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Belonging in Oakland: A Just City Cultural Fund

Grants to California BIPOC Artists, Cultural Practitioners, and Nonprofits
in Eligible Locations for Projects Addressing Racial Justice

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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East Bay Community Foundation (EBCF), Akonadi Foundation and City of Oakland - Cultural Affairs Division

Conf. Date:


LOI Date:


Deadline Date:



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Grants of up to $50,000 to California BIPOC artists, cultural practitioners, and nonprofit organizations in eligible locations for projects addressing racial justice. Funding is intended for projects where applicants work with the local community to build a project driven by their vision of a just society. Applicants must be based in Oakland.

The Fund will focus on BIPOC artists/cultural practitioners who have a demonstrated commitment to community-centered social justice practices with an orientation toward systemic change.

Moving beyond critiques of injustice, the Fund seeks projects with the multiple purposes of:

  • Challenging the policies and practices of oppressive racialized systems,
  • Lifting up value systems and ways of being that cultivate belonging;
  • Supporting self-determined action by those most impacted by systemic racism; and
  • Generating new tools/policy arguments/prototypes for a just and equitable city.

Examples of Potential Projects:

Below are some examples of the kinds of projects that could be supported by the Fund. These examples are meant to spark ideas, not to limit them.

  • Creating spaces for equitable civic dialogue and practices relating to decolonization and rematriation informed by Indigenous and place-based wisdom
  • Promoting community well-being and healing from civic traumas through new civic practices for truth-telling and restorative justice
  • Designing a community-centered process that helps Oaklanders envision what the hardscape and softscape of a culturally-equitable neighborhood could include
  • Employing under-recognized forms of cultural knowledge and/or new value narratives to build pathways out of white supremacist mindsets
  • Creating new civic-facing cultural practices to address racialized violence, houselessness, xenophobia, faith-based prejudice, etc.
  • Collaborations between arts practitioners and community organizers that are grounded in cultural practices that propel coalition- and power-building for racial justice.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 191040

Number of Grants:

Approximately seven or eight grants

Estimated Size of Grant:

Grants range from $30,000 to $50,000 per year

A special stipend equalling 12% of the grant amount (ranging from $3,600 and $6,000 per year) will be added to each award for life sustaining expenses of the artist(s)/cultural practitioner(s)—such as healthcare, childcare, student or other debt, restorative time or activities, or other such expenses—as a modest recognition of the hidden costs of maintaining cultural practices in Oakland’s communities of color.

Term of Contract:

In this new funding round, Belonging in Oakland: A Just City Cultural Fund will provide two-year grants.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Who Can Apply
Applicants must be:
- An individual or group of BIPOC artists/cultural practitioners who resides and is rooted in Oakland with demonstrated experience in producing and/or co-designing community-centered/public-facing projects
- An Oakland-based cultural organization led by BIPOC artists/cultural practitioners with demonstrated experience in producing and/or co-designing community-centered/public-facing projects AND must have 501(c)(3) nonprofit status OR a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.

Groups/collectives of artists/cultural practitioners must be led by people of color, but can include others. They must also be led by Oaklanders, but can include non-Oakland-based members.

Fiscal sponsors are not required to be located in Oakland nor BIPOC-led.

The Fund values and recognizes the roles and needs of diverse forms of artistic and cultural work to a healthy and just community. However, this program, because of legal requirements and limited resources, will not fund:
- Activities to influence the outcome of elections for candidates for public office
- Capital campaigns for building maintenance/construction/purchase or endowments
- Projects with the sole purpose of putting artistic works before an audience
- Training activities with the sole purpose of helping individuals develop artistic skills

Pre-proposal Conference:

There will be two how-to-apply webinars during which attendees will be able to ask questions.
1. Wednesday, May 12, 2021 10:00am-11:30am:
This webinar will be archived on the program website for viewing should you be unable to attend.

2. Monday, May 24, 2021, 5:30pm - 7:00pm:

Pre-Application Information:

Program Timeline:
- Application Portal Opens: Tuesday, May 4, 2021
- Application Webinars: Wednesday, May 12, 2021, 10-11:30 am, Monday, May 24, 2021, 5:30pm – 7:00pm
- Letter of Inquiry Application Deadline: Monday, June 14, 2021, 6:00 pm
- Invitation to Submit a Full Proposal: Mid-July 2021. If you receive an invitation to submit a full proposal, you will have 48 hours to accept or decline the invitation.
- Full Proposal Deadline: Wednesday, August 11, 2021
- Award Notification: Mid-September 2021
- Grant Period Starts: September 2021
- Peer Learning Activities Activities will take place periodically throughout the grant period as determined by the grant recipient cohort in collaboration with the Fund.
- Interim Check-In Fall 2022: The Fund will have a verbal or in-person check-in with grant recipients to discuss progress, learning, adaptations/course corrections.
- Sharing the Vision activity By the end of the grant period (September 2023) Sharing the project vision with a broader community is a program requirement. This could be process-based activities, work-in-progress showings, or culminating events (in-person/virtual/ documented, as appropriate) or cultural products.
- Grant Period Ends September 2023

Applicants are encouraged to begin your LOI application at least a week before the submission deadline.

There is no funding match requirement for this grant.

Application Process:
- The first step is to complete a brief online Letter of Inquiry (LOI) application. Up to 20 LOI applications will receive an invitation to submit a full proposal. The rest will receive notification that their application has been declined. For those declined, the process will end there.
- The second step will be for those who have been invited to submit a full proposal. Full proposals will need to include more project details, such as a project budget and short artist/cultural practitioner bios. Proposals will be due within three weeks after receiving the invitation and will be reviewed and ranked by peer panelists. Those who submit a full proposal will receive an honorarium of $300 for the effort required to submit a full proposal.

Up to eight two-year awards will be announced in September.


Contact Information:

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

Apply Online:

For assistance contact Michelle Mush Lee at You can also schedule 20-minute phone appointments with Mush Monday through Wednesday between 10am and 5pm here:

East Bay Community Foundation
200 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
Oakland, CA 94612

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: California: Oakland

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