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Local arts alliance will award grants
Grant-writing workshop planned for March 26
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Forsyth County News

The grant-writing workshop is set for 10 a.m. March 26 at the Cumming-Forsyth County Chamber of Commerce Events Facility. Registration is required. Contact: (770) 887-6461 or For more information on application guidelines and to fill out forms, go online at
An old ally has resurfaced for local arts organizations.

Following a one-year hiatus, the Forsyth County Arts Alliance plans to award $50,000 in grants this spring.

“The board is extremely excited to have this opportunity, in this day and time, to pretty much give away $50,000,” said Brett Berto, alliance president.

The alliance was created from the $2 million sale of the Sawnee Cultural Arts Center to county government in 2005.

While the center was once used to help promote arts in the community, the remaining money has been invested in the North Georgia Community Fund.

Last year, Berto said, it wasn’t feasible to offer grants.

“The holdup has been when the market declined significantly last year ... we put a stipulation in the bylaws that if the fund fell below a certain point, we would be unable to give any additional grants until the value had gotten back to that particular point,” he said.

“The market rebounded and the fund came back very nicely and now we are in the position to grant up to $50,000.”

James McCoy was president of the alliance last year. He had to make the announcement that the group was holding off on grant money.

“We were extremely disappointed that we were not able to do this last year,” McCoy said. “And particularly in a year we know organizations were very much in need of funding.

“But we are very, very excited about the opportunity to make the funding available this year.”

The money will be split between about seven organizations.

In 2008, grant money went to school programs, a concert band, ballet program and the county’s parks and recreation department, among others.

Given the year off and the still struggling economy, Berto said the board is “expecting some very creative grant requests.”

“It will be interesting to see how many additional grant requests we receive this year compared to two years ago,” he said.

Because applications can be a daunting task, a grant-writing workshop will be held March 26 to help guide organizations through the process.

The board will announce the grant recipients June 18, with funds going out to recipients a month later.

Any nonprofit organization looking for assistance has until April 19 to send a letter of intent to apply. A full grant application is due by May 7.