The Sankofa Initiative (SPX)

FOR PROJECTS TAKING PLACE January 1, 2021 — June 30, 2022

Re-Released 10/19/2020

For any questions about The Sankofa Initiative (SPX), please contact Program Officer, Tina Wiley at or 415-252-2218.


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, 415-252-2217 o


 Webinar Password: Sankofa2020! 


sankofa guidelines (pdf)

sankofa instructions (pdf)

Jump to:
Important Dates
Information about the Sankofa Initiative
Who Can Apply
Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Important Dates

Application Re-Released October 19, 2020
Applications Due November 4, 2020 at 12 p.m.
Internal Grant Review* November 2020
Funding Recommendation* November 2020
Commission Approval* December 2020
Grant Period  January 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022

*Dates may be subject to change. 

About The Sankofa Initiative (SPX)

The Sankofa Initiative (SPX) is a re-granting program of the San Francisco Arts Commission’s Arts Impact Endowment to support the healing and creativity of communities of color most affected by COVID-19. The Sankofa Initiative’s focus on Arts Education prioritizes access to creative exploration, cultural preservation, professional development, and access to technology and art supplies for those most in need during and after the global health emergency. 

The word Sankofa is connected to the West African proverb, “It’s not wrong to go back for that which you have forgotten.” With this proverb as our North Star, this responsive recovery fund prioritizes BIPOC-led (Black/Indigenous/People of Color) organizations to uplift BIPOC communities through their own self-determination.  

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 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. (SF ADMIN. CODE CHAPTER 68: CULTURAL EQUITY ENDOWMENT FUND. Sec. 68.6. PROJECT GRANTS).

Please note: We recognize that some marginalized communities may not be listed here and encourage applicants to articulate and provide supporting evidence about the marginalization for any community not named above. Please also note the legislation pertains to marginalized communities and not fringe artistic disciplines. 


Grant amounts up to $225,000.

How to Apply 


Applications must be submitted online. If you do not have access to the internet you may mail your application and you must notify Program Officer Tina Wiley at 415-252-2218 or 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.

project area

Funding will support the healing and creative exploration of communities of color most affected by COVID-19. 

Professional & Wellness Development: Support up to $225,000 for a youth development or workforce development nonprofit to re-grant funding to invest in the professional development of artists, cultural workers, and arts administrators. Individuals and organizations may use the funds to attend webinars, workshops, trainings and events to develop skills for remote work, education in the arts, healing and wellness taking place locally and nationally. 


  • Recipients of re-granting funds must be San Francisco residents or San Francisco-based nonprofit organizations.

  • Applications for re-granting funds must be reviewed by a panel of at least 50% BIPOC individuals.

Applicants should address the following within their proposed project

  • The organization has a demonstrated history of redistributing resources and measuring success. 
  • The organization has strong examples and details of collaborating with or within BIPOC communities. 
  • The organization shares an outreach plan that benefits BIPOC communities. 
  • Staff members of the re-granting agency (intermediary) have deep ties to the identified communities. They are trained and/or dedicated to supporting potential award recipients starting from the application through final reporting. Staff members have the patience to support individuals lacking access to technology or basic computer literacy. 
  • The goals and desired outcomes for administering funds are thoughtful and relevant to the Project Area. 

Funding will support

  • Up to 20 percent of the entire grant amount may be allocated for planning and administering the re-granting program. 
  • Re-granting awards must range between $1,000 minimum and $15,000 maximum and fund BIPOC communities.
  • At least 50 percent of re-grant awards must directly benefit vulnerable populations including: youth (age 0 to 24 years old), older adults (age 60 and up), individuals with disabilities, individuals affected by the justice system/foster care, and individuals experiencing homelessness and/or joblessness. 

Who Can Apply


  • The applicant organization must be tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).
  • The applying organization must be San Francisco-based and must demonstrate two years of programmatic activity since September 2018.
  • The applying organization’s team must include 50 percent of staff members self-identifying as Black/Indigenous/People of Color (BIPOC).
  • The applying organization’s mission statement must be clearly focused on the following activities in San Francisco: lifelong learning, arts education, workforce development, youth development, or creating and sharing tools and practices for artists.
  • The applicant organization cannot be part of another City agency or department.
  • Demonstrated history of administering a competitive arts-related re-granting program or distributing resources to the BIPOC community for at least two years at the time of application.
  • Applicants must not be in default on any grants or loans from: (1) SFAC; (2) other City departments (including, without limitation, 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.
  • The proposed project must take place in San Francisco between January 1, 2021 and June 30, 2022, with potential to extend.
  • 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 awards.


  • A proposed project cannot receive simultaneous funds from multiple SFAC funding sources; this includes collaborators applying to work on different components of the same project and applying separately.
  • Applicants may only submit one application.
  • The awarding of funds does not imply that the Arts Commission or any other City agency will produce, exhibit, or present the art created. It is the responsibility of the applicant to secure any required permits for public presentations or workshops.

​ineligible expenses

Re-granting funds may not pay for: 
  1. Activities outside of San Francisco;

  2. Deficit reduction;

  3. Start-up money for new organizations;

grantee and insurance requirements

  • City Permits and Permissions: If the proposal includes components that require City permits or approval such as publicly installed art, street closures, sound amplification in public space, or murals, the artist will be solely responsible for securing the necessary permits, permissions, insurance, and approvals. This planning should be reflected in your project timeline.
  • Insurance Requirements:
    General Liability:
    • To authorize any grant payment, insurance must cover the entire grant period (January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2022). Awarded grantees will need to submit a certificate of General Liability Insurance and the Endorsement Page with the first and final invoices. General liability insurance cannot be waived.
  • Abuse and Molestation Insurance: Abuse & Molestation Insurance must be purchased and added to the General Liability policy if the project involves working with vulnerable populations (youth under the age of 18, people with disabilities, or people over the age of 65).
  • Professional services related to construction and facility projects must evidence Professional Liability Insurance coverage.
  • Workers Comp Insurance: Workers Comp insurance is required for an organization that has employees.
  • Waiver of Subrogation addendum is required for projects on ANY City-owned property.
  • Auto Insurance: Auto Insurance is required if use of a vehicle is necessary to fulfill the project.
  • Art Installation: Please note that any art installed with these grant funds on property owned by the City and County of San Francisco or on private property, must be reviewed and approved by the San Francisco Arts Commission starting with the Visual Arts Committee. This applies to murals, public sculpture, and similar projects. It will be the responsibility of the grantee to build this process into their grant plan, budget narrative and timeline. Please contact Craig Corpora at for questions about murals, sculpture or any other type of public art.

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 for the complete overview of the Sankofa application questions and guidance.





Cultural Significance

(50 points)


Highlight your organization’s activities over the last two years collaborating with BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Color) communities. 

The organization has strong examples and details of working with and serving BIPOC communities.

25 Who is your intended audience(s) for the re-granting program? Describe your strategy for promotion and recruitment. 

The organization shares an outreach plan or constituency that serves BIPOC communities and vulnerable populations including: youth (age 0 to 24 years old), older adults (age 60 and up), individuals with disabilities, individuals affected by the justice system/foster care, and individuals experiencing homelessness and/or joblessness.

Ability to Administer Awards

(50 points)


Identify the Project Area and describe how you will administer the re-granting program. How you will measure success? How does the Project Area relate to your organization’s history and/or mission? 

The organization has a demonstrated history of redistributing resources and measuring success. Financial uploads are complete.
10 Describe your proposed application development and selection process for the re-granting program. How will reviewers be selected and what will their qualifications be? How many awards do you anticipate distributing and how will you determine the amount of each award?

The application process includes reviewers representing a diverse set of backgrounds and experiences that inform the review process and allow for the applicants to be reviewed equitably.


Identify the staff members who will administer the re-granting program and their relevance to the identified communities by providing brief biographies. 

Describe your staff’s capacity and experience to support award recipients from the application through the final report. Consider some award recipients may not have regular access to technology or basic computer literacy. 

Staff has deep ties to the identified communities and experience offering technical support to a variety of constituents. 


What are your aspirational goals or objectives for administering the re-granting program? Describe how you will prioritize communities of color most affected by COVID-19. 

The goals or outcomes for administering funds are clear and relevant.

Application Review

Grantees will be selected by an internal review process comprised of representatives from the San Francisco Arts Commission and other City department staff and/or funding partners. Panelists will review applications and make funding recommendations. Priority will be given to applicants who successfully meet the criteria within each funding category. 

Panel Review Attendance and influence

The Sankofa Initiative panel review is not open to the public. Please note an applicant that is found to have made attempts to influence a panelist in any way will be automatically disqualified.

Funding Recommendations

Based on an evaluation of the applications, panelist scores create a ranking for funding recommendations. Funding recommendations are determined within each grant category.

Funding Approval

Panel recommendations are subject to the approval of the Arts Commission. For this grant, recommendations will be reviewed and approved by Community Investments and then the full Commission. Grant funds are administered based on the approval of the Arts Commission. 

Grant amounts may differ from the request amount due to the level of funding available to the program, demand for that funding, and/or the rank an application receives from the peer review panel.

Arts Commission meetings are open to the public. Agendas are available at 72 hours in advance of a meeting.

Grant notifications

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


You may contact to request panel comments. Requests are fulfilled in the order they are received.

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

April 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

April 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

April 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting
Public Meeting

Advisory Committee of Street Artists and Crafts Examiners (Cancelled)

April 06
1:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Virtual Meeting