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Creative Space Grant (CRSP)

Grants to California Arts Nonprofits to Improve
or Develop Cultural and Arts Facilities

Agency Type:


Funding Source:

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San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC)

Conf. Date:


Deadline Date:

12/09/20 12:00 PM PST


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Grants to California nonprofit arts organizations in eligible areas to improve or develop cultural and arts facilities. Preference is given to organizations whose work is reflective of historically marginalized communities. Funding may be used for pre-planning and planning for the acquisition or development of facilities, or for capital improvements to arts facilities to address emergency and safety situations including compliance with COVID-19 related health orders, and/or improve or enhance the creative space. Applicant organizations must be based in San Francisco.

Funding Categories:

  • Planning Grants: Grants to arts organizations for the planning or pre-planning of the development and/or acquisition of arts facilities. Funds may be used for overall plan development or specific components, such as feasibility studies, design and engineering consultations, financial and management analysis, market analysis, site analysis, needs assessment, or capital campaign preparation. 
  • Facility Improvement Grants: Grants to tax-exempt arts organizations with programming space for capital improvements. The affected spaces must be integral to the organization’s arts activities. Projects must meet at least one of the following priorities:
    1. Emergency situations that render the artistic activities at a creative space inoperable such as to correct cited fire, ADA, and/or safety code violations or to address issues prior to receiving a citation; or complying with COVID-19 related health orders.
    2. Improve or enhance the creative space by significantly upgrading an organization's artistic presentation, such as improved stage floor, lighting systems, or new sound equipment.
    3. Positive effects on audience accessibility, comfort, and enjoyment of the creative space such as soundproofing, seating areas, or heating/cooling equipment.

The Creative Space (CRSP) grant program supports the enhancement of San Francisco cultural facilities through Planning and Facility Improvement Grants. The category aims to improve existing arts facilities and develop new ones that will support the work of San Francisco’s arts organizations and artists.

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 in Arts Funding: Statement of Purpose and Recommendations for Action,” 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.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all activities hosted by the Arts Commission will be online until further notice.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 139056

Estimated Size of Grant:

Planning Grants: Up to $50,000. The applicant organization’s average annual operating revenue over the last two completed fiscal years determines the eligible grant request amount. Organizations can request up to 50 percent of their average annual operating revenue.

Facilities Improvement Grants Level 1: Up to $50,000.

Facilities Improvement Grants Level 2: Up to $100,000.

Term of Contract:

The proposed project must take place in San Francisco between July 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022 (for Planning and Level 1) or June 30, 2023 (Level 2).

It is anticipated that successful proposals will be for a term of one year up to two years beginning in fiscal year 2021-22 with a possible extension for up to one year based on extenuating circumstances as determined by the San Francisco Arts Commission in consultation with the grantee.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

The applicant organization or fiscal sponsor must be tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). Only fiscal sponsors may be used for the Planning Grant category.
- 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-based activities since November 2018.
- The applicant organization’s mission statement must be clearly focused on the development, production, and/or presentation of arts activities in San Francisco.
- The applicant organization cannot be part of another City agency or department.
- New for FY21: The organization’s annual operating revenue must not exceed $3 million in income.
- Applicants must not be in default on any grants or loans from: (1) SFAC; (2) other City departments (including, but not limited to, the 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; and/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.
- Organizations must either hold title or be in possession of a qualifying lease, or have a letter of intent from the property owner to enter into a qualifying lease or sale.
- The organization must be willing and able to meet the requirements associated with receiving funds from the City and County of San Francisco.

For information about fiscal sponsors, see the guidelines:

Planning Project Requirements: Applicants may use a fiscal sponsor. New developments aimed at providing shared arts programming space for multiple arts organizations may be considered if they can demonstrate stable, San Francisco-based arts community leadership and confirmed partners. Strong collaborations and community partnerships are integral to the intent of this grant.

Facilities Project Requirements:
- Lease/Ownership Requirements:
- Level 1: Applicant organization has at least three years remaining on their lease at the start of the grant term, or has a year-to-year lease and has leased the space for a minimum of ten years prior to the start of the grant term.
- Level 2: Applicant organization holds the title to its space, or has a lease with at least five years remaining at the start of the grant term.
- Board Giving Requirement (Level 2): Applicant organization must demonstrate full board participation in the campaign and provide a list of board members and their gifts and/or pledges at the time of application submission.
- Prevailing Wage Requirement (Facilities): City-funded contractors and sub-contractors responsible for construction or maintenance projects must comply with all relevant local, state, and federal prevailing wage laws at the time of bidding. Please visit for more information.
- Contractors must register with the California Department of Industrial Relations at the time of bidding to confirm compliance with prevailing wage rates. For Contractor Registration information, visit:

Applicants cannot receive funding for two consecutive grant cycles in the Creative Space category. However, if an applicant was awarded a Planning Grant, an application for a Facilities Grant in the next cycle may be submitted.

Programs of another City agency or department are not eligible to apply, which includes the City-owned Cultural Centers.

Grant funds may not pay for:
1. Activities and spaces outside of San Francisco;
2. Deficit reduction;
3. Start-up money for new organizations;
4. Routine and ongoing maintenance;
5. Down payments or lease deposits;
6. Projects that do not result in reasonable access for individuals with disabilities under the ADA.

Pre-Application Information:

Important Dates:
- Grantseeker Information Session: October 21, 2020 at 12 p.m.
- One-on-One consultations: October 16 – December 2, 2020
- Application Due: December 9, 2020 at 12 p.m.
- Panel Review: February 2021
- Funding Recommendations: April 2021
- Commission Approval: May 2021

Only one application per organization may be submitted to the Creative Space Grant category. An applicant cannot apply to both a Planning Grant and a Level 1 or Level 2. This does not apply to fiscal sponsors who submit applications on behalf of different fiscally sponsored projects.

Facility Improvement Grants: Multiple projects may be included in the request.

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

A translation of this grant application is available upon request; however, only applications in English will be accepted.

Applicants cannot receive funding for two consecutive grant cycles in the Creative Space category. However, if an applicant was awarded a Planning Grant, an application for a Facilities Grant in the next cycle may be submitted.

In order to receive a grant payment from the San Francisco Arts Commission, you must become a registered, compliant supplier and meet the City and County of San Francisco's insurance, business tax, and equal benefits requirements. For more information about supplier requirements, visit

Please note: You will only be required to register as a City supplier if your application is approved for funding.

Grants homepage:

Upcoming Grantseeker Information Sessions:

Recording of October 16 session for San Fransisco Artists and Arts Organizations:
(Webinar password: 2020Grants)

Recording of October 21 session for San Fransisco Artists and Arts Organizations:
(Password: 2020ArtsOrgs)

Contact Information:

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

Apply online:

If you do not have access to the internet, you may mail your application, postmarked Wednesday, December 9, 2020 and you must notify Senior Program Officer Jaren Bonillo at (415) 252-2227. Mail to: SFAC, 401 Van Ness Ave., Suite 325, San Francisco, CA 94102

For any questions about CRSP, contact Senior Program Officer Jaren Bonillo at or 415-252-2227.

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