FOR PROJECTS TAKING PLACE november 2021 — June 2023

For any questions about EMCS, contact Program Associate Candace Eros Diaz at


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

Una traducción de esta solicitud de aplicación está disponible a petición; sin embargo, solamente se aceptarán solicitudes en inglés. Favor comunicarse con Lorena Moreno al 415-252-2211 ó para una traducción al español.


Ang pagsasalin sa Tagalog ng aplikasyon para sa pagkalooban na ito ay makukuha kung hihingilin. Ngunit ang aplikasyon sa Ingles lamang ang aming tatanggapin. Para sa tulong, maaring i-contact si Sandra Panopio, 415-252-2255 o sandra,


emcs GUIDLInes (PDF) 


Jump to:
Important Dates
Information about EMCS Grant
Who Can Apply
Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Important Dates

Applications Due Friday, September 24, 2021 at 12 p.m.
Panel Review October 2021
Funding Recommendations October 25, 2021
Commission Approval November 1, 2021
Grant Period November 15, 2021 – June 15, 2023 


Ebony McKinney Community Stewards Grant

About the Ebony McKinney Community Stewards Grant

The Ebony McKinney Community Stewards Grant (EMCS) is a regranting opportunity that supports the collaborative development and release of the Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership Grant with a focus on reimagining and centering racial equity, addressing harm, and the ideals embodied by Ebony: vision, determination, and advocacy for the arts as social practice.

SFAC seeks a very small to mid-sized arts organization to utilize a restorative justice lens for understanding the background and history of the Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership Grant among the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), Emerging Arts Professionals San Francisco Bay Area (EAP/SFBA), and Ebony’s Community who include members from EAP/SFBA and Arts for a Better Bay Area. Funds will support the administrative costs associated with revitalizing the process and criteria for the next Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership Grant including, launching the guidelines and application, selecting the grantee, and administering $20,000 to the grantee.

The late Ebony McKinney, was a visionary Black woman artist and a determined and energetic cultural advocate for artists and social justice. Ebony co-founded EAP/SFBA, a network focused on empowerment, leadership and growth of San Francisco Bay Area emergent arts and culture workers; and Arts for a Better Bay Area (ABBA), a coalition of San Francisco arts organizations that advocate for funding for the arts. Ebony McKinney was deeply committed to these values and made a lasting, positive impact locally and nationally before her untimely passing in July 2017.

In 2017, EAP/SFBA began the process to create the Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership Grant with a circle of close colleagues and community members to honor Ebony’s legacy. This grant launched in 2018, supported by funding from the SFAC. After two rounds of releasing the grant, SFAC acknowledged an imbalance of power and made efforts to restore good will with Ebony’s Community and EAP/SFBA. In 2020, EAP/SFBA, Ebony’s Community, and the SFAC began a process of restorative justice with the goal of re-launching the grant opportunity in a way that both honored Ebony’s legacy and addressed past harm.

racial equity statement

The San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) is committed to creating a city where all artists and cultural workers have the freedom, resources and platform to share their stories, art and culture and where race does not predetermine one’s success in life. We also acknowledge that we occupy traditional and unceded Ohlone land. Fueled by these beliefs, we commit to addressing the systemic inequities within our agency, the City and County of San Francisco and the broader arts and culture sector. This work requires that we focus on race as we confront inequities of the past, reveal inequities of the present and develop effective strategies to move all of us towards an equitable future.

Priority funding goes to artists that are deeply rooted in and reflective of communities listed in the Arts Commission’s 1993 Cultural Equity Endowment Legislation and informed by current best practices in racial equity. 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. (SF ADMIN. CODE CHAPTER 68: CULTURAL EQUITY ENDOWMENT FUND. Sec. 68.6. PROJECT GRANTS).

If you are a part of a community not listed that you feel should be included, we encourage applicants to articulate and provide supporting evidence regarding the historical and current inequities experienced by your community.

maximum grant REQUEST AMOUNT

The anticipated grant request amount for the Ebony McKinney Community Stewards Grant is $40,000 based on current budget availability, and includes $20,000 for the Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership grantee. Should additional City funding become available, the grant amount could be increased.    

Grant Term   
A grant funded pursuant to these Guidelines will have a grant term of one year. The City at its sole, absolute discretion, shall have the option to extend the term for additional years as determined by the Arts Commission. 

The San Francisco Arts Commission reserves the right to: reissue these guidelines and request for applications; reject any or all applications; prior to application deadline, modify all or any portion of the selection procedures, including deadlines for accepting responses, the specifications or requirements for any services to be provided under this solicitation or the requirements for content or format of the applications. 

project requirements

  • Relationship Management: The organization who receives this grant will be responsible for gathering information about the past process and managing the ongoing convening and planning between EAP/SFBA, Ebony’s Community members from Emerging Arts Professionals and Arts for a Better Bay Area and the SFAC.
  • Community Stipends: The organization understands the need for and includes stipends to community participants in their budget for this work.
  • Grant Cycle: The outcome of this project will be the issuance of the next Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership Grant cycle: guidelines refinement, application release and intake, panel review, award process and a public announcement.
  • Evaluation: The organization who receives the re-granting funds will be asked to document the process between EAP/SFBA, Ebony’s Community, and the SFAC with the hope of using this work to inform further partnerships between government agencies and community work, and future re-granting programs.

How to Apply


Applications must be submitted online. Emailed or faxed applications are not accepted. In fairness to others, we cannot accept late or incomplete applications. If the applicant does not provide the complete set of information in the appropriate format by the deadline, the application may be deemed incomplete and ineligible. No deadline extensions will be granted. If you do not have access to the internet you may mail your application, postmarked by Friday, September 24, 2021 and you must notify Program Associate Candace Eros Diaz at

Mail to: San Francisco Arts Commission, EMCS Grant, 401 Van Ness Avenue, Suite 325, San Francisco, CA 94102. Attn: Candace Eros Diaz

Who Can Apply


  • The applicant organization must have experience with Black and woman-identified, nonbinary, or genderqueer communities as demonstrated in the application narrative. The applicant organization’s mission statement must be clearly focused on the investment, development, production, and/or presentation of arts, culture and social justice activities in San Francisco.
  • The applicant organization must have a demonstrated history of administering an arts-related re-granting program or distributing resources for at least two years at the time of application.
  • The applicant organization or fiscal sponsor must be tax-exempt and in good standing under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

    Fiscal sponsors: Organizations that exceed the $1,000,000 income cap due to re-granting must verify their operational budget without pass-through funds at the time of application. Applicants must upload audited financials from the most recently completed fiscal year demonstrating the dollar amount of pass-through funds.
  • 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, 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.
  • The proposed project must take place in San Francisco between November 15, 2021 and June 15, 2023.
  • The organization must be willing and able to meet the requirements associated with receiving funds from the City and County of San Francisco. In order to receive a grant payment from the San Francisco Arts Commission, you must become a registered, compliant supplier and meet the City of San Francisco's insurance and business tax requirements. For more information about supplier requirements, visit:

    Please note: you will only be required to register as a City supplier if you are awarded a grant. Insurance and business tax requirements will be explained and made available upon approval of grant award.


  • Only one application per organization may be submitted to the Ebony McKinney Community Stewards Grant category. 

  • The regranting funds of $20,000 for the Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership Grant must support one (1) San Francisco-based arts and culture worker.  


Re-granting funds may not pay for:

  1. Activities outside of San Francisco;
  2. Deficit reduction;
  3. Start-up money for new organizations.

insurance Requirements

General Liability or Special Event Insurance: Coverage with limits not less than $1,000,000 each occurrence and $2,000,000 general aggregate.

  • CERTIFICATE HOLDER must read “San Francisco Arts Commission, Attn: Community Investments, 401 Van Ness Ave, Suite 325, San Francisco, CA 94102”.
  • Certificates for General Liability and Auto Liability must include an ENDORSEMENT PAGE naming “The City & County of San Francisco, San Francisco Arts Commission, Community Investments, its officers, agents, and employees” as additionally insured.

Commercial Automobile Liability Insurance: Coverage with limits not less than one million dollars $1,000,000 each occurrence for Combined Single Limit for Bodily Injury and Property Damage, including Owned, Non-Owned and Hired auto coverage, as applicable.

  • You may request a waiver for Auto Liability insurance, if the organization will not be using a vehicle for the main purpose of the grant. 

Sexual Misconduct Insurance: Working with vulnerable populations (minors under 18 years old, elderly over 65 years old, developmentally disabled populations) requires that sexual misconduct insurance be added to the general liability policy in amounts not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence, $2,000,000 general aggregate.  

Workers Compensation Insurance

Coverage is required for all organizations that have salaried employees; in statutory amounts, with Employers’ Liability limits not less than $1,000,000 each accident, injury, or illness.

  • Worker’s Compensation Insurance is a California State law.
  • You may request a waiver for Worker’s Compensation insurance if the organization does not have employees as defined by the California Labor Code. 

A Waiver of Subrogation must be added to the workers compensation insurance, if any work that the grant is funding happens on City owned or managed property.  

Professional Liability Insurance: Coverage is required from your contractor for professional services related to construction and facility projects, in amounts not less than $1,000,000 per occurrence, $2,000,000 general aggregate. Please visit the CA Department of Consumer Affairs-Contractors State License Board to confirm your contractor is licensed by the State.

Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Panelists are instructed to use the following scoring criteria which correspond to the application questions below. Close review of this grid may help you prepare your application responses. Please thoroughly review the application instructions. 





Ebony McKinney’s Legacy ​

(30 points)


Highlight the organization’s experience over the last two years with Black and woman-identified, nonbinary or genderqueer communities.  

250 word limit 

Organization has experience with Black and woman-identified, nonbinary, or genderqueer communities. 


Why is your organization a good fit for this project? Describe the organization’s work with or knowledge of Ebony McKinney and her work (EAP/SFBA and ABBA, etc.) and *Ebony’s affinity topics: The Creative City, Cultural Equity, Regenerative Practices, and/or Arts & Capital. 

*see below for definitions 

250 word limit 

Organization has knowledge and experience of Ebony McKinney and her work. 

Project Design

(50 points)


Describe your organization’s restorative justice framework. How will this inform the project design? 

250 word limit 

Organization has demonstrated success with restorative justice. 


Describe the proposed project in detail including how your organization  will work with the SFAC, EAP/SFBA, and Ebony’s Community to revitalize the next iteration of the Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership Grant. Please include experience with re-granting, grant cycles, or other relevant community processes. 

500 word limit 

Project goals, vision, and processes demonstrate the ability to successfully complete the project. 

The organization has a demonstrated history of redistributing resources and measuring success. 


Provide brief bios of the key project staff and include their qualifications, relevant experience, and strong relationships with Black and woman-identified, nonbinary, or genderqueer communities. 

250 word limit 

Has appropriate project staff with qualifications, experience, and strong relationships with Black and woman-identified, nonbinary, or genderqueer communities. 

5 Completed Project Budget

Project budget demonstrates relevant  expenditures to implement the project including re-grant of $20,000 for the Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership Grant and community partner stipends. 

Ability to Complete the Project

(20 points)


How will the organization lead with a restorative justice lens to collect and share community feedback between SFAC, EAP/SFBA, and Ebony’s Community to  revitalize the process and criteria for releasing the next iteration of the Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership Grant? 

300 word limit  

The applicant details an assessment plan that collects and shares participant feedback, and includes the documented processes for the next Ebony McKinney Arts Leadership Grant cycle and the restorative justice work that can be used to inform further partnerships between government agencies and community. 

- Completed the Grant Plan 

The Creative City: Explores the utopian idea that artists and arts organizations are critical components of a healthy ecosystem. It declares that the arts play a pivotal role in civic creativity and cultural strategy, which in turn creates social wealth and helps to shape public sentiment and city planning and policy.
Cultural Equity: Arts and culture workers and organizations are advancing the conversation on cultural equity across the sector and beyond. They must tackle institutional or systemic oppression and rethink creative place keeping strategies.
Regenerative Practices: Arts administrators must learn how to sustain their energy and passion. Leaders in the field must learn how to support and encourage one another in order to survive and maintain healthier arts and culture ecosystems.
Arts & Capital: There is a push and pull relationship between creative/cultural production and capital when traditional models are implemented in innovative ways. With an entrepreneurial mindset, the arts and culture field can find new social impact business models that can generate revenue and sustain projects and communities.


Grant panelists

Ebony McKinney Community Stewards Grant applications are evaluated in an open review process by a panel of peers. Grant review panelists reflect the diversity of San Francisco, have a broad knowledge about racial equity and have experience that aligns with the purpose of the grant.

Application Review

Panelists evaluate and rank applications according to budget size: organizations with annual operating budgets under $150,000; organizations with annual operating budgets between $150,000 and $400,000; and organizations with annual operating budgets above $400,000.

panel review attendance and influence

Due to COVID restrictions, panels will be virtual until further notice. The Ebony McKinney Community Stewards Grants review panel is publicly accessible. A schedule of the panel review will be posted on our website and applicants will be notified in advance via email. Please be sure the email address in your application is current and regularly checked. Take steps to ensure that emails from the San Francisco Arts Commission and are not lost in your spam filter. 

Many organizations find it insightful to listen to the discussion of applications and are welcome to observe the virtual panel review process. Applicants may not engage in discussion with any panelists or San Francisco Arts Commission staff during the review. If an applicant is found to have made attempts to influence a panelist in any way, including contacting them before or after the panel to discuss their application, their grant application will be automatically disqualified. 

Funding recommendations

Based on an evaluation of the applications, panelist scores create a ranking for funding recommendations.

Funding approvals

Panel recommendations are subject to the approval of the Arts Commission. Typically, recommendations are first reviewed by the Community Investments Committee and then by the Full Commission.

Arts Commission meetings are open to the public. Arts Commission meeting agendas are available here: 72 hours in advance of a meeting.

grant notifications

Grant notifications are emailed to the address listed on the application and include instructions about the contracting process and orientation dates. 

Panel Notes

Virtual panels will be recorded. You may contact to request panel scores and a link to the recording. Requests are fulfilled in the order they are received.  


What's Coming Up


Artist Reception for we were here

January 11
5:00 PM to 7:00 PM

SFPL Main Branch
Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

December 27
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online

we were here

December 21 to March 01
9:00 AM to 8:00 PM


EarthSea Film Screening

December 14
6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

SFAC Main Gallery