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The Creative Work Fund

Grants to California Nonprofits and Artists in
Eligible Counties for Collaborative Arts Projects

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

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The Creative Work Fund

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Grants ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 to California nonprofits and artists in eligible counties for collaborative projects to create artwork. Eligible artists are those working in the performing or media arts. Letters of inquiry must be submitted by December 1. Eligible applicants must be from Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma County.

The Creative Work Fund invites letters of inquiry from nonprofit organizations and collaborating media or performing artists. A media or performing arts project may culminate in any form, but it must feature a lead artist with a strong track record as a media or performing artist. The Creative Work Fund uses the following definitions for these eligible artists:

Media artists create narrative, documentary, animated, or experimental time-based works using audio, digital, film, and video media. Computer arts also are included in this category. (Please note that this category does not include journalism, and the Fund considers still photography in its visual arts category.)

Performing artists create or execute work in dance, opera, performance art, theater, and vocal and instrumental music. (Spoken word artists should apply as literary artists in a future year.)

The Creative Work Fund invites artists and nonprofit organizations to create new art works through collaborations. It celebrates the role of artists as problem solvers and the making of art as a profound contribution to intellectual inquiry and to the strengthening of communities. Artists are encouraged to collaborate with nonprofit organizations of all kinds, stretching boundaries and forging new partnerships.

The Fund seeks:

-Projects in which the creation of an artwork is central
-Projects in which the artist functions primarily as an artist, not as a teacher, an art therapist, or in another capacity
-Projects in which an active, authentic working partnership between the artist or artists and the organization is central to the work’s development
-Projects that engage the organization’s constituents in the artist’s work
-Projects that draw upon artists’ creativity and problem-solving abilities
-Projects through which the making of art can strengthen a community, draw attention to an important issue, or engage audiences in new ways
-Projects that challenge artistic imagination and organizational thinking
-Projects that will be presented in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma County
-Projects that designate at least two-thirds of the grant funds to the principal artists and their direct expenses for creating the work.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 166173

Estimated Total Program Funding:


Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants will range from $10,000 to $40,000.

Term of Contract:

Grants will be awarded in August 2018. The Creative Work Fund prefers that projects be completed by the end of 2020-2021, but projects of longer duration are eligible and welcome.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Creative Work Fund projects feature one or more artists collaborating with 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. Fiscal sponsors are allowed. The Fund encourages the artists and organizations to “come together” for the sake of this collaboration: An artist should not submit a request to collaborate with an organization if he or she serves on its staff or board of directors.

The principal collaborating artists must live in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma County and have lived there for at least two years prior to submitting a letter of inquiry.

Collaborating organizations also must be based in one of the 11 counties.

Artists and organizations may submit one proposal per category per deadline and may receive no more than one Creative Work Fund grant every three years.For 2017-18 consideration, artists and organizations that received Creative Work Fund grants in August 2015, October 2016, and August 2017 are ineligible.

The Fund will not consider:

- Commissions of new works by artists in which the applicant organization and artists are not collaboratively engaged in the making of those works
- Projects in which the lead artists and collaborating organization are not based in the eligible counties or those with multiple artists, most of whom are based outside of the 11 counties
-Projects that do not feature the artist(s) centrally as demonstrated by the project descriptions and budget allocations
- Projects from lead artists or organizations that were awarded Creative Work Fund grants in 2015, 2016, or 2017
- Projects from artists or organizations that have not completed projects and final reports for previously awarded Creative Work Fund projects.

Pre-proposal Conference:

Pre-Application Information:

LOI instructions:

Upcoming events and deadlines:

Grant Guidelines:

How to Apply:

Grant schedule:

- Submit a Letter of Inquiry by 5 pm December 1, 2017
- Invitations to submit full proposals by February 9, 2018
- Full Proposals Due by April 6, 2018
- Panel Review (May-July)
- Notification of Awards by August 3, 2018
- Deadline for MOU & Grant Acceptance is December 1, 2018

Days or weeks before beginning your letter of inquiry, the applying nonprofit organization and lead artist should complete brief eligibility quizzes and set up grantseeker accounts at If you are eligible to apply, the Creative Work Fund will respond with your username and password within a day or two.

Artists and organizations should plan projects and prepare and authorize their
letters of inquiry together. If a project will use a fiscal sponsor, that sponsor also must review and authorize submission of the letter.

Contact Information:

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

To begin the LOI process, take the eligibility quiz:

Once you have a user name/password, submit an LOI here:

Sign up to receive future applicant seminar announcements:

For additional information about the Creative Work Fund, call Frances Phillips, Program Director,or Faiza Bukhari, Program Associate, (415) 402-2793.

The Creative Work Fund
c/o The Walter & Elise Haas Fund
One Lombard Street, Suite 305
San Francisco, CA 94111

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma County