Artistic Vitality – Lowcountry – Strategy and Guidelines


We support a wide spectrum of arts groups that reflect the vitality and diversity of the Lowcountry in Horry, Georgetown, Berkeley, Dorchester, Charleston, Colleton, Hampton, Jasper, and Beaufort Counties. We provide general operations grants to arts organizations and county arts councils, as well as other assistance to support, strengthen and connect the Lowcountry arts ecosystem.


Support Across The Lowcountry

The Lowcountry includes some of the fastest growing areas on the eastern seaboard, as well as a variety of smaller cities, towns and rural communities, all with a rich history in a compelling landscape. That richness also is reflected in the art produced across our entire mission geography.

Charleston is the hub of Lowcountry arts, from its vibrant, locally produced music, theater, and dance to its internationally-heralded festivals. Year round, dozens of arts organizations are creating new works, not only on the Peninsula but in adjacent communities from West Ashley to Summerville to Park Circle.

Beyond Charleston, artistic expression highlights the rich cultural fabric of the Lowcountry in many different ways, with small professional arts organizations in towns such as Georgetown and Beaufort and county arts councils from Horry to Hampton providing outlets for arts and culture in their communities. Gullah arts organizations are also protecting and preserving the iconic and endangered expression of the traditions and experiences of the African-American culture.

To Support With Few Restrictions

Unrestricted general operations grants are the lifeblood of arts organizations, big or small. It allows them the flexibility to spend those dollars where they see the greatest need or opportunity. We target our funding to arts organizations across the nine counties whose primary focus is making and sharing art in all its forms, rather than arts education. We currently place no limit on the budget size of an organization.

To Strengthen Arts Organizations

It takes training, discipline and often years of experience to master one’s art. Just as challenging, just as important, is mastering the art of running an arts organization. Stronger, more efficient operations tend to allow more time, attention and resources to go toward the art itself.

Need help with QuickBooks? Want to take a board development workshop? Each of the arts groups we support with general operations grants will be eligible for additional grant support per calendar year as opportunities are available for classes, workshops, etc., that help them address specific organizational needs.

To Connect the Arts Ecosystem

We believe that it’s important for the Foundation to not only support the arts but to help foster a larger network, from state and local governments to businesses, and also play a role in the success of our arts community. The Foundation will continue to meet with and sometimes convene diverse stakeholders to build consensus on common priorities for the arts, and provide opportunities for artists to continue to connect with each other.



  • You must be a 501(c)(3) public charity.
  • You must be in compliance with your Secretary of State.
  • You must have completed at least one full fiscal year of operations and one full production season before applying.
  • You must demonstrate or strongly promise artistic vitality. We take into account how much programming an organization offers and the degree of professionalism, factoring in the artistic discipline, budget size and where an organization happens to be in its evolution.
  • We must see your work before we can consider a grant. Please contact us at 843-972-7187 as soon as you know your performance schedule and let us know that you’re interested in applying.
  • If you’re applying for the first-time or are a first-time arts service organization – one that supports arts organizations, rather than individual artists – please contact us at 843-972-7187 before starting an application.

The following are not eligible:

  • Individuals.
  • Organizations with a mission primarily focused on arts education or social service.
  • Religious activities, political campaigns, or legislative lobbying.
  • Stand-alone conferences, publications, films, events, websites, or videos.
  • Endowments, capital projects, facilities or building campaigns, or debt reduction.

Professional Arts Organizations & Arts Councils are eligible for general operations grant amounts based on annual expenses for the most recently completed calendar or fiscal year.


  • Professional Arts Organizations | Annual Expenses

    • $0 – $100,000
    • $100,000 – $400,000
    • $400,000 – $750,000
    • $750,000 – $1 Million
    • $1 Million +

  • Professional Arts Organizations | Grant Amount

    • $5,000
    • $10,000
    • $15,000
    • $20,000
    • $25,000


  • Arts Councils | Annual Expenses

    • $0 – $50,000
    • $50,000 – $100,000
    • $100,000 – $200,000
    • $200,000 – $500,000

  • Arts Councils | Grant Amounts

    • $5,000
    • $10,000
    • $20,000
    • $25,000


New applicants – 

  • We have to see your work before you can apply. All potential grantees should contact Ame Gasque, Lowcountry Program Associate, at or (843) 972-7187 with your intent to apply, any questions you have about the application, and upcoming dates for performances/ shows/ exhibits.
  • The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation has two grant cycles each year. Our 2024 proposal deadlines are Friday, March 29 (Spring Cycle) and Friday, July 26th (Fall Cycle).
    • All proposal applications will be available in our grantee portal 6 weeks before the deadline.

Current grantees – 

  • You will receive a link via email to a reapplication form a month ahead of the deadline noted in your award letter.
  • Log into the portal to access your forms. 
  • The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation has two grant cycles each year. Our 2024 proposal deadlines are Friday, March 29 (Spring Cycle) and Friday, July 26 (Fall Cycle).
    • All proposal applications will be available in our grantee portal 6 weeks before the deadline. For questions about your organization’s grant cycle please contact Ame Gasque, Lowcountry Program Associate.
  • Progress reports due dates are outlined in each award letter. Reports will be posted to the grantee portal 6 weeks before the due date.
  • For more information about reporting, technical assistance, and other tools, check out the Current Grantees page.


For questions about eligibility or other aspects of Lowcountry Artistic Vitality grants, contact Ame Gasque.