MCA supports local artists and nonprofit arts organizations with direct funding

Now Accepting Cultural Grant Applications

A key element of MCA’s mission is supporting local arts organizations with direct funding. Cultural grants are an important means to promote excellence in the creative sector and the cornerstone of MCA’s fund raising efforts.

Since its founding in 2002, MCA has awarded over $310,000 to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations through a competitive grant allocation process. These dollars have supported more than 125 arts initiatives within the creative community, resulting in the enhancement and expansion of their programming, in turn, enriching our community’s quality of life.

About MCA’s Cultural Grant Program

The Cultural Endowment Fund was established in 2001 and initially funded with proceeds from Horse Fever. The Fund provides direct support to Ocala/Marion County’s nonprofit arts organizations for programming, equipment, and initiatives. To date, $310,000 has been awarded to more than 35 different nonprofit arts organizations.

Each spring, MCA announces the release of the Cultural Grant Criteria and Application to the non profit arts community. Grants are available for all artistic disciplines, including music, theater, dance, visual arts, cinema, literary arts, folk arts, and photography. Historical and scientific museums may also apply.  

A committee of community volunteers, chaired by an MCA Board member, evaluates each grant utilizing the criteria in the application and guidelines. Following the evaluation and scoring process, the committee’s recommendations are reviewed by MCA Executive Committee and presented to the Board. Each year local arts organizations are awarded grants to enhance, expand, or support their product. The grants are formally awarded in the fall at Applaud the Arts, MCA’s annual showcase and celebration.

Current Recipients

Dance Alive National Ballet Company
Kingdom Under the Sun
Ocala Symphony Orchestra
Marion County Public Schools
College of Central Florida/Appleton Museum of Art
Insomniac Theatre Company
Ocala Civic Theatre

Marion Ballet Theatre

Ocala Film Foundation
Master the Possibilities, Inc.
Marion Chamber Music Society
Reilly Arts Center LLC
Marion All-County Choir
Residency Activities at Reilly Arts Center
Veterans Light the Stars
Bowie & Glass: A Symphonic Tribute
Staging a Coup: Students Storm Local Theaters and Revolutionize Learning
“La Diaspora: Keepers of the Heritage”
Avenue Q
In-school Touring of “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe”
“Keep the Magic in Christmas” special performance of “The Nutcracker Ballet”
Southern Arts- Southern Circuit of Independent Filmakers
Visiting Speaker Series
“Homegrown: Ensemble D’Amore”
The Manhattan Transfer
United in Song

Cultural Grant Recipient 2017 – 2018

Arts Organization

Project Title

Grant Amount

Dance Alive National Ballet, Inc. Residency Activities at Reilly Arts Center $500
Kingdom Under the Sun Concert Band Veterans Light the Starts $1,500
Marion Civic Chorale, Inc. We Salute Our Veterans $1,500
City of Ocala Ocala Outdoor Sculpture Competition Artist Honoraria $2,000
Marion County Public Schools Staging a Coup: Students Storm Local Theaters and Revolutionize Learning $2,000
Insomniac Theatre Company 2017 Shakespeare in the Park $3,000
Ocala Civic Theatre In-school touring of “Fit” by Kim Esop-Wylie $4,000
Marion Ballet Theatre Share the Magic of Christmas $2,500
Marion Chamber Music Society ENCORE: Gabrielle Chou $1,000
Magnolia Art Xchange Sponsorship of One Artist in Residency Studio $3,500*
Marion All-County Choir United in Song-Marion All-County Choir $1,500
Florida Center for the Blind Therapy Through the Arts Program $2,000

Past Recipients

African American Artfest
Appleton Museum of Art
Belleview Middle School Art Program
Boys and Girls Club of Marion County
Brick City Center for the Arts/College of Central Florida
Central Florida Symphony/Ocala Symphony Orchestra
City of Ocala-Cultural Event
Dance Ocala
Fine Arts for Ocala
Forest High School Wildcat Theatre Company
Gallery East
Grace Christian School
Insomniac Theatre Company
Madison Street Academy of Visual & Performing Arts
Marion Chamber Music Society
Marion Civic Chorale
Marion County Student Tile Project
Marion Performing Ballet
Ocala Civic Theatre
Ocala Storytelling Festival
Rainbow Springs Fine Arts Association
The Central Florida Master Choir
The Square Theatre*
Westport High School Theatre Arts

The Four Friends Grant  Fund

In honor of the Leadership Legacy of
Jim Copeland, Mack Dunwoody, E. L. Foster and an Anonymous Friend

The fund was established by MCA in October of 2015 as a permanent endowment, designed to generate income tosupport occasional one-time grant requests that fall outside the scope of timeline of MCA’s annual Cultural Grant awards.

The inspiration for this fund is the legacy of leadership created by four important community leaders. Through care and concern, words and deeds, over many years and across many institutions, Jim Copeland, Mack Dunwoody, E. L. Foster, and another friend  (who wished to remain anonymous) have impacted the lives of nearly every citizen residing in Ocala and Marion County.

Each of these Four Friends of MCA leaves a leadership legacy of his own, that when combined serve as an enormously inspirational example of those who may choose to follow in their footsteps of improving the quality of everyday life in our community. As close friends over the years, they inspired one another, with E. L. , Jim, and Mack even earning the nickname, “the Three Musketeers” as they had a reputation for coming to the rescue of so many good causes, including the seedlings of what grew to become MCA.

As stand out leaders of their generation, their support of improvements to education, city life, health, many recognized and continued. The open-minded supportiveness of new ideas and initiatives sets this group apart.

The spirit of this fund is designed to emulate that same act of encouragemetn of those seeking such from MCA. The Fund currently stands at $74,000. MCA will announce the grant program, criteria, and application in early 2019. Please consider donating to the 4 Friends Fund. Your contributions will fund individual MCA artist member grant requests for equipment and training..

Make a donation in honor someone who was always there for you,
just like the four friends were there for us and our community.

4 Friends Grant Eligibility Criteria

Eligibility Requirements

Individual artists, including arts educators, living and working in Ocala, Marion County, Florida

Current member of MCA

Applicant has not received a Four Friend Grant or a MCA Cultural Grant within the calendar year of the application

A final report on any prior Four Friends Grant Fund or a MCA Cultural grant was received by MCA

Eligible Projects

Applications may include requests for:

Registration costs for professional workshops or conferences

Artist residencies

Specialized equipment necessary for work

Fees for a professional consultant to learn to build business skills or for marketing a project

Grants DO NOT cover:

Offsetting costs for regular salary or substitute worker to enable other work to continue

General operating expenses

Matching funds for other grants

Funding for pursuit of an academic degree, certification, or continuing education

Application Process

Application may be made, online, at any time. The Chairman of the Four Friends Committee will convene the committee as per availability. Grant review and scoring may be conducted online or by other electronic means, if necessary.  At its discretion, the Committee may offer partial funding. 



  • Conferences, etc. should be documented as to structured/documented activities, and how the activity was selected by the applicant.
  • Please provide a budget including the total cost (travel, equipment, and other sources of funding)
  • Please attach your resume or CV here. If others are involved, attach a letter of commitment and support for the request


    I certify that the information contained in this application, including all attachments and support materials is true and correct to the best of my knowledge and that I will abide by all legal, financial, and reporting requirements, such as matching funds and final reports for all grants received by the organization.

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