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NEW (New and Experimental Works) Program Grant

Grants to California Nonprofits
for Contemporary Arts Programming

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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Kenneth Rainin Foundation

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

04/10/20 5 PM PST


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Grants of up to $30,000 to California nonprofit organizations for contemporary arts programs in eligible counties. Applicants are required to submit a letter of intent prior to submitting a full application. New applicants should contact the Funding Source. The program supports small and mid-size dance, theater and multidisciplinary arts organizations. The Foundation is interested in continuing to foster a thriving arts ecosystem across the Bay Area and accepts proposals from organizations in six counties, including: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo and Santa Clara. However, the Foundation primarily funds projects taking place in San Francisco and Oakland.

NEW Program Priorities

The NEW Program prioritizes support for:

  • Small and mid-size organizations
  • Timely and compelling projects
  • Projects that support artists pushing the boundaries of dance and theater in form and/or content
  • Productions in outdoor, site-specific or alternative venues
  • Collaborations across various disciplines, diverse media and technology
  • Activities in San Francisco and Oakland

The NEW Program supports both new and experimental works. This includes the creation of new performance work and/or restagings of contemporary theatrical productions. Only restagings that have not had a Bay Area premiere will be considered. While the Foundation’s priority is to support Bay Area artists and to highlight local voices in the process, applications are accepted from local organizations for work that originates outside of the region.

Two-thirds of the grant funds must go to the artistic project team and their direct expenses for creating the work. The remaining one-third of the grant funds are unrestricted to the applicant organization.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 163221

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grant ranges from $5,000–$30,000. The grant amount requested may not exceed more than 50% of the organization’s last closed fiscal year budget.

Term of Contract:

The grant period is 24 months.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Organizations eligible for funding include nonprofit organizations and individual artists or projects with a 501(c)3 fiscal sponsor. Applicants must operate in San Francisco, Alameda, Marin, San Mateo, Contra Costa or Santa Clara counties.

The Foundation accepts letters of inquiry from organizations that meet the following criteria:
- Nonprofit organizations or 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsors (requires a written agreement).
- Organizations must operate and reside in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo or Santa Clara counties. The Foundation prioritizes support for projects that take place in San Francisco and Oakland. See FAQ for more.
- Organizations must have at least a $10,000 annual budget for their last closed fiscal year. If your annual budget fluctuates due to your production schedule and you have had an annual budget of at least $10,000 in the last three years, contact Arts Program Staff.
- Current NEW Program grantees must complete previously funded projects before applying for an additional grant. If your project is complete but you have yet to submit your grant report, contact Arts Program Staff. Current RENEW or
- Open Spaces Program grantees who are interested in applying should discuss eligibility with Arts Program Staff.
- The Foundation is unlikely to fund an organization consecutively through the NEW Program.

The Foundation primarily funds dance and theater organizations. Occasionally the Foundation funds organizations not rooted in dance or theater that produce innovative, multidisciplinary performances. However, multidisciplinary projects must demonstrate that they are authentically grounded in dance and/or theater to be eligible for support. Contact Arts Program Staff to discuss proposals that fall outside of the funding criteria.

The Foundation is unlikely to fund predominantly music-focused projects, including musicals, operas and/or other musical performances. The Foundation does not fund:
- Restagings of works that have already premiered in the Bay Area.
- Direct assistance to individuals or individual sponsorships
- Nonprofits not located and operating primarily in the United States (except for medical research)
- Start-up organizations (except for medical research)
- Sports, athletic events or league sponsorships
- Advertising or promotional sponsorships
- Deficits or retroactive funding
- Fraternal organizations
- Organizations that discriminate based on religion, race, sexual orientation or gender

The Foundation directs its support for capital projects through its partnership with the Community Arts Stabilization Trust (CAST), read more at:

Small and Mid-size Organizations:
The NEW Program supports small and mid-size dance, theater and multidisciplinary arts organizations. This is based on the annual budget of the applicant organization. Small and mid-size organization’s annual budgets range between $10,000 and $2 million. Organizations must have an annual budget of at least $10,000 in order to be eligible to apply. If your organization’s annual budget is over $2 million and you are interested in applying, contact Arts Program Staff.

Pre-proposal Conference:

The Foundation is hosting two pre-application workshops and a webinar:
- Monday, January 20, 5:30–6:30 PM in San Francisco (location TBD). Reserve your spot at:
- Thursday, January 23, 12-1 PM Webinar. Reserve your spot at:
- Friday, January 24, 12-1 PM Webinar. REserve your spot at:
- Thursday, January 30, 12-1 PM in Oakland at Oakstop, 1721 Broadway #201: Reserve your spot at:

Pre-Application Information:

2020 NEW Program Schedule:
- Letters of Inquiry (LOIs): January 6 – February 7, 2020. LOIs are due by 5 PM PST on February 7, 2020.
Documents outlining the LOI requirements are available for download at the bottom of the NEW Program page. Please note, all applications must be submitted via the Foundation’s online system. Links to the LOIs will be posted on January 6, 2020. If you have not been contacted by March 1, 2020 on the status of your LOI, please contact the Arts Program Staff.
- Full Proposals (by invitation only): March 20 – April 10, 2020. Full proposals are due by 5 PM PST on April 3, 2020.
- Awards Announcement: May 2020
- Grant Period: July 1, 2020 – June 30 , 2022. Note: Performances must have production dates after July 1, 2020.

Contact Arts Program Staff if you are a new applicant.

All applicants must apply through the online grant system. You may access the online application through the website on the opening date of each Letter of Inquiry period.

Beginning in January 2020, applications will be accepted that grant seekers have submitted to other funders for the same project. For more information, see URL for Full Text below.

It is strongly recommended that organizations with projects taking place outside of San Francisco or Oakland contact the Arts Program Staff to discuss how the proposal aligns with the Foundation’s priorities.

Before applying, please select the appropriate track. Applicants can either
- Complete the Rainin Foundation Letter of Inquiry (LOI); or
- Submit an application prepared for another funder for the same project.
For more information, see Application Process section on the URL for Full Text below.

- FAQs:
- Awards Schedule:

Contact Information:

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

Please direct questions about the Arts grantmaking schedule to Arts Program Staff at

Contact Director of Grants Management, Miyesha Perry at with any online system-related questions.

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo or Santa Clara counties


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