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Cultural Equity Initiatives (CEI) Grant

Grants to San Francisco Nonprofit Arts Organizations in
Marginalized Communities for Capacity Building Initiatives

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

11/13/19 12:00 PM PST - Noon


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Grants to San Francisco mid-sized and small nonprofit arts organizations serving marginalized communities for capacity building projects. Funding is intended to support the artistic and cultural sustainability and vitality of local arts organizations that demonstrate substantial service to historically marginalized populations.

Priority funding goes to organizations that foster artistic expression deeply rooted in and reflective of historically marginalized communities. Using both the Cultural Equity Endowment Legislation and the Grantmakers in the Arts’ “Racial Equity: Statement of Purpose,” these communities include: African and African American; Latinx; Asian and Asian American; Arab; Native American; Pacific Islander; Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Queer; Transgender and Gender Variant People; People with Disabilities; and Women. 

SFAC recognizes that some marginalized communities may not be listed above and encourage applicants to articulate and provide supporting evidence about the marginalization for any community not named above. Applicants must note that the legislation pertains to marginalized communities and not fringe artistic disciplines.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 130621

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $100,000 for a period of two years. Organizations may request less than $30,000 for a one-year grant period.

The applicant organization’s annual operating revenue from the last completed fiscal year determines the eligible funding amount. Organizations can request up to 50 percent of their annual operating revenue.

Term of Contract:

The grant is for a period of two years. Organizations may request a one-year grant period.

The proposed initiative must take place between July 1, 2020 and June 30, 2021 or 2022.


Additional Eligibility Criteria:

- The applicant organization or fiscal sponsor must be tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).
- The applicant organization (and its fiscal sponsor, if applicable) must be San Francisco-based, and must demonstrate two years of programmatic activity with at least four programmatic San Francisco activities since November 2017.
- The applicant organization’s mission statement must be clearly focused on the development, production, presentation, and/or support of arts activities in San Francisco.
- The applicant organization cannot be part of another City agency or department.
- The applicant organization must have a fundamental and substantial history of working with and/or presenting ongoing activities to members of the historically marginalized community(ies) identified in its proposal.
- The organization’s two-year average annual operating revenue must not exceed $1.5 million in income. For details about fiscal sponsors and arts service organizations, see the URL for Full Text link below.
- Applicants must not be in default on any grants or loans from: (1) San Francisco Arts Commission, (2) other City departments (including, without limitation, Department of Children, Youth, and their Families; Office of Economic and Workforce Development; Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development; and Grants For The Arts), (3) Northern California Grantmakers Arts Loan Fund; (4) Community Vision Capital and Consulting; (5) Community Arts Stabilization Trust; or (6) the Center for Cultural Innovation. This default clause was expanded due to the fact that SFAC has fiduciary relationships with these particular organizations, through either shared City resources or other pooled philanthropic funds.
- The organization must be willing and able to meet the requirements associated with receiving funds from the City and County of San Francisco.

Native American groups may apply. For details, see the URL for Full Text link below.

Grant funds may not pay for:
1. Activities outside of San Francisco;
2. Deficit reduction;
3. Start-up money for new organizations;
4. An arts project or programming (see Organization Project Grants);
5. Planning and development of space (see Creative Space grants).

Pre-proposal Conference:

- Community Investments Grants Webinar: September 18, 2019 at 4 p.m.
- CEI Technical Assistance Workshop: October 9, 2019 at 4 p.m. View the schedule of all upcoming dates here:

Pre-Application Information:

Important Dates:
- Applications Due: November 13, 2019 at 12 p.m. noon PST
- Panel Review: February/March 2020
- Funding Recommendations: April 2020
- Commission Approval: May 2020

To apply for a Cultural Equity Initiatives grant, applicants must have a current strategic or business plan. If the organization has none, the application must be aimed at supporting a strategic or business planning process.

A proposed initiative cannot receive simultaneous funds from multiple SFAC funding sources.

Only one application per organization may be submitted to the CEI category.

Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

Debbie Ng, Program Officer

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: San Francisco

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