Special Project Grants | (SPX) Grant Guidelines

FOR PROJECTS APRIL 1, 2023 - MARCH 31, 2024, or as indicated. 

APPLICATION DEADLINE: Monday, February 6, 2023 at 12 p.m.

For any questions about Special Project Grants, please contact Community Investments Director, Denise Pate at denise.pate@sfgov.org or 415-252-2222.

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)



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

Information about Special Project Grants (SPX)

Important Dates

Applications Due February 6, 2023 at 12 p.m.
Panel Review February 10, 2023
Funding Recommendations February 21, 2023
Commission Approval March 6, 2023
Grant Period Begins April 1, 2023


About the Special Project Grants (SPX)

The Special Project Grants (SPX) program consists of 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. The San Francisco Arts Commission (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 Community Investments Director, Denise Pate at denise.pate@sfgov.org or 415-252-2222.

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.

Maximum 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 $24,950 to $300,000. Please refer to each category and project description for the eligible request amount. 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.

How to Apply

APPLICATIONS ARE AVAILABLE ONLINE AT: https://sfac.tfaforms.net/172

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.

NEW: If you need special accommodations, you must contact Community Investments Director Denise Pate at denise.pate@sfgov.org or 415-252-2222 at least two weeks before the application deadline for us to appropriately accommodate.

Eligibility

  • The applicant organization must be tax-exempt and in good standing with the State of California and under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).

  • NEW: All applicant organizations 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 San Francisco-based.
     
  • NEW: The organization (and its fiscal sponsor, if applicable) must demonstrate a San Francisco corporate address and must articulate a consistent programmatic history and public benefit to the City of San Francisco, its neighborhoods and communities over the last two years (since November 2020). Documentation demonstrating San Francisco corporate address must be submitted with the application. For a complete list of acceptable forms of proof of corporate address, please see the SPX application instructions.

  • The applicant organization must demonstrate a history of consistent programmatic history and public benefit to the City of San Francisco, its neighborhoods and communities over the last two years.

  • 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.

  • The applicant cannot be part of another City agency or department.

  • The organization’s annual operating revenue must not exceed $3,500,000.

  • 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, 2023, and March 31, 2024, or as indicated in the specific grant category.

    It is anticipated that successful proposals will be for a term of one or two years as indicated, with a possible extension for up to one additional year 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 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.

  • An organization awarded a grant pursuant to this application must agree to comply with the requirements of the 38th Supplement to Mayoral Proclamation Declaring the Existence of a Local Emergency (“Emergency Declaration”), dated February 25, 2020, and the Contractor Vaccination Policy for City Contractors issued by the City Administrator (“Contractor Vaccination Policy”), as those documents may be amended from time to time. A copy of the Contractor Vaccination Policy can be found here: https://sfdhr.org/sites/default/files/documents/COVID-19/COVID-19-Vaccination-Policy.pdf

Fiscal Sponsors

  • Fiscal sponsors must be based in San Francisco.
     
  • Fiscal Sponsors must be tax-exempt and in good standing with the State of California and under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3).
     
  • NEW: Fiscal sponsors 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
     
  • If the applicant/organization plans to work with a fiscal sponsor, a contractual arrangement between the applicant and the fiscal sponsor must be confirmed prior to the San Francisco Arts Commission’s grant application process.
     
  • Organizations may not act as a fiscal sponsor for employees or artists contracted by that organization; a third-party fiscal sponsor is required.
     
  • Applicants/organizations cannot retroactively work with or change fiscal sponsorship after a grant application is approved for funding.
     
  • 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.
     
  • Financials: The applicant organization’s Profit and Loss Statements and Balance Sheets for the two most recently completed fiscal years are required at the time of application and should be provided by the fiscal sponsor for the organization to upload to the online form.
     
  • 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.
     
  • An organization awarded a grant pursuant to this application must agree to comply with the requirements of the 38th Supplement to Mayoral Proclamation Declaring the Existence of a Local Emergency (“Emergency Declaration”), dated February 25, 2020, and the Contractor Vaccination Policy for City Contractors issued by the City Administrator (“Contractor Vaccination Policy”), as those documents may be amended from time to time. A copy of the Contractor Vaccination Policy can be found here: https://sfdhr.org/sites/default/files/documents/COVID-19/COVID-19-Vaccination-Policy.pdf

​Restrictions

  • 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 cannot submit more than one application for each SPX category.

  • The granting 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 required permits for public presentations or workshops.

Ineligible expenses

Grant funds may not pay for:
  1. Activities outside of San Francisco
  2. Deficit reduction;
  3. Start-up money for new organizations

Categories and Project Descriptions

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

1.  District 5 Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ) History Project:  Support up to $62,250 for one year to an arts nonprofit that works to collect, preserve, exhibit, and makes accessible to the public materials and knowledge to support and promote understanding of LGBTQ history, culture, and arts. Funds should go to support the selection of artists or art organizations to create an Interpretive Arts project honoring the history of the LGBTQ community in the Mid-Market/Tenderloin neighborhood. The project will encompass performance, visual, and digital art all of which will be presented in a final commemorative event.

Applicants should address the following in their application:
  • ​​​​​Demonstrate a direct and documented connection to the Mid-Market/Tenderloin’s LGBTQ community.
  • Demonstrate a history of exhibitions and an archival collection that addresses the history of the LGBTQ community.
  • Demonstrate a plan that presents details that include outreach, methodology, and the outline of the final project.
  • Proposed leadership conveys confidence that the activities supported through this grant will be successfully executed.
2.  District 5 Murals and arts-related events in Fillmore, Hayes Valley and Tenderloin neighborhood: Support up to $75,000 for one year for an arts nonprofit organization 501(c)(3) based in District 9 to plan, design, execute two (2) murals in the Western Addition, Hayes Valley, and/or Tenderloin neighborhoods. The organization must have a history of building bridges between property managers and the street art community. Funds should be used to paint art on exterior surfaces and dining parklets under a lead artist’s mentorship with a focus on the BIPOC community.

Applicants should address the following within their proposed project:
  • The organization’s demonstrated history commissioning murals and transforming walls and alleys into outdoor gallery spaces.
  • Plans to identify exterior surfaces and dining parklets to paint in D5.
  • Proposed leadership and partnerships that convey confidence that the activities supported through this grant will be successfully executed.

​3.  District 7 Utility Box Mural Installation and Repair: Support up to $24,950 for one year in District 7. Community Grants Initiative funds will be used to support a community utility box mural arts project. This will be a collaborative community arts project to create small scale murals and repair existing murals on utility boxes along Ocean Avenue and neighboring streets. The artist or organization will work with community members to develop community-driven digital print installations on the utility boxes which will allow community members to publicly showcase their voices in the city and to engage with the arts where they live.

Applicants should address the following within their proposed project:

  • Demonstrate a history of working in a community process.
  • Proposed leadership conveys confidence that the activities supported through this grant will be successfully executed.

4.  District 8 Mural Restoration: Support up to $30,000 for one year for an organization with a history of developing and restoring murals. Funds should be used to support the preservation and restoration of up to three (3), existing murals located in District 8.

Applicants should address the following within their proposed project:

  • Demonstrated history of successfully working with communities to develop, execute, preserve, and restore murals.
  • Demonstrated history of successfully and authentically working with the local community through a collaborative process.
  • Proposed leadership conveys confidence that the activities supported through this grant will be successfully executed.

5.   District 9 Arts Fellow Program within the Mission District: Support up to $300,000 for two years to support the hiring of four (4) four fellows to develop partnership with the San Francisco Latino Parity and Equity Coalition and the Latino Task Force Coalition. Funds should be utilized to hire the fellows that will be placed for a 9-month fellowship.

Applicants should address the following within their proposed project:

  • The organization’s demonstrated history engaging the Latino/Latinx communities in District 9.
  • Proposed outreach plan to solicit and hire appropriate arts fellows to develop partnerships.
  • Plans to support and develop the arts fellows.
  • A budget that reflects payment to (4) four arts fellows over (9) nine months.
  • Proposed leadership conveys confidence that the activities supported through this grant will be successfully executed.

6.  Citywide Maya Angelou Celebration: Support up to $50,000 for one year for a nonprofit, arts and cultural 501(c)(3) organization or fiscally sponsored entity to plan three to four free, community events commemorating Maya Angelou. Activities may include gallery shows, workshops and classes, live performances, and special events. Events must take place between April 1, 2023 – March 31, 2024. The organization will be responsible for event management, on-site security, and maintenance as applicable. Up to three (3) grants may be awarded.

Applicants should address the following within their proposed project:

  • The organization or entity’s history and experience producing community arts and educational events.
  • A budget that reflects payments to San Francisco-based artists.
  • Demonstrate strong leadership and partnerships that conveys confidence that the proposed activities will be successful.
  • The organization or entity’s history and experience producing a diverse array of community arts events.
  • A budget that reflects payments to San Francisco-based artists.
  • Demonstrate strong leadership and partnerships that conveys confidence that the proposed activities will be successful.

    Insurance Requirements

    Please note: Insurance is NOT required to apply. You are required to provide insurance only if you are approved for funding.

    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 “The City & County of San Francisco, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Place, 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.  

    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. 

    • Workers Compensation Insurance is a California State law. 

    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. https://www.cslb.ca.gov/

    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.

    • Visual Art Committee Approval for Public Art Projects
      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 & Scoring Criteria

    Scoring Criteria

    Please be aware each category will have distinct areas to address, which are listed in the aforementioned Categories and Project Descriptions 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. 
       

    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 request or never less than 75 percent of the requested amount.

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

    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 where they must gain final approval for funding.  
     

    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

    Executive Committee Meeting

    February 22
    /
    1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

    Virtual Meeting
    Public Meeting

    Community Investments Committee Meeting

    February 21
    /
    1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

    Virtual Meeting
    Public Meeting

    Visual Arts Committee Meeting

    February 15
    /
    3:00 PM to 6:00 PM

    Virtual Meeting
    Public Meeting

    Community Investments Committee Meeting

    February 21
    /
    1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

    Virtual Meeting