Fiscal Sponsorship allows ensembles or individuals who do not have 501(c)(3) status to raise tax-deductible funds for a new music event or project. The American Composers Forum (ACF) serves as the grant applicant on behalf of the individual, ensemble, or organization. If the grant is awarded, ACF receives the monies which are then disbursed to the individual or ensemble that pays the expenses according to the proposed budget.
The Forum is not obliged to be a fiscal sponsor but does so to enable artists or fledgling organizations to produce events. Being a fiscal sponsor is an additional burden of responsibility for the Forum. As fiscal sponsor the Forum is legally and ethically liable for the financial integrity of the project. We therefore require a complete and timely review of the project proposal before application is made as well as complete reports on expenditures from individuals and organizations participating in the program. These requirements assure the viability and integrity of the program to donors and/or potential donors.
The individual or ensemble is responsible for developing and presenting all proposals and budgets to the Forum for approval well in advance of the grant deadline. Once a grant is received, the individual or ensemble is responsible for (1) administering the funds in accordance with the budgets set forth in the proposal; (2) complying with all federal, state and local tax and employment laws; (3) providing written final narrative and expenditure reports to the Forum within thirty days after the end of the project or grant period. The fee for this service is 6% of funds received on behalf of the grantee ($300 minimum).
- ACF will consider fiscal sponsorship for an individual or ensemble only if the applicant’s grant proposals to potential funders do not compete with ACF’s pending or planned requests. The Forum generally does not act as fiscal sponsor for requests to individuals or blanket appeals.
- ACF considers serving as a fiscal sponsor for individuals and/or an ensemble whose work is related to some area of ACF’s mission (e.g. ACF would consider sponsoring a new music ensemble, but not a dance company).
- ACF will serve as a fiscal sponsor for ensembles without a 501(c)(3) designation if the ensemble has been formed ad hoc to produce or perform new work. In this situation, ACF will serve as its fiscal sponsor for one year or for two projects. If the ensemble is planning to apply to the IRS for 501(c)(3) tax status during the period of the fiscal sponsorship, the application must be submitted to ACF at the same time it is submitted to the IRS. ACF will serve as fiscal sponsor only until provisional 501(c)(3) status is received from the IRS, or for a period of one year.
- Once granted preliminary acceptance by ACF, the applicant must review all proposals and budgets with ACF’s President and/or VP of Finance so that the ACF staff fully understands the project and thinks the budget applications are reasonable and realistic. ACF at this point has the right to withdraw its offer to serve as fiscal sponsor.
- ACF may also offer suggestions for changes to the program and/or budget. If the requester does not accept and incorporate these suggested changes, he/she/they may be asked to find another fiscal sponsor.
- In most cases, the Forum will hold the funds granted and distribute them to the grantee on an as needed basis. As the funds are needed the grantee will provide the Forum with a payment request detailing who the funds will be paid to and what portion of the approved budget these payments relate to.
- ACF will charge a fee of 6% of the total funds raised through ACF for the project (with a $300 minimum).
- ACF must be copied on all applicant’s funding requests, and all interim and final reports.
To apply for fiscal sponsorship, send a description of your proposed project, a budget and a list of prospective funders to:
American Composers Forum
Attn: Paul Hanson, VP of Finance and Administration
75 5th Street West, Suite 522
Saint Paul, MN 55102-1439
If you have questions about fiscal sponsorship or the application process, please email the VP of Finance and Administration: [email protected]