and titles, mailing addresses, telephone numbers, email addresses and start dates for all current members
  • a completed Community Derived Revenue Calculation form, using the data from the corresponding lines from CADAC
  • a completed Diligence Questionnaire

Attachments:                                                                                            

Attachments must be developed prior to application, using either original documents specific to your organization or preformatted AFA templates, and uploaded to your online GATE submission.

You’ll be required to complete and upload the following attachments:

  • a current, board-approved business or strategic plan
  • a listing of planned activities for the coming year
  • your most recent annual financial statements including Balance Sheet, Statement of Revenues and Expenditures, and Statement of Cash Flows
  • a confirmation of your organization's most recent annual return from Alberta Corporate Registry
  • a current list of your organization's core staff and their positions 
  • a copy of your organization's Cash Reserve Policy

Cash Reserve Policy requirements

Your organization’s submitted Cash Reserve Policy must: 

  • be approved by your organization’s board of Directors
  • establish a base Cash Reserve amount as a percentage of your organization’s annual operating expenditure and provide a rationale for that base amount
  • outline that the Cash Reserve be clearly identified on your organization’s annual financial statement
  • define the Cash Reserve as an unencumbered, restricted cash account that can only be accessed upon a resolution of your organization's board of Directors, approved by a majority vote
  • outline that the Cash Reserve funds may only be used to temporarily finance unforeseen operating deficits
  • outline that funds removed from the Cash Reserve must be replenished within three fiscal years from the end of the fiscal year in which the Cash Reserve funds were utilized
  • outline that the base Cash Reserve amount, once approved by the AFA, may not be reduced without prior approval by the AFA

We strongly encourage all organizations to strive for a cash reserve of no less than 10% of your organization’s average annual operating expenditures. However, we recognize that individual organizations have unique operating requirements. In considering the savings target for the Cash Reserve, your organization’s board of Directors is expected to consider its own operating requirements and determine an appropriate target which may be more or less than 10% of average annual operating expenditures.

Eligible organizations in this funding opportunity are encouraged to consult department staff as they develop the Cash Reserve Policy and associated plan for implementation.

How will my application be assessed

Funding awarded through this opportunity is calculated based on Community Derived Revenue (CDR). CDR is defined as an organization’s total annual revenue minus all federal, provincial and municipal government grants. 

Funding amounts are calculated in two stages:

1. First, your organization’s three-year average CDR is adjusted to the following percentage tiers:

  • 11% of such CDR for organizations with a three-year average CDR equal to or greater than $1 million;
  • 15% of such CDR for organizations with a three-year average CDR of less than $1 million and equal to or more than $100,000
  • 20% of such CDR for organizations with a three-year average CDR of less than $100,000.

2. Your organization’s adjusted CDR is then divided by the sum of the adjusted CDR for all eligible Professional Performing Arts Organizations, and then multiplied by this funding opportunity’s budget to determine your funding grant allocation.

Note: If your organization has been approved for a Creative Year Option, your organization’s average CDR will consist of the most recent three years, excluding the Creative Year.

Funding for Professional Performing Arts Organizations is established by the AFA Board of Directors based upon the annual AFA Budget allocated by the Government of Alberta. Department staff evaluate applications according to eligibility criteria and prepare recommendations to the board. The AFA Board of Directors reviews all funding recommendations, and all decisions are final.

When will I hear

Recommendations will be made to the AFA Board of Directors during its annual March meeting. Successful recipients should be notified in April.

Conditions

Your organization is only eligible to receive support from one AFA operating funding opportunity in any given year. Funding is intended for the activities planned for your organization’s next fiscal year based on information provided in your funding application.

Ineligible expenses for operating funding include, but are not limited to:

  • alcohol
  • amortization
  • GST expenses
  • fundraising expenses
  • bad debt and other paper losses
  • capital expenses

The AFA or our authorized representative may examine your financial and other records to ensure funding was used for its intended purpose:

  • funding recipients must return unused portions of their grant to the AFA
  • we may require your organization to return funds if reporting requirements are not met
  • if you do not meet reporting requirements, your organization may be ineligible for further funding from the AFA for a period of three years from the time the delinquency is resolved

The AFA Fair Notice Policy applies to this funding opportunity:

  • we may cancel, suspend, reduce or demand repayment of your grant in circumstances where we are concerned with the viability of your organization

Funding Acknowledgement

Your organization must credit the AFA for financial support in any publicity prepared in relation to your organization’s activities, including electronic, print or visual material. 

  • if your organization fails to satisfy AFA recognition requirements, it may be subject to a 10% funding reduction in subsequent payments
  • subsequent infractions may result in ineligibility to apply for AFA funding opportunities

Download versions of the AFA logo and guidelines for usage.

Reporting

You are required to complete and submit satisfactory interim and final reports in GATE that demonstrates that funding awarded for the previous fiscal year was spent on the activities described in the application. If your organization does not intend to continue to seek AFA operating funding, you are still required to submit a final report.

Your organization’s interim and final reports are due November 1 each year of the three-year grant cycle. We must receive your online report through GATE no later than 11:59 pm Mountain Time, unless the deadline falls on a statutory holiday or a weekend when it will be extended until 11:59 pm on the next working day. Please give the system time to process your application so we receive notification of your submission before the deadline falls.

Interim Report

GATE online forms

  • CADAC number for your organization’s financial and statistical data that aligns with your organization’s most recent approved financial statements
  • operations and programming statistical information for the year aligning with your organization’s most recent approved financial statements

Attachments

  • your organization’s most recent annual financial statements including Balance Sheet, Statement of Revenues and Expenditures, and Statement of Cash Flows
    • up to $25,000 requires a financial statement approved and signed by three board members, including the treasurer
    • $25,001 to $50,000 requires a Notice to Reader financial statement provided by an independent, professionally designated accountan
    • $50,001 to $100,000 requires a Review Engagement statement provided by an independent, professionally designated accountant
    • More than $100,000 requires an Audited financial statement provided by an independent, professionally designated accountant
  • a copy of your organization’s confirmation of filing your most recent return from Alberta Corporate Registry
  • copies of related promotional and publicity materials for the previous year, showing compliance with recognition requirements
  • a material change report

Final Report 

Your organization’s final report, due by the three-year cycle application deadline of November 1, must include:

  • operations and programming statistical information for the year aligning with your organization’s most recent approved financial statements
  • listing of completed art activities report aligning with your organization’s most recent approved financial statements
  • sample of promotional and publicity materials for the previous year, showing compliance with AFA recognition requirements
  • your organization’s most recent approved financial statements with Balance Sheet, Statement of Revenue and Expenditures, and Statement of Cash Flows – information must be updated in CADAC
    • up to $25,000 requires a financial statement approved and signed by three board members, including the treasurer 
    • $25,001 to $50,000 requires a Notice to Reader financial statement provided by an independent, professionally designated accountant
    • $50,001 to $100,000 requires a Review Engagement statement provided by an independent, professionally designated accountant
    • More than $100,000 requires an Audited financial statement provided by an independent, professionally designated accountant
  • a material change report

Helpful resources

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