DSPA Gems Inc. now has a minimum of $5,000 in performing arts tuition grant money available. The nonprofit provides performing arts opportunities to children regardless of a family’s ability meet financial obligations.

Shannon Wallace Soto, DSPA Gems Inc. president, said these funds are available due to a variety of fundraising activities, including Maricopa’s annual city-wide Daddy Daughter Dance, attended by almost 200 people, and the annual Sugar Plum Tea. Funds were raised from ticket sales,  silent auctions and the purchasing of flowers and song dedications.

All grant money awarded will be applied towards tuition for performing arts classes.

In order to qualify to receive grant money, an applicant must:

  • be aged 2-18 years old and reside in Arizona
  • show proof of enrollment in upcoming performing arts classes (if previously enrolled, must have followed all applicable class rules and have maintained regular class attendance)
  • show financial need per the debt-to-income ratio worksheet or by providing qualifying papers for reduced or free lunch program through an Arizona public school for the current year
  • provide the IRS tax returns of parents/guardians from the two previous years
  • write an age appropriate essay about why the child wants to participate in performing arts and how grant recipient requirements will be kept.

Tuition grant recipients are selected by the DSPA Gems, Inc. selection committee based upon funds available and need.  The selection committee has determined that programs in which the participant is involved in an activity considered a sport are not eligible.

Recipients are required to:

  • attend performing arts classes regularly and follow all applicable rules
  • maintain an account in good standing with the performing arts class provider
  • complete the required number of community service hours determined by the grant selection committee upon award of the tuition grant

The grant application, as well as requirements for grant applicants and recipients can be obtained on the website, www.dspagems.org, by emailing [email protected], or picked up at Desert Sun Performing Arts, 19756 N. John Wayne Pkwy, Suite 107, Maricopa, AZ, 85139.

Applications are due and must be post-marked, no later than  Feb. 28.  Grants will be awarded at DSPA’s 14th annual recital June 6. Applications may be mailed to: DSPA Gems Inc., P.O. Box 736, Maricopa AZ 85139.

For further information, email questions to: [email protected]