Important Information

NOTE: This is the only funding round in 2021. There will not be another application round in 2021.

Application Deadline

Friday, May 14, 2021
4:00 PM

Applicant Interviews

TBD

Earliest Project Start Date

August 1, 2021

Latest Project End Date

December 31, 2022

Minimum grant request: $5,000. One-to-one match required.

Please review these guidelines carefully to determine whether your group and project are eligible for funding from the Cultural STAR Program, and to learn how to apply.

Contact our staff with questions and for support.

Program Coordinator: Nora Riemenschneider
Nora.riemenschneider@ci.stpaul.mn.us, 651-266-6638

 

Program Description

Purpose, Funding Goals, and Strategies

The purpose of the Cultural STAR fund is to promote cultural vitality and economic growth, particularly in the downtown Cultural District, by strengthening the arts and culture community.

Cultural STAR dollars, are intended to:

  • Build and diversify audiences;
  • Promote a broad range of cultural offerings;
  • Produce a long-term impact; and
  • Leverage additional financial support.

The Cultural STAR Program will achieve these purposes by making grants and loans for projects and programs that: attract audiences; develop and improve cultural facilities; and build capacity of artists and cultural organizations.

Geographic Focus

At least 80% of Cultural STAR funds will be awarded to nonprofit organizations that are located within the targeted area known as the Cultural District of downtown Saint Paul.

The remaining 20% of funds may be allocated to:

  • Businesses located in the Cultural District for projects that enhance visitor enjoyment of the Cultural District; or
  • Nonprofit organizations located in Saint Paul but outside of the Cultural District.

The Cultural District is defined as the geographic area bordered by Interstate 94 to the north, the Lafayette Bridge to the east, Harriet and Raspberry Islands to the south, and Chestnut Road to the west.

Located in the Cultural District includes:

Located in Saint Paul includes:

  • An organization that is registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State with an address that  falls within Saint Paul; or
  • An organization owns property in Saint Paul for purposes directly related to its Cultural STAR project; or
  • An organization that has secured a lease or rental agreement within Saint Paul for the purposes directly related to its Cultural STAR project; or
  • An organization has secured a permit or contract for the use of Public Venues in Saint Paul for the purpose directly related to its Cultural STAR Project.

Loans and grants are available for capital projects; grants alone are available for organizational development and special projects.

Organizational Development Program Description

The Organizational Development program provides grants for projects designed to strengthen the management, administration, or operations of the recipient organization.  Such activities must 1) advance the mission of your group, and 2) have the potential for significant or long-term impact.  The intent of the program is to challenge the organization, infuse new thinking, develop new systems, or strengthen existing systems to further the group’s growth and development.

Estimated available funding in 2021

 

 In Cultural District

Other Funds

Total

$  788,000

$  265,000

Eligibility

Eligible applicants may apply for only one of the following Cultural STAR funding types during each funding round: Special Projects Grant; Organizational Development Grant; or Capital Project Grant or Loan. Grants can be received only once per calendar year.

Saint Paul-based nonprofit arts and cultural organizations located outside of the Cultural District may apply twice per round, and may receive funding up to two times per calendar year – once for projects taking place outside of the Cultural District and once for projects taking place in the Cultural District.

Applicant groups must be one of the following:

  • Nonprofit arts and cultural organizations that are located within the City of Saint Paul.
  • Informal and/or unincorporated arts-focused groups, individuals, and one-time arts projects that have associated with nonprofit arts and cultural organizations that are located within the City of Saint Paul and will serve as a fiscal and contract sponsor, provided that: (1) 100% of the project takes place in the Cultural District; and (2) such nonprofit arts and cultural organization enter into a contract with the City of Saint Paul.
  • Businesses in the Cultural District may apply for projects that enhance visitor enjoyment of the District.
  • City departments or divisions are eligible when in partnership with, or supported by, an eligible organization.

The following are not eligible to apply:

  • Churches or religious organizations
  • Political parties and related political action groups.
  • Federal, state, and county agencies and departments.
  • Organizations (other than those that have associated with informal and/or unincorporated arts-focused groups, individuals, and one-time arts projects, to serve as fiscal and contract sponsor as described in these Guidelines) that have received Organizational Development and/or Special Project grants in three consecutive grant cycles (calendar years).
  • Organizations (other than those that have associated with informal and/or unincorporated arts-focused groups, individuals, and one-time arts projects, to serve as fiscal and contract sponsor as described in these Guidelines) that received funding in the first funding round of the calendar year.

Project Funding – Eligible Expenses and Match Requirements

Funding Request Requirements

  • The minimum grant request is $5,000. It is unlikely that the Board will recommended funding any proposal for more than $50,000.
  • The same or similar proposal cannot be submitted to more than one of the following programs in any one funding cycle (calendar year): the Capital Improvement Budgeting (CIB) program, the Neighborhood STAR program, and the Cultural STAR program.
  • Organizations receiving grants must comply with all federal, state, and local laws, rules, and regulations in connection with the project, including but not limited to, the Saint Paul Vendor Outreach Program (VOP). It is important to understand that compliance requirements may affect hiring practices and wage rates, so make no commitments prior to fully understanding these requirements.

What this program funds / how you can use the grant funds:

  • Any project cost that specifically pertains to the execution of the project:

    • Personnel

      • Consultants
      • Employees
      • Contractors
    • Supplies
    • Printing and postage
    • Space and equipment rental
    • Transportation and travel
    • Other expenses necessary to carry out the project

What this program does not fund:

  • Activities located outside the City of Saint Paul
  • Activities that have been delivered in the same way and for the same purpose on an ongoing basis
  • Activities that have been completed prior to eligible project start date of August 1, 2021, or after the eligible project end date of December 31, 2022
  • Capital improvements or construction, purchase of real capital equipment or purchase of real property or endowments
  • Activities that engage in political lobbying, serve the religious socialization of participants, or discriminate against persons or individuals
  • Food or beverages
  • Expenses related to insurance coverage

Disbursement of Funds / Match Requirements

  • Upon execution of a grant agreement that outlines a finalized project budget and scope of work, 80% of the grant funds will be disbursed.
  • Final payment of the remaining 20% will be made only after the project is completed and a final project report that includes the following documentation is received and approved:
    • Final narrative report
    • Documentation of expenses charged to Cultural STAR grant
    • Documentation of match funding
    • Documentation of project having taken place, including proof of proper recognition given to Cultural STAR program-support.
  • In their final report, the grantee receiving funds for Organizational Development or Special Projects should demonstrate that Cultural STAR funds were matched dollar for dollar.
    • At least 70% of the match for Special Projects and Organizational Development projects must be in dollars.
    • Up to 30% of the match may be in-kind goods and services, such as personnel, professional services, office space, supplies, volunteer labor and sweat equity.
      • Volunteer labor and sweat equity are valued at $15.00 per hour.
  • Private, county, state and federal funds may be used as a match.
  • The Cultural STAR Board has the discretion to recommend approval of other matching contributions on a case-by-case basis.  The Cultural STAR Board may consider exceptions to the match requirement in highly unusual cases.

Review Process

Cultural STAR Board

The nine-member Saint Paul Cultural STAR Board serves as the formal review body that recommends to the Mayor grants and loans from the cultural portion of sales-tax funds. The Mayor then forwards a recommendation to the City Council for its approval. The Board consists of nine Mayoral-appointed, City Council-approved members.

Review Process

The selection process for proposals is highly competitive.  The number and size of grants made is dependent on the quality of the proposals and the availability of funding.  The review process is as follows:

  • City Staff will review applications for eligibility.  Ineligible applications will be removed from further consideration and the applicant will be notified.
  • The Board will invite each eligible applicant to an interview. Applicants will be notified by email of the time and location of the interview.

    Cultural STAR interviews are public meetings but no public testimony will be taken.  Individuals wishing to comment on applications are encouraged to submit their comments in writing to City staff prior to the application deadline.

  • The Board will review the proposals based on program guidelines, merits, and fund availability and make funding recommendations to the Mayor and City Council.
  • The Mayor will present final recommendations to the City Council.
  •  The City Council will approve, deny, or amend the Mayor’s recommendations.
  • The Mayor will sign the Council Resolution.

The entire process usually takes about three months from application deadline to the signing of the resolution by the Mayor, but may take longer.

Expectations of Grant Recipients

Project Development and Implementation

  • After the City Council approves the Mayor’s recommendations, staff will notify each Cultural STAR applicant if their project was awarded funding, and if so, for what amount. They will also notify awardees of an orientation meeting and other pertinent contracting information.
  • Prior to the implementation of an applicant’s project, the City of Saint Paul will enter into a contract. Contracts should be fully executed within six months of approval by the City Council. Failure to do so may result in cancellation of the award. The contract will contain, at a minimum, a scope of services to be performed by all parties, a budget section outlining all funding sources and uses, an implementation timeline, and match requirements outlined in a Statement of Work. The contract will be signed in accordance with City policy. Contract requirements include, but are not limited to:

Cultural STAR applicants are strongly cautioned to not make any commitments until compliance requirements and funding regulations are fully understood.

  • Implementation must progress as projected in the application.  Lack of progress is grounds for withdrawing funding.
  • Projects should be completed or self-sustaining within the period specified in the agreement.  Requests for contract extensions are discouraged.
  • Upon execution of a grant agreement that outlines the finalized project budget and scope of work, 80% of the grant funds will be disbursed.
  • Final payment of the remaining 20% will be made only after the project is completed and a final project report that includes the following documentation is received and approved:
    • Final narrative report
    • Documentation of expenses charged to Cultural STAR grant
    • Documentation of match funding
    • Documentation of project having taken place, including proof of proper recognition given to Cultural STAR program-support
  • At the time of completion of all activities contained in the agreement or upon expiration of the agreement, project fund balances will be returned to the Cultural STAR Fund.
  • A final project report is required to determine the extent to which the project was successful.  Project success will be measured against expected project outcomes and the overall objectives of the STAR Program. Organizations will not be eligible for future Cultural STAR funding until all required documentation, including this final project report, are submitted for the most recently closed projects.

Application Process

Applications must be submitted through the online application website Zoomgrants by 4:00 PM on the deadline date.  Applications not received by this time will not be accepted.  Press the APPLY button on the website or go to https://www.zoomgrants.com/zgf/CulturalSTAR_2021

  • Be sure to read all sections of the Zoomgrants application, including instructions, requirements, etc.
  • Your application must include all required materials.  All questions must be answered. Incomplete or inaccurate materials may result in your application being ineligible.

Information Sessions will be held at the beginning of each application round to provide program information to prospective applicants. Check the website for dates and locations: www.stpaul.gov/culturalSTAR

City staff is able to provide technical assistance to applicants to help insure a complete and viable application.

Overview of ZoomGrants Application

  • “Application Summary” tab

    • Project name and amount requested
    • Applicant Information
    • Organization Information
  • “Application Questions” tab
    • Project Summary (questions 1-4)

      • Embed a short YouTube video of your project if you’d like
      • Type of Cultural STAR application (i.e. Special Projects, Organizational Development, Capital)
      • Brief project summary
      • Organization entity type and fiscal sponsor information
    • Capital Project Questions (questions 5-8) – questions will not show up if not a Capital Project
    • Detailed Project Information (questions 9-14)
      • Details about your project, including location, schedule, and anticipated audience description.
    • Narrative Questions (questions 15-17)
    • Organization Information (questions 18-25)
      • Details about organization type, operating budget, employees, patrons, past City financial support
  • “Project Budget” tab
    • Project Income
    • Project Expenses
    • Project Budget Narrative
  • “Required Application Documents” tab
    • Applicant Description
    • Board of Directors/Advisory Committee
    • Organizational Income and Expense Statements for the past three years
    • Audited Financial Statements (or form 990) for most recent fiscal year
    • Letter of intent from Fiscal Sponsor, if applicable
    • Supporting documents (optional)
    • Photos/drawings for capital projects (optional)

Instructions for Narrative Question 15

Question 15. Provide a narrative of your proposed project in about 300 words (no more than 2000 characters), addressing the four Cultural STAR criteria, as listed in the guidelines: Impact, Quality, Ability, and Diversity.

The following questions are designed to help you address the criteria. It is not necessary to respond to all of the bullets. Please provide enough information to help the Board evaluate your project in relation to each of the four criteria.  The Board will apply all criteria to the application as a whole.

Impact – When describing the impact of your project, consider questions such as:

  • How will this project build audiences in Saint Paul?
  • Describe your target audience(s) and the community from which it is drawn.  What is your expected attendance? 
  • How will this project provide increased access to art forms and cultural offerings in Saint Paul?
  • What type of long-term impact will this project have on Saint Paul?
  • How will STAR dollars leverage additional financial support in Saint Paul?

Quality – When describing the quality of your project, consider questions such as:

  • What are your artistic and/or cultural goals for this project? How will you measure them?
  • Who are, or will be, the artists and project leaders? How were, or will, they be selected?
  • What background or experience do your group, artists, and project leaders bring to this project to ensure quality?
  • In what ways will your project be artistically or culturally challenging for your group, the artists, the audience, or all three?

Ability – When describing your ability to undertake the project, consider questions such as:

  • Describe the planning process for your project.
  • In what ways will your board of directors or advisory committee be involved?
  • What experience does your organization have that demonstrates the capacity for successfully completing this project?
  • What is the timeline for your project?
  • How will you promote your project?
  • What other financial support do you expect for this project?

Diversity – When describing diversity, consider questions such as:

  • How will this project diversity the cultural offerings in Saint Paul?
  • Considering diversity in its broadest sense (e.g., geography, age, gender, socioeconomic status, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, etc.) describe in what ways your project will attract, and more fully embrace, diverse audiences.
  • As you consider your project’s goals and targeted audiences, describe how diversity is represented in your project (e.g., among your board of directors or advisory committee, project personnel, and/or artists).

Fiscal Sponsorship Requirements

The Cultural STAR Program accepts applications from informal and / or unincorporated arts-focused groups using a fiscal sponsor. A fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that receives Cultural STAR grant monies and manages the financial aspects of the project on behalf of a group that does not have tax-exempt status. Groups or artists in the district that are incorporated as for-profit entities (LLC, etc) MUST apply directly to the Cultural STAR program, without a fiscal sponsor.

Fiscal Sponsorship guidelines:

  • 100% of the applicant’s project must take place in the Cultural District.
  • The fiscal sponsor must be a 501c3 nonprofit arts organization located in Saint Paul.
  • The applicant must have a board of directors or advisory committee (not the board of the fiscal sponsor) that provides input on, and oversight of, the project.
  • The applicant must provide a letter of agreement from the fiscal sponsor regarding the application to the STAR program. The letter must include the amount or percentage of the fiscal sponsorship fee (if any).
  • The applicant should include the fiscal sponsorship fee (if any) as part of their project budget.

A 501c3 may serve as fiscal sponsor for multiple projects in any STAR round; the board will consider the project, organization or group and its advisory board with the same criteria as all other STAR applicants.

Glossary

Closed project – A STAR-funded project that has taken place, and where all reports and documentation have been submitted and approved, and all eligible grant funds have been paid out to the grantee

Cultural District – A City of Saint Paul-defined geographic area of downtown Saint Paul within which the Cultural STAR program is targeted by requiring that 80% of the funds be granted in this area

Fiscal sponsor - A nonprofit, tax-exempt organization that receives Cultural STAR grant monies and manages the financial aspects of the project on behalf of a group that does not have tax-exempt status

Project Start Date - The date of the project event or performance, and the date on or after which incurred expenses that are charged to the Cultural STAR grant are allowed

Project End Date – The date by which the project has been completed and no additional expenses that are charged to the Cultural STAR grant are incurred

Statement of Work – A form filled out by the grantee and reviewed and approved by City staff that is attached to the grant agreement and that outlines the approved project’s scope of work, timeline, location and budget

Last Edited: August 24, 2021