FAQ for nonprofit organizations seeking funding

Does the Arts Commission fund only San Francisco-based organizations and artists?

Organizations and individuals seeking grant funding must be residents of the Bay Area and operating in a not-for-profit manner. Often Public Art will offer national calls for artists.

Does the Arts Commission fund individual artists?

Yes. The Cultural Equity Grants Program offers Individual Artists Commissions of up to $10,000 to San Francisco residents working in all artistic disciplines. Grants in each discipline are offered every other year—for example, dance, music and theater artists will be funded in 2013. The deadline for literature, media and visual arts will be 2014. If your project is multi-disciplinary, please contact the staff for advice.

What kinds of projects or institutions does the Arts Commission fund?

The Arts Commission’s Cultural Equity Grants Program funds arts organizations grounded in underserved communities, individual artists in all disciplines, and small to mid-sized arts organizations for specific projects.

The Programs in the Community Grants Program in the Arts Commission’s Community Arts and Education Program supports nonprofit, non-arts organizations that use the arts to better serve their constituents.

What does “underserved” mean?

Underserved populations defined by city legislation are African American, Asian American, Latino/a, Native American, Pacific Islander, Disabled, Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgendered and Women.

Does the Cultural Equity Grants Program fund any organization that does not fall into the underserved definition?

Yes, our Organization Project Grants category accepts applications from all nonprofit arts organizations with budgets under $1,000,000 that are doing community-based projects.

Are there any grants for very small arts groups?

Volunteer arts organizations are eligible for Special Project Grants of up to $1,000 through the Cultural Equity Grants Program. This category has a rolling deadline and awards are given on a quarterly basis.

What are the application deadlines? Are these deadlines posted on the web?

Each category of funding has its own deadline date through the year. These are posted on the Cultural Equity Grants Program section of the website at the beginning of each fiscal year in July.

The Programs in the Community grant deadline is in early winter and is posted on the Community Arts and Education section of the website.

All deadlines are firm.

How are grants awarded?

A panel of artists and administrators reviews all applications and support materials and makes recommendations to the Arts Commission, who then has the final vote.

Where can I find funding guidelines and applications?

The Cultural Equity Grants Program guidelines and applications are posted on the Cultural Equity Grants section of the website and available to be downloaded.

Programs in the Community guidelines and applications are posted on the Community Arts and Education section of the website.

We will also e-mail copies on request.