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Douglas County CARES Arts, Culture and Entertainment Program FAQ

Where does the funding come from for the Douglas County Arts, Culture and Entertainment Program?

The funding for this program comes from $166 million in federal Coronavirus Relief Funds awarded to Douglas County as part of the federal CARES Act. Douglas County has contracted with the Omaha Community Foundation to assist in developing and administering this grant program on behalf of the county, consistent with federal and state requirements.

How does my organization apply for this funding?

All applications will be processed through the Omaha Community Foundation’s online grant portal, which can be accessed at: https://omahafoundation.org/caresace.

How much will be awarded?

Douglas County has allocated $10 million to the Douglas County CARES Arts, Culture and Entertainment Program.

Who is eligible to apply?

Applicants must be 501(c)(3) charitable organizations located in Douglas County; and, consistent with the CARES Act, must demonstrate that they incurred or will incur necessary expenditures due to the COVID-19 public health emergency between March 1 and December 30, 2020. Further eligibility details are described below.

How is an arts, culture, and entertainment organization defined for purposes of this grant application?

Eligible arts, culture and entertainment organizations are those Douglas County organizations that are open to the public and devote a significant portion of its programming and budget to arts, culture, and entertainment activities, events, exhibitions and performances.

How much is my organization eligible to apply for?

Your organization is eligible to request an amount equal to eligible incurred expenditures and estimated future expenditures due to COVID-19 from March 1, 2020 through December 30, 2020, less insurance proceeds or any other federal, state, local government, of other funding, or that your organization anticipates receiving, to meet these same needs and /expenditures.

Due to the great need for funds, however, the Douglas County CARES Arts, Culture and Entertainment Program may not meet 100 percent of the sector’s need.

What counts as an expenditure due to COVID-19?

A wide range of expenditures due to the public health emergency may be eligible for this funding. Examples include, but are not limited to, the following:


  • Expenses for acquisition and distribution of medical and protective supplies, including sanitizing products and personal protective equipment
  • Expenses for cleaning and disinfection of facilities
  • Expenses for tools and supplies to support social distancing and related practice and service delivery changes necessary to mitigate the risks of COVID 19 transmission in public facilities and events
  • Limited facility capital projects approved in advance to specifically mitigate the spread of COVID 19 during this public health emergency.  Please contact OCF staff at covid19@omahafoundation.org for prior approval before including these in the request.

Guidance of allowable expenses can be found in the Treasury Department’s CARES Act Guidance FAQs.

Are salary costs or business loss considered allowable expenses?  

Unfortunately, nonprofit salary expenses and losses associated with business closure or reduction are not allowable under the guidelines interpreted by Douglas County.

How can my organization demonstrate expenditures related to COVID-19?

To start determining your eligible expenditures please complete this worksheet. If you need further assistance, please email covid19@omahafoundation.org.

Is this a first-come-first-served program?

There will be no priority afforded to those who apply early. All applications received by the September 23, 2020 deadline will be considered equally.

How will I know if my organization’s application has been received by the Omaha Community Foundation?

Organizations will receive a confirmation to the email address associated with its account in the grant application portal. If an email confirmation is not received, organizations can check on the status of the application in the account application portal under the “Submitted” menu. If you continue to have concerns over whether an application has been submitted, please contact us at covid19@omahafoundation.org.

How much can applicants expect to receive?

Award size will depend on the total requested by all applicants. It is expected that total requests will exceed the $10 million in available funding. Thus, it is likely that organizations awarded funding will receive less than their full requested amount.

Who will decide which organizations receive funding?

A Fund Committee of the Omaha Community Foundation will make program awards from all approved applications.

Who will disburse these grants?

The Omaha Community Foundation will disburse program funds directly to approved non-profit organizations receiving an award.

If an organization is awarded funding, for what purpose can these grants be used?

Based on current guidance, if funding is awarded for past eligible expenditures then grant dollars are treated as reimbursement. If funding is awarded for future projected expenses, then it must be used specifically for those expenses.

Is there a deadline for the grant funds to be expended?

The language of the CARES Act requires that all expenses must be incurred by or before December 30, 2020, to be allowable as the basis for an award. Money awarded for estimated expenses must be spent by December 30, 2020. Funds not expended by this deadline are required to be returned.

When will these grant dollars be distributed?

Awards will be made announced in October and funds will be distributed via an e-check system. Organizations will be required to have a completed SAM.gov registration and to have submitted a subrecipient agreement signed by an authorized officer of the organization via OCF’s electronic grant portal before the e-check is issued.

Who is ineligible to apply for this program?

The following organizations are NOT eligible to apply for this funding:

  • For-profit entities
  • Organizations that are 501(c)(4)s or 501(c)(6)s
  • Healthcare organizations
  • Schools K-12 including charter, public, and private
  • Booster clubs
  • Municipalities, municipal subdivisions, or other government agencies
  • Colleges or universities
  • Assisted living and retirement communities
  • Grant-making foundations
  • Trade associations
  • Credit unions
  • Insurance trusts
  • Entities that exist solely to administer scholarship funds and programs
  • Country clubs, golf clubs, other private clubs
  • Cemetery trusts and associations
  • Fraternal orders

What if my organization is eligible to apply for other CARES Act funds, but only for a small portion of our broad array of programs?

We recognize that some non-profits provide a broad range of programs and services. If an organization has experienced significant COVID 19 related expenditures adversely impacting arts, culture, and entertainment programs that the organization may apply to the Douglas County CARES Arts, Culture, and Entertainment Assistance Program for the portions of its COVID 19 related expenses that are not being funded through in other Federal, State, local government, insurance or other funding programs. The application should be completed with focus only on the arts, culture, and entertainment-related expenses. All calculations must separate out programs that were funded for other CARES Act Funds. See worksheet included in the application for more guidance.

Are faith-based or religious organizations eligible to apply?

Religious organizations are eligible solely with regard to any nonsectarian programs or services that are offered to the general public without regard to faith, affiliation, religious belief or practice, and that benefits the larger community. E.g. a church runs a food pantry that is open to all in need, without regard to their church membership or adherence to any particular religious beliefs or practices. Costs of the food pantry, but not the other aspects of the church such as worship and religious instruction, may form the basis of an application.

What if my organization is headquartered outside of Douglas County, Nebraska?

Funding under this program is only available to support work taking place in Douglas County for Douglas County residents by organizations that have both paid/volunteer staff and a mailing address within Douglas County boundaries. The application should be completed with a focus only on Douglas County-specific work, and all financial submissions must separate out Douglas County activities from overall work.

What if we are headquartered inside of Douglas County, Nebraska, but also work in other counties or states?

The application should be completed with a focus only on Douglas County-specific work.

What if my organization received a PPP loan or other federal funds (for example the state of Nebraska’s Community Cares funding), or expects to receive other federal funds? Am I still eligible to apply?

Yes, however you will be asked to specify how much you received, or expect to receive from other federal, state, local government, insurance proceeds or other funding received for these expenses. There is no “double dipping” — this program can fund only remaining expenses not covered by other financial assistance programs. In the application you will be asked to provide information on federal, state, local government and other funding you have received to cover COVID- related expenses between March 1-December 30, 2020.

If I am awarded a grant from the Douglas County CARES Fund, what will be required to receive the funds?

It is required that organizations complete a registration on SAM.gov. View information on how to do this here. This registration and your organization’s federal debarment status will be verified during the Omaha Community Foundation’s due diligence process. More information on what debarment means can be found here. Finally, the Omaha Community Foundation is also in the process of finalizing grant and service agreements that any fund recipient would be required to sign and uphold. As soon as they are available, the agreements will be posted.

What if my organization has a pending application for other federal funds, but we do not yet know whether or how much other federal funding we may receive?

According to the CARES Act and related federal guidance, expenses that have been or will be reimbursed under any other federal program are ineligible for payment with these funds. Your organization will be required to manage this federal grant in concert with any other federal funding you may receive. If you subsequently receive other federal funds to reimburse for some of the same expenses that are the basis for a grant received under this program, you will be required to return any duplicative funds.

What kind of reporting will be required as a recipient of these funds?

Organizations being funded will be required to submit quarterly reports and a final program report to Omaha Community Foundation demonstrating all necessary and eligible business expenditures the funds were used for as of the reporting period. The final report will be due January 5, 2021. All expenditures must have been incurred between March 1, 2020 and December 30, 2020. Supporting receipts, invoices, bills and other similar documents or accounting records will be requested as part of the reporting process. Organizations should also maintain these records for seven years, per guidance from the Department of Treasury, as they may also be required to produce these materials as part of a future audit.

What criteria will be used to assess grant applications and determine how much funding applicants receive?

Applications will first be evaluated as to basic program eligibility, and whether they have documented allowable expenses under the CARES Act. This program will fund nonprofits across a broad range of program areas. The amount of funding awarded, assuming that total requests exceed available funds, will also take into account the following criteria:

  • Populations served by the organization
  • Communities served by the organization

There will be priority in allocating funding for applicant organizations serving vulnerable populations, those operating in low income communities, and those with a strong demonstrated track record of impact. Such priority weighting is expected to inform the scale of recommended awards, rather than whether an applicant is recommended for an award. Again, we encourage all arts, culture, and entertainment eligible nonprofits with COVID 19 needs to apply.

Are financial audits required for this grant program?

No financial audit is required for application to this program. However, nonprofits that receive and expend more than $750,000 in combined federal funds in any fiscal year, including any grant received under this Douglas County CARES Fund, or under other CARES Act programs, will be subject to a federal single audit. Learn more information about the requirement here.

Who do I call if I have a question about my application?

Email any question to covid19@omahafoundation.org — please be sure to include your contact information and your organization’s name in the subject line. For assistance, you may also call 402-884-0450.

Will the Omaha Community Foundation receive any of these funds?

Omaha Community Foundation will receive funds to cover administrative, legal, and audit services. The Omaha Community Foundation is responsible for administering this grant program, the reporting process, and the ongoing monitoring required with distributing the federal funding on behalf of Douglas County.

Can an organization apply for both the Douglas County CARES Fund and the Douglas County Arts Culture and Entertainment Fund?

An organization may only participate in one of the two Douglas County CARES programs. Only arts, culture, or entertainment non-profits are eligible to participate in the Douglas County CARES Art, Culture, and Entertainment Assistance Program. Other non-profits may be eligible to participate in the Douglas County CARES Not-for-Profit Assistance Program. If you have a question as to which program your organization should apply to, please email us at covid19@omahafoundation.org or call 402-884-0450 for assistance.

Community members have generously donated money to my organization to support similar work. Can the CARES funding be used instead?

Federal funding shall be used in addition to (supplementing), not in place of (supplanting), state, and local funds, including donations. Supplementing or extending the effort to do more is allowable; supplanting is NOT allowable with federal grants.

Some individuals that my organization serves are immigrants, refugees, and others with undocumented status. Can these funds be used to support these individuals?

Consistent with the regulations outlined in the CARES Act, recipients of support must be a U.S. citizen or qualified resident alien.

May recipients use Fund payments to remarket the recipient’s convention facilities and tourism industry?

Yes, if the costs of such remarketing satisfy the requirements of the CARES Act. Expenses incurred to publicize the resumption of activities and steps taken to ensure a safe experience may be needed due to the public health emergency. Expenses related to developing a long-term plan to reposition a recipient’s convention and tourism industry and infrastructure would not be incurred due to the public health emergency and therefore may not be covered using payments from the Fund.


Questions? We’re here to help.
Anne Meysenburg

Director of Community Investment
(402) 884-0450

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