Martha Kate Thomas Fund for Artists Grant Guidelines

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The Martha Kate Thomas Fund for Artists was established in 2013 through a legacy gift to the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. Grants from this fund will be awarded to artists who live or work in Boulder County and who have unforeseen needs due to special circumstances. Grant awards will not exceed $3000.

Boulder County Arts Alliance is proud to administer this fund for the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County. Read the inspiring story behind this fund.


Unforeseen needs due to special circumstances may include loss of equipment or supplies, and unplanned expenses due to natural disaster, debilitating illness, accidents and more. Priority is given to applicants that are not eligible to file insurance claims or who may be eligible but coverage is inadequate to cover the loss.

Important Dates

  • Application deadlines are rolling.
    This grant opportunity will remain open until October 31, 2017, 5:00 pm. 
  • Funding cycle dates The project, purchase or request must take place within 18 months from the date the grant check is issued.

Persons, Organizations and Activities Funded

  • All applicants must be current with final reports from other grants received from BCAA. All applicants, when relevant, are encouraged to post your events to the BCAA calendar and make tickets available so that panelists may experience your work.
  • Organizations and individual artists must live or work in Boulder County. 501(c)(3) status is not required.
  • Individual artists must be at least 18 years old.

Persons, Organizations and Activities Not Funded

  • Organizations that practice discrimination of any kind
  • Organizations that influence legislation or support candidates for political office
  • Organizations that will use the grant money for prizes, scholarships or grants
  • Artists or organizations that have received a Martha Kate Thomas grant in the previous year
  • Projects primarily for academic or scholarly purposes
  • Deficit or debt elimination or endowments
  • Projects that will be complete before funding cycle begins

Examples of Unforeseen Needs Potentially Funded

Martha Kate Thomas loved art and she knew that the life of an artist is not always an easy one. The intention of the fund, which was established by a legacy gift from Martha Kate, is to help make the lives of artists a little easier as they may face financial challenges that others in traditional jobs may not. Martha Kate wanted to provide a resource for Boulder County artists so that they would not have to choose between paying for a prescription or purchasing art supplies, for example.

Please note that this is merely a list of some examples of needs that are eligible for grant assistance and may not include all potential needs eligible for grant assistance. If your need is not listed and you are unsure whether or not your need is eligible for a grant, please include it in your application.       

  • Not able to work due to illness or a loved one’s illness
  • Sudden increase in insurance costs (Grant proposal should address how the increased cost will be covered in the future.)
  • Sudden increase in rent (the Fund could potentially grant to help cover one month’s rent, for example)
  • Unable to pay entrance fees for a competition 
  • Loss of supplies due to theft, damage to studio, etc.
  • Purchase a piece of equipment integral to on-going production of one’s art, for example a printer
  • Modifying studio and/or repairs to supplies or tools, such as an instrument (modifications and/or repairs should improve safety, functionality, access, etc.)

Application Evaluation Criteria

All applications are reviewed and commented on by a multi-disciplinary panel using the application evaluation criteria listed below. Each panelist reviews and scores every application on his/her own; a panel meeting is called and all applications are reviewed by the panel as a whole. A final score is reached at the panel meeting and the top scoring applicants will be awarded grants for that cycle. Panelist comments are recorded and are available for applicants to review after the awards are announced.

Priority will be given to applicants whose written materials are well-crafted and portray excellence in their overall presentation. This would include:

  • accuracy of facts, figures, arithmetic
  • following directions, answering questions in a concise, thoughtful, well-written, readable manner
  • demonstration of track record of ability to complete projects through such efforts as effective planning, management and budgeting of the project and citing previous successes
  • artistic excellence of artists involved and merit of proposed activities
  • potential for community involvement and community benefit from proposed activities such as broadening audience reach, community or professional collaborations and partnerships.
  • showing evidence of filling a need within its organization or discipline
  • evidence of individual's need and detailed description of adverse circumstances

Application Process

Submit only one application per requesting individual or organization. Completed application consists of:

1) Completed online application. PAPER COPIES WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

2) Supplemental Material (required) - up to 5 attachments can be uploaded with your electronic application. If you have work samples on the web, you may include urls in your grant narrative or in an attached document.

Suggested attachments (hardcopy support materials will not be accepted):

  • Visual artists: include up to 5 images of your work
  • Writers and poets: include up to 5 examples/excerpts of your work
  • Film/media or performing artists – urls for about 3 minutes of your work
  • Professional profiles of key project participants – not to exceed two pages total
  • Letter(s) of intent if applicable from key collaborator(s)
  • Letters of recommendation, reviews or promotional pieces that support the project, and/or the ability to complete the project
  • Equipment purchase: may include photo and specs from online retailer

All proposals must be submitted electronically using the Martha Kate Thomas Fund for Artists Grant Proposal Form form on the BCAA website. Completed applications, must be submitted by 5:00 pm on the deadline date. The application will go offline at 5:01pm on the deadline date and can no longer be edited, downloaded or submitted at that point.


For additional information about the Martha Kate Thomas Fund for Artists grants and tips for submitting a successful proposal, call 303-447-2422.

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