Fiscal Sponsorship Application Guidelines

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Fiscal Sponsorship allows individual artists and cultural organizations without 501(c) 3 status that have at least one year of residency in Boulder County to apply to funders under the auspices of the Boulder County Arts Alliance, Inc., a 501(c) 3 nonprofit. Fiscal Sponsorship is an artist support service for grant awards and contributions to specific pre-approved artists or organizations intended for purposes directly related to the Boulder County Arts Alliance (BCAA) purpose as it appears in our Articles of Incorporation: The purpose/mission of the organization shall be to provide leadership and resources for arts organizations, artists, educators, and the community of Boulder County. And in our vision statement: To ensure that arts and culture thrive at the heart of our communities.

Fiscal Sponsorship requires that the Arts Alliance accept programmatic and fiscal responsibility for the applicant. Fiscal Sponsorship is therefore offered to members who demonstrate a high level of professional practice in the management of their endeavors.  Accordingly, the application is designed to provide the BCAA Fiscal Sponsorship Committee with sufficient information to determine whether or not to accept the Fiscal Sponsorship responsibilities on behalf of the applicant.


  1. Fiscal Sponsorship is an opportunity extended to Boulder County Arts Alliance members only. Membership does not guarantee approval for Fiscal Sponsorship, and the Arts Alliance reserves the right to revoke its Fiscal Sponsorship at any time if the member does not comply with Arts Alliance regulations for use of  that status.  If you are not currently a member, please fill out the membership form available on our website.
  2. Eligibility for Fiscal Sponsorship is determined through an application process (see below.)   Once approved, the member artist(s) or group remains eligible for sponsorship upon receipt of yearend report on activities due on January 31 unless there is a significant change in the name, mission/purpose, or personnel affiliated with the applicant. If this is the case or a year-end report is not filed, the application must be renewed.  BCAA has the exclusive authority, at its discretion, to determine what is “significant”. Each entity that is approved for Fiscal Sponsorship status MUST submit an annual report by January 31st. If this report is not received by the deadline, that entity’s Fiscal Sponsorship status will be revoked and deposit (see below) retained. Re-initiation of fiscal sponsorship status can only be obtained by submitting all reports due and possibly reapplying for said status.

  3.  BCAA Fiscal Sponsorship is not applicable for the purchase of goods or the receipt of services, and does not include such things as using BCAA's bulk mailing permit, BCAA sponsorships of facilities use, or use of BCAA to obtain liquor licenses. The Arts Alliance is not able to provide its tax-exempt status to members for the purpose of making purchases.

  4. Recipients are asked to seek counsel to review the tax ramification of the grants or contributions they receive through Fiscal Sponsorship to determine if such contributions are to be considered income and how to account for it on their tax returns.

  5.  Sponsored artists or organizations will not, and will not permit their projects to, participate or intervene in any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for public office, or otherwise engage in carrying on of propaganda (within the meaning of section 501 (c) 3 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986). The recipient and/or sponsored organizations are also responsible for abiding by the law as defined in the same section of the Internal Revenue Code.


  1. Applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. Please contact BCAA to schedule a coaching session prior to submitting the application.

  2. Complete and submit the Fiscal Sponsorship Application (attached) with all required support materials to the Arts Alliance office (2590 Walnut St., Suite 9, Boulder, CO 80302). Make certain you file a complete application with all required supporting materials and fees. (See application check list at the end of these guidelines and on the application.) Include a check made out to BCAA for the $50.00 application fee.  This fee does not include BCAA membership fees.  If you are not currently a member, please fill out and submit a membership form available on our web site.  

  3. The BCAA Fiscal Sponsorship Committee will review your application within three weeks after submission.
  4. The Arts Alliance will then notify you of the committee's decision. If approved, you will be required to schedule an orientation meeting. Once accepted into the program, you can receive individual donations and other contributions of restricted (project) and unrestricted (general operating) funds and apply for grant eligibility (see below) with BCAA acting as your Fiscal Sponsor.
  5. Incomplete applications will be rejected but can be resubmitted after consulting with a BCAA Fiscal Sponsorship committee member.


To receive individual donations and other contributions of general operating and project funds:

  1. You must first complete the Application Process above and be approved.
  2. A $100 deposit is required to assure receipt of the Annual Report and will be returned upon receipt of the Report or when you leave the program.
  3. Once approved for fiscal Sponsorship, you can receive unrestricted donations from individual donors either as part of a fundraising campaign or as an unexpected contribution.Checks should be made out to "Boulder County Arts Alliance” with your name, or the organization’s name in the memo field. Failure to have your name in the memo field will possibly result in the Arts Alliance assuming it is a direct donation to them.
  4. Donated funds will be re-granted, generally, on a weekly basis. In some cases, such as when the re-grant is for a relatively small amount, it may be more efficient to wait until more donations are received. 
  5. BCAA will re-grant 95% of the contributions to the sponsored artist or organization. The Arts Alliance will retain 5% for administrative expenses.
  6. If  the Annual Report is not received by the Arts Alliance within a year of your receiving re-granted funds, you will forfeit the $100 deposit, and your Fiscal Sponsorship status will be revoked.


To apply for a grant or other project funding requiring 501(c)(3) status:

  1. You must first complete the Application Process above and be approved. Note: Since approval for Fiscal Sponsorship can take 3 or more weeks, you need to plan ahead and be sure to obtain Fiscal Sponsorship approval well in advance of any grant deadline dates.
  2. Once approved for Fiscal Sponsorship, you may apply to the Arts Alliance to be sponsored for grants or funds that require 501(c) 3 status. To do this: Complete and submit a Fiscal Sponsorship Grant Review Application - at least 14 business days in advance of the funder's deadline - for each and every grant for which you would like to receive sponsorship. This form is available from the Boulder County Arts Alliance Fiscal Sponsorship webpage.
    1. Complete and submit to the Arts Alliance a Fiscal Sponsorship Grant Review Application at least 14 days in advance of the grant deadline.
    2. Include the support materials that are required by the funders. The applicant is responsible for reading and following all funder instructions and informing the BCAA staff of materials they are required to provide.

Note: You must complete a separate Fiscal Sponsorship Grant Review Application for every grant for which you would like Arts Alliance sponsorship.

  1. Members of the Arts Alliance Fiscal Sponsorship Committee and/or the Executive Director will review the grant proposal and the Executive Director will provide any Boulder County Arts Alliance organization materials required by the funders. It is then the responsibility of the applicant to complete the grant-submittal process by the grant deadline.
  2. If the grant is funded and upon receipt of the funder's check, BCAA will disburse the funds in accordance with the guidelines of the respective funder. BCAA will issue a check for 95% of the total grant amount; retaining 5% as an administrative fee.
  3. If the funder requires a final report, the final report (along with required support materials) must be submitted to the Arts Alliance office 10 business days in advance of the funder's deadline. The Arts Alliance Executive Director will review, and, depending on the requirements of the funder, either the Arts Alliance or the artist will sign and submit the original form and all support materials to the granting organization.

Below is a check list of support materials required to complete a Fiscal Sponsorship application:

For Individuals
For Organizations
  • Application/Contract
  • Resume
  • Three signed letters of reference
  • Completed IRS W-9 Form
  • Project budget
  • Proposed fundraising plan narrative
  • Last year’s tax return Schedule C
  • $50.00 application fee
  • Application/Contract
  • Financial Report from last completed fiscal year
  • Three signed letter of reference
  • List of Board of Directors
  • Articles of Incorporation
  • Completed IRS W-9 Form
  • Organization or project budget
  • Proposed fundraising plan narrative
  • $50.00 application fee
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