AMENDED 9/8/2020


For any questions about Special Project Grants, please contact Deputy Director of Programs, Joanne Lee at or 415-252-2238.


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



Jump to:
Important Dates
Information about Special Project Grants
Who Can Apply
Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Important Dates

Applications Due Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at 12 p.m. NOON PST
Panel Review October 2020
Funding Recommendations October 2020
Commission Approval November 2020
Grant Period Begins January 1, 2021
Interim Reports Due February 1, 2022; February 2, 2023; February 1, 2024
Grant Period Ends June 30, 2025
Final Report Due  July 31, 2025

Information about the SOMA Nonprofit Facilities Funds (SPX)

About SPX

The Special Project Grants (SPX) program consists of one-time grants to address emerging needs within the arts ecosystem of San Francisco. Projects cover a wide range of arts activities related to neighborhood and/or community-based engagement and arts access. SFAC has allocated resources to make grants in multiple program areas based on supervisorial districts and/or specific communities. 

Applicants may only apply for funding specific to those geographic areas or communities outlined within these guidelines. For questions about this grant category, please contact Deputy Director of Programs, Joanne Lee at or 415-252-2238.

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.


Up to $600,000. 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 review panel.

How to Apply


Applications must be submitted online. Emailed, hard copy, postal mail, and 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 description

SOMA Nonprofit Facilities Fund: Support up to $600,000 for a nonprofit organization to (1) directly provide and coordinate space planning, financial planning and other technical assistance services, and (2) administer grant funds for arts and culture nonprofits based in the SOMA neighborhood on facility-related issues, including professional services and capital needs. Services and grant funds are prioritized for arts and culture organizations with long histories of service to and are deeply rooted in the SOMA community and were negatively impacted by the 5M development at 5th, Mission and Howard streets in San Francisco. Grant window: January 1, 2021 through June 30, 2025, with potential to extend. 

Applicants should have demonstrated skills and experience with:

  • Providing and/or coordinating facility-related technical assistance to arts and culture nonprofits, understanding the unique facility and operating needs of community arts organizations.
  • Familiarity with and ability to outreach and support SOMA-based nonprofits with varying levels of staffing and organizational capacity.

  • Developing, managing and administering grants to nonprofits.  
  • Project management and case management skills.

Applicants should address how they will support nonprofit arts and culture organizations with their facility-needs, specifically:

  • Description on how technical assistance services and grant funds will support long-term sustainability of the arts and culture organizations, including a description of services and uses of grant funds.  
  • Ability to partner with and leverage other technical assistance services, consultants, and funding sources to complement services funded under this RFP.
  • Sufficient level of staffing and high level of experience of staff to be assigned to oversee program and consultants.
  • Provide a five-year budget (2021 – 2025) with direct technical assistance expenses (22-40 percent of grant funds for personnel and consultants) and direct financial assistance (50-65 percent of grant funds to be re-granted). Administration expenses (8-10 percent of grant funds).  
  • Provide a five-year grant plan (2021-2025) with three (3) to five (5) activities per year and the intended outputs the applicant hopes to achieve.  

Who Can Apply


  • The applicant organization must be tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).
  • The applicant organization must be San Francisco-based, and must demonstrate three years of equitable and reputable technical assistance services in San Francisco.
  • The applicant organization cannot be part of another City agency or department.
  • 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, through either shared City resources or other pooled philanthropic funds.

  • 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.

​ineligible expenses

Grant 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, 2020 through June 30, 2025). 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 or Luna Izpisua at for questions about sculpture or any other type of public art.

Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Scoring Criteria

Please be aware the category has distinct areas to address, which are listed in the aforementioned Category and Project Description section above. The review panel will assess all applications and will recommend grants for applicants that strongly meet the review criteria below. The panel's review of applications and required documents is a multi-step process and involves assigning applications as “Fund” or “Not Fund”. Applications must be assigned a “Fund” by the review panel to be considered for funding. 

Quality of Proposed Project

  • Relevant experience, capacity, and processes are clearly defined; demonstrate clarity and depth of concepts; and address the requirements of the grant category. 


  • Ability to demonstrate the impact and benefits of the project, including qualitative and quantitative results.

Application Review

Grantees will be selected by a 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

SPX panels are 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

Applications that do not have “Fund” assigned will not be eligible for funding. Grant amounts are either the full amount of the grant sought or a substantial portion of the requested grant—and never less than 75 percent.

Funding Approval

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.

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 Awards

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


Panelists may take notes during their review. You may contact to request panel comments. Requests are fulfilled in the order they are received.

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

April 17
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online
Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online
Public Meeting

Community Investments Committee Meeting

December 09
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online
Public Meeting

Full Arts Commission Meeting

May 06
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online