Special Project Grants | (SPX) Grant Guidelines

FOR PROJECTS APRIL 1, 2024 - MARCH 31, 2025, or as indicated. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Tuesday, January 30, 2024 at 12 p.m./Noon

For any questions about Special Project Grants, please contact Senior Program Officer, Anne Trickey at anne.trickey@sfgov.org or 415-806-5884.

Translation

A translation of this grant application is available upon request; however, only applications in English will be accepted. For more information, please contact 311.

Para obtener información en español, comuníquese al 311.

此拨款申请书的翻译版本将应请求而提供;然而,只有英文版本的申请书才会被接纳。联系电话:311

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.panopio@sfgov.org.

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SPX GUIDELINES (PDF)

SPX APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS (PDF)

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

Information about Special Project Grants (SPX)

Important Dates

Applications Due January 30, 2024 at 12 p.m./Noon
Grant Panel Review February 9, 2024 (Virtual)
Funding Recommendations February 20, 2024
Commission Approval March 4, 2024
Notification of Funding March 2024
Grant Period Begins April 1, 2024

* Dates are subject to change.

About Special Project Grants (SPX)

Each year at the beginning of the new fiscal year in July, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors releases a list of budget amendments, commonly known as "addbacks." These are funds that elected officials allocate to various City departments for citywide programs as well as in services and resources in their respective districts.

The San Francisco Arts Commission conducts an open and transparent request for proposals for allocations that we receive through the addback process. This competitive process is utilized throughout the City for the allocation of public funds.

The allocations in Fiscal Year 2023-24 address a wide range of arts activities related to neighborhood and/or community-focused engagement and arts access. Many of these allocations align with the legislative mandates of the Cultural Equity Endowment.

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 Senior Program Officer, Anne Trickey at anne.trickey@sfgov.org or 415-806-5884.

Land Acknowledgement

The San Francisco Arts Commission acknowledges that we are on the unceded ancestral homeland of the Ramaytush Ohlone. We affirm the sovereign rights of their community as First Peoples and are committed to supporting the traditional and contemporary evolution of the American Indian community and uplifting contemporary indigenous voices and culture. https://www.sfartscommission.org/content/land-acknowledgement

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.

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.

Eligible Grant Request Amount

The maximum grant request amount for a Special Project Grant vary project to project and the grant amounts in this cycle range from $20,000 to $42,500. Please refer to each category and project description for the eligible request amount. These amounts are not guaranteed and the actual amount funded may be more or less. Should additional City funding become available, grant amounts could be increased.

Grant Term

A grant funded pursuant to these guidelines will have a grant term of one or two years as indicated in the category description. The City at its sole, absolute discretion shall have the option to extend the term for additional years as determined by the Arts Commission.

This application is issued pursuant to San Francisco Administrative Code Chapter 21G: Grants. The San Francisco Arts Commission reserves the right to: reissue these guidelines and request for applications; reject or cancel 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.

Arts organizations and Fiscal Sponsor organizations: Large or mid-sized organizations that exceed $2,000,000 annual revenue 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.
 

How to Apply

APPLICATIONS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: https://sfartscommission.us-1.smartsimple.com/
 

Applications must be submitted online. Emailed 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 need special accommodations, you must contact Senior Program Officer Anne Trickey at anne,trickey@sfgov.org or 415-806-5884 at least two weeks before the application deadline for us to appropriately accommodate.

Purpose and Funding Categories

District numbers can be found at: http://propertymap.sfplanning.org/

1. District 5 Juneteenth Celebration: Support up to $42,500 for an arts nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization or fiscally sponsored entity to provide arts programming and/or event(s) to commemorate Juneteenth. Activities may include gallery shows, workshops and classes, special events and general community engagement. The organization will be responsible for event management and on-site security and maintenance. 

Applicants should address the following within their proposed project:

  • The organization’s history and experience producing community engagement opportunities through the arts.
  • Demonstrate strong leadership and partnerships that convey confidence that the proposed activities will be successful.
  • A budget that reflects payments to San Francisco-based artists.
  • Ability to convene a working group that includes community.

2. District 7 Community Murals: This opportunity is open to artist and organization applicants. Up to $45,000 in District 7 Community Grants Initiative funds will be used to support a series of mural projects within District 7. Applicants will need to propose a project for a specific location and why their work is a fit. Grantees will need to go through the Visual Arts Committee approval process and manage all needed permits based on the jurisdiction of the location. Two grants are available.

Applicants should address the following within their proposed project:

  • Choose which location they are applying for:
    • Merced Extension Triangle up to $20,000 available
    • Inner Sunset Series up to $25,000 available
  • How their work is a fit for the specific project location.
  • Demonstrate a history of working in a community process.
  • Proposed leadership conveys confidence that the activities supported through this grant will be successfully executed.

Who Can Apply

ORGANIZATIONS

  • The applicant organization must be a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and in good standing with the IRS under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). To check or update your status visit: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/
  • The applicant organization must be in good standing with the California Franchise Tax Board. To check or update your status visit: https://webapp.ftb.ca.gov/eletter/?Submit=Check+Status
  • The applicant organization must be in good standing with the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. To check or update your status visit: https://rct.doj.ca.gov/Verification/Web/Search.aspx?facility=Y
    • To receive a grant under this Solicitation, any nonprofit applicant must be in good standing with the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts by the time of grant execution and must remain in good standing during the term of the agreement. 
    • Upon request, the applicant must provide documentation to the City demonstrating its good standing with applicable legal requirements. 
    • If applicant will use any nonprofit subcontractors/subgrantees/subrecipients to perform the agreement, proposer will be responsible for ensuring they are also in compliance with all requirements of the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts at the time of grant execution and for the duration of the agreement.
       
  • The applicant organization must be in good standing with the California Secretary of State. To check or update your status visit: https://bizfileonline.sos.ca.gov/search/business
     
  • The applicant organization must be San Francisco-based.
    • The organization must demonstrate a San Francisco corporate address. Documentation demonstrating a San Francisco corporate address must be submitted with the application
    • Verifiable proof of San Francisco corporate address: This may be in the form of a utilities bill (water/sewage, power gas/electricity or internet), telephone/cell phone bill, bank or credit card statement, signed lease agreement or mortgage statement.
    • Documents should be no more than three (3) months old and must include the applicant organization’s name.
    • If using a fiscal sponsor, the Applicant Organization’s address must be different from their fiscal sponsor.
       
  • The applicant organization’s mission statement must be clearly focused on the development, production, presentation and/or support of arts activities and/or youth arts activities in San Francisco.
     
  • 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 April 1, 2024 – March 31, 2025.
     
  • It is anticipated that successful proposals will be for a term of one to two years beginning in fiscal year 2023-2024 with a possible extension based on extenuating circumstances as determined by the San Francisco Arts Commission in consultation with the grantee. Any extension is subject to the San Francisco Arts Commission approval and funding appropriation. The San Francisco Arts Commission reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to not exercise an extension option.
     
  • Financials: The applicant organization’s Profit and Loss Statements and Balance Sheets for the two most recently completed fiscal years are required to upload with the application.
     
  • 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, the organization 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: https://sfcitypartner.sfgov.org/pages/become-a-supplier.aspx

    Please note: you will only be required to register as a City Supplier if you are approved for funding.

Artists

  • The applicant must be a continuous resident of San Francisco since January 2022. Documentation demonstrating San Francisco residency must be submitted with the application. For a complete list of acceptable forms of proof of residency, please see the San Francisco Artist Grant application instructions
    • Verifiable proof of San Francisco corporate address: This may be in the form of a utilities bill (water/sewage, power gas/electricity or internet), telephone/cell phone bill, bank or credit card statement, signed lease agreement or mortgage statement.
    • Documents should be no more than three (3) months old and must include the applicant’s name.
  • The applicant must be at least 18 years old. 
  • The applicant may be in any phase of their artistic career. 
  • The applicant cannot be enrolled as a full-time student at the time of the application or during the grant period. 
  • The applicant cannot be a City & County of San Francisco Employee, this includes teachers with the San Francisco Unified School District.
  • Projects working with vulnerable populations: THE APPLICANT MUST APPLY WITH A FISCAL SPONSOR IF THE PROPOSED PROJECT INVOLVES WORKING WITH VULNERABLE POPULATIONS WHO ARE DEFINED AS: MINORS UNDER THE AGE OF 18, SENIORS OVER THE AGE OF 65 OR DEVELOPMENTALLY DISABLED POPULATIONS. If funded, the fiscal sponsor must provide sexual misconduct insurance.
     
  • 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, 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 April 1, 2024 - March 31, 2025.
     
  • It is anticipated that successful proposals will be for a term of one to two years beginning in fiscal year 2024-2025 with possible extensions based on extenuating circumstances as determined by the Arts Commission in consultation with the grantee. Any extension is subject to Arts Commission approval and funding appropriation. The Arts Commission reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to not exercise an extension option.
  • The individual 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, the individual must become a registered, compliant supplier and meet the City of San Francisco's insurance requirements.  

For more information about supplier requirements, visit: https://sfcitypartner.sfgov.org/pages/become-a-supplier.aspx  

Please note: You will only be required to register as a City Supplier and provide insurance if you are approved for funding. 

Fiscal Sponsors

  • The Fiscal Sponsor organization must be a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization and in good standing with the IRS under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3). To check or update your status visit: https://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/
     
  • The Fiscal Sponsor organization must be in good standing with the California Franchise Tax Board. To check or update your status visit: https://webapp.ftb.ca.gov/eletter/?Submit=Check+Status
     
  • The Fiscal Sponsor organization must be in good standing with the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts. To check or update your status visit: https://rct.doj.ca.gov/Verification/Web/Search.aspx?facility=Y
    • To receive a grant under this Solicitation, any nonprofit applicant must be in good standing with the California Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts by the time of grant execution and must remain in good standing during the term of the agreement. 
    • Upon request, the applicant must provide documentation to the City demonstrating its good standing with applicable legal requirements. 
    • If applicant will use any nonprofit subcontractors/subgrantees/subrecipients to perform the agreement, proposer will be responsible for ensuring they are also in compliance with all requirements of the Attorney General’s Registry of Charitable Trusts at the time of grant execution and for the duration of the agreement.
       
  • The Fiscal Sponsor organization must be in good standing with the California Secretary of State. To check or update your status visit: https://bizfileonline.sos.ca.gov/search/business
     
  • The Fiscal Sponsor organization must be San Francisco-based.
    • The Fiscal Sponsor organization must demonstrate a San Francisco corporate address. Documentation demonstrating a San Francisco corporate address must be submitted with the application.
    • Verifiable proof of San Francisco corporate address: This may be in the form of a utilities bill (water/sewage, power gas/electricity or internet), telephone/cell phone bill, bank or credit card statement, signed lease agreement or mortgage statement.
    • Documents should be no more than three (3) months old and must include the applicant organization’s name.
    • If using a fiscal sponsor, the Applicant Organization’s address must be different from their fiscal sponsor.
       
  • The fiscally sponsored organization/project cannot be any type of for-profit entity, including sole proprietorship, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation.
     
  • Applicants/organizations cannot retroactively work with or change fiscal sponsorship after a grant application is approved for funding.
     
  • NEW: If the application is funded. A Fiscal Sponsorship Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the fiscal sponsor and the fiscally sponsored applicant must be provided and include the following:
    • 1) Description of the exact nature of the services to be provided by this fiscal sponsor;
    • 2) The manner in which funds will be disbursed from the grant to the fiscally sponsored project/entity;
    • 3) An outline of the reporting requirements for the fiscally sponsored project/entity; 
    • 4) The fiscal sponsorship fee;
    • 5) Identification of the fiscal sponsor’s staff person who will serve as the primary liaison with the fiscally-sponsored project/entity.
       
  • Organizations may not act as a fiscal sponsor for employees or artists contracted by that organization; a third-party fiscal sponsor is required.
     
  • If an applicant is approved for funding, the fiscal sponsor is the legal grantee and receives the funds on behalf of the applicant who is the subgrantee.
     
  • The fiscal sponsor/grantee is required to work with the subgrantee to complete and submit financial documentation of the disbursement of funds with the grant’s final report.
     
  • ALL FUNDS MUST BE PAID TO THE SUBGRANTEE IN ADVANCE OF THE FINAL DISBURSEMENT OF THE GRANT.
     
  • Copyright: If the applicant receives funding, the fiscal sponsor and the applicant must decide who will hold the copyright to any materials or work created during the grant period. This should be discussed in advance of signing the grant agreement, as it includes language regarding copyright.
     
  • The Fiscal Sponsor 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, the organization 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: https://sfcitypartner.sfgov.org/pages/become-a-supplier.aspx

    Please note: you will only be required to register as a City Supplier if you are approved for funding.

Restrictions

  • Programs of another City agency or department are not eligible to apply.
     
  • Applicants cannot submit more than one application for each SPX category.
     
  • Partners and collaborators cannot apply separately for the same project.
     
  • Grant funding does not imply that the San Francisco Arts Commission or any other City agency will produce, exhibit, promote or present the art created. It is the responsibility of the artist to secure a venue, insurance and any permits for public presentations.

Ineligible Expenses

Grant funds may not pay for:

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

Insurance Requirements

Please note: Insurance is NOT required to submit an application; you will only be required to provide insurance if you are approved for funding. Below are the insurance requirements for all grantees.  

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

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.

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.

Worker’s 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.

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

City Permits and Permissions

If the proposal includes components that require City permits or approval such as publicly installed art, murals, street closures or sound amplification in public space, the organization will be solely responsible for securing the necessary permits, permissions and approvals. This planning should be reflected in the project timeline.

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 add this process into their grant plan and budget. Please contact Craig Corpora at craig.corpora@sfgov.org for questions about murals, sculpture or any other type of public art.

Panel Evaluation and Scoring Criteria

Scoring Criteria

Please be aware each category will have distinct areas to address, which are listed in the Purpose and Funding Categories 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 to “Fund” or “Not Fund”. Applications must be assigned a “Fund” by the review panel to be recommended for funding.

Quality of Proposed Project

  • Project goals, vision and process are clearly defined; demonstrate clarity and depth of concepts; and are relevant to requirements of the specific grant category.

Impact

  • Strength of the impact of the project on the organization and audience(s) and/or community.
  • Ability to demonstrate the impact and benefits of the project, including qualitative and quantitative results.

Budget and Financials

  • Completed Budget
  • Budget Notes
  • Financials

Application Review

Funds will be granted based on a review process that includes a review panel 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 to them will not be eligible for funding. Grant amounts are either the full amount of the grant sought and are never less than 75 percent of the requested amount.

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.

Arts Commission meetings are open to the public. Agendas are available at https://sfgov.org/arts/ 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

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

 

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

March 20
/
3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 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

April 16
/
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

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

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

March 18
/
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online