Organization Project Grants


(submission through

For any questions about OPG, contact Program Officer Liz Ozol at or 415-252-2231.


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 Kate Patterson-Murphy al 415-252-2229 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 Cece Carpio, 415-252-2217 o

Print Guidelines (PDF) APPLY NOW opg faqs Print inSTRUCTIONS (WORD DOC) 

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Important Dates
Information about Organization Project Grants
Who Can Apply
Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Important Dates

Technical Assistance Workshops
View the schedule of upcoming dates
September 2017
Applications Due October 11, 2017, 12 p.m.
Panel Review January – March 2018
Funding Recommendations April 2018
Commission Approval May 2018
Grant Period July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

Information about Organization Project Grants (OPG)

About OPG

The Organization Project Grant (OPG) program supports small and mid-sized arts organizations in the production and presentation of artistic works, in all disciplines, accessible to the general public in San Francisco. OPG supports—in whole or in part— specific arts projects that have been determined to be of sufficient quality and benefit or interest to the community at large or to specific segments of the community. OPG grants may be used to fund art exhibitions and installations, film and video screenings, music and dance concerts, theater performances, on-line arts projects, literary readings and publications, workshops in various art forms, local arts festivals, and other activities in a similar vein. Applications will be reviewed in visual art, literary art, media art, music, dance, and theater. This grant does not fund arts education classes.

Alignment with SFAC goals

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: Statement of Purpose,” these communities include: African and African American; Latino/a; 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. 

Organizations must align with one of SFAC’s goals for equitable grantmaking:

  • Capacity Building: Build capacity, resilience and economic viability of individual artists from historically marginalized communities.
  • Accessibility: Provide a space to access art and creativity for historically marginalized communities.
  • Cultural Integrity: Create or present work that demonstrates integrity and ethical use of material with specific cultural origins and context.
  • Intersectionality: Address how race, gender, sexuality, ability, socioeconomic status, immigration status, religion, class, etc. are interconnected through artistic programming or process.

Eligible Request Amount

Organization Project Grant requests may be up to $20,000 (but no more than 50 percent of the organization’s three-year average annual operating budget).

Native American Arts & Cultural Traditions (NAACT-OPG)

Native American Arts & Cultural Traditions (NAACT) category is aligned with Cultural Equity Grants. Applicants for NAACT-OPG should apply through the applicable grant category, and will be prompted to choose if they would like to apply through NAACT. By choosing this prompt, these applications will be reviewed by a panel of community members that represent the Native American community in San Francisco Bay Area. Applicants to NAACT should clearly substantiate that they are connected to the Native American community within their narrative responses. Please follow all of the instructions for OPG and check the box at the end of the Applicant Information Page to confirm that you would like to be considered under the NAACT-OPG program.

Who Can Apply


  • The organization must be tax-exempt under Internal Revenue Code Section 501(c)(3) or have a fiscal sponsor that is so qualified.
  • The organization (and its fiscal sponsor, if applicable) must be based in San Francisco.
  • The organization’s mission statement must be clearly focused on the development, production, and/or presentation of arts activities in San Francisco.
  • The applicant organization cannot be part of another City agency or department.
  • The organization must demonstrate a continuing and stable presence in the community and been in existence for at least two years with documentation of creating and presenting original works to the public in San Francisco for at least four events that span from October 2015 to the grant deadline.
  • Applicants to OPG may apply to Cultural Equity Initiative (CEI) grants, or be mid-cycle of a CEI grant. Previously a grantee could not have both a CEI and an OPG but this restriction has been lifted.
  • The organization’s three-year average annual operating budget must not exceed $1.5 million in income (determined by the line: Revenue Less In-Kind minus Non-operating Revenue in the SFAC DataArts Report).
  • Applicants must not be in default on any grants or loans from: (1) SFAC, (2) other City departments (including, without limitation, 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) Northern California Community Loan Fund, (5) Community Arts Stabilization Trust; or (6) the Center for Cultural Innovation. This default clause was expanded due to the fact that SFAC has a fiduciary relationship with these particular organizations, through either shared City resources or other pooled philanthropic funds.
  • The proposed project must take place in San Francisco between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019.
  • 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 from the San Francisco Arts Commission, you must become a registered, compliant supplier (formerly called a vendor) and meet the City of San Francisco's insurance and business tax requirements. For more information about supplier requirements, visit: Please note if you are not already a City supplier, you will only be required to register if you are awarded a grant. Insurance and business tax requirements will be explained and made available upon approval of grant awards.
  • For NAACT-OPG: The organization must have a strong track record and demonstrated leadership that substantiates that they are connected to a Native American* community and engaged in significant programming that is rooted in Native American arts and cultural traditions.
    *Per the Human Rights Commission, Native American is defined as people of indigenous descent from North, Central, and South American heritage as well as Native Hawaiians, Samoans, Marshall Islanders, and the indigenous people of Guam (whether enrolled, federally or nationally recognized or not). All groups indicated are encouraged to apply, but due to limited funds, priority will go to artists that are affiliated and connected to groups falling under the jurisdiction of the United States.
  • Applicants must receive an average score of 75 percent or above by the review panel to be considered for funding. Funding is not guaranteed for a score of 75 percent or above, and is determined by the availability of funds.


  • 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 the Organization Project Grant category. An applicant cannot apply to both an OPG and a NAACT- OPG. This does not apply to fiscal sponsors who are submitting applications on behalf of different fiscally sponsored projects.
  • Applicants cannot receive funding for two consecutive grant cycles in the OPG category.
  • Organizations can request no more than 50 percent of their three-year average annual operating budget (determined by Revenue Less In-Kind minus Non-operating Revenue in the SFAC Data Arts Report).
  • Any previously-awarded OPG grants must be completed and closed out before applying for any additional grants in the OPG category.
  • The awarding of funds does not imply that the Arts Commission or any other City agency will produce, exhibit, promote or present the art created. It is the responsibility of the applicant to secure a venue, appropriate insurance and any required permits for public presentations or workshops.
  • OPG does not fund arts education classes.
  • Grant funds may not pay for:
  1. Projects that will not culminate in a public art presentation in San Francisco or do not otherwise include significant public participation.
  2. Projects aimed primarily at organizational development (see SFAC’s Cultural Equity Initiatives grants).
  3. Deficit reduction.
  4. Start-up costs/seed money for new organizations or businesses.
  5. Food and beverage expenses.

project requirements

  • Public Presentation Requirement: Projects must be developed and presented in San Francisco and culminate in a local public presentation or a meaningful, accessible engagement of the public within the grant period. They may be targeted at specific audiences and/or charge a fee, but they cannot be limited to “closed” audiences. Projects that involve radio or television broadcasting, as well as internet-distributed projects, should have a clear San Francisco orientation with particular articulation of, and attention to, the intended audience. The same is true of publication-based projects and others that, by their nature, do not involve presence in a physical space. Applicants must include confirmation or a tentative commitment from a publicly accessible San Francisco venue for the project. Venues can be formal or informal and either the venue or the applicant must secure liability insurance.
  • 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, and approvals. This planning should be reflected in your 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 of the Commission. 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 and timeline. Please contact the following Public Art Program staff if you have questions: Jenn Crane at  for murals; Aleta Lee at for sculpture or any other type of public art.

Panel Evaluation & Scoring Criteria

Grants Panelists

OPG applications are evaluated in an open panel review process by a panel of peers. Grant review panelists reflect the diversity of San Francisco, have broad knowledge about the particular artistic discipline and field issues, and have experience that aligns with the purpose of the specific grant category.

Application Review

We review OPG grants in six panel categories Visual Art, Literary Art, Media Art, Music, Dance, and Theater, and will have panelists with expertise in these disciplines. It is important to select the appropriate category for your proposed project. If your proposal involves multiple disciplines, you should select the panel that you think best reflects the primary artistic content. Panelists will convene to discuss and score applications.

Panel Review Attendance

OPG panel meetings are open to the public. A time schedule of each panel meeting is emailed to applicants in advance. Please be sure that you include a working email address in your application materials. Take steps to ensure that emails from SFAC are not lost in your spam filter. Applicants are welcome to observe the meetings, but may not engage in discussion with the panelists or SFAC staff during the panel. Many applicants find it insightful to listen to the discussions of applications because the panelists are seasoned professionals. 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 proposals, panelist scores create a ranking for funding recommendations. Panelists will evaluate and rank proposals in three distinct budget categories: organizations with budgets under $150,000; organizations with budgets between $150,000 and $400,000; and organizations with budgets between $400,000 and $1.5 million. Funding recommendations will be determined within each budget category. Staff may also take into consideration discipline when determining how deep into the ranking recommended funding will go. Applicants that do not score above 75 percent of the allotted points 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.

Scoring Criteria

Panelists will be instructed to use the following scoring criteria that correspond with the noted application questions. Close review of this grid may help you focus your application responses.





Alignment with SFAC Goals

(25 points)


The applicant demonstrates a thorough understanding of communities served and intentionality for serving those communities, and has a sound strategy for meeting the needs of the communities they serve.

- Who does your organization serve and why?

- How does your organization meet the needs of the communities you serve?


The organization strongly aligns with one of SFAC goals for equitable grantmaking.

-  Using detailed explanation and examples, describe how your organization aligns with the selected goal.


Leadership has adequate relevant experience to work in communities served.

- Describe the leadership team and staff’s relevant experience and qualifications working in the communities you serve.

Artistic History

(25 points)


Demonstrated commitment to the organization’s mission through artistic programs. Confidence in the organization’s ability to successfully carry out the proposed project.

- Describe your organization’s history and highlight major accomplishments that are relevant to the proposed project.

- Attached Calendar of Art Activities

- Work Samples

Quality of Proposed Project

(35 points)


Project goals, vision and process demonstrate originality, clarity, and depth of concepts; and are relevant to past work.

- Describe your proposed project in detail. What are your project goals? Describe the concepts, vision, process, and this project's relevance or departure from organization's past projects.


Effective and in-depth outreach plan to target audience; demonstrable impact and benefits of the project, including qualitative and quantitative results; realistic project timeline and presentation plan

- Describe the target audience(s) and/or communities and your relationship to them.
- Describe your in-depth outreach plan to the identified target audience(s) and/or communities.
- Describe how you will measure the impact of the project on the organization and audience(s) and/or community.

- Grant Plan with activities and outputs

- Public Presentation Plan

- Venue Confirmation Form

Ability to Complete the Project

(15 points)


Viability of project budget; confidence in the project's team; and overall fiscal health of applicant.

- Budget & Budget notes
- Key Personnel
- DataArts SFAC Funder’s Report and Notes

Panel Notes

SFAC staff takes notes on panel comments during deliberations. You may contact to obtain panel comments.

Funding Approval

Panel recommendations are subject to the approval of the Arts Commission. Typically, recommendations are first reviewed by the Community Arts, Education & Grants Committee, then by the full Commission.  Meetings of the Commission are public. The agenda will be available on the Arts Commission website at 72 hours in advance of the meeting.

Grant Awards

Notifications will be emailed. Award notification will include instructions about contracting procedures.


FAQs for OPG


No. Work can be new or “old.”  An applicant can submit a proposal to restage or remount formerly created work.


You will be able to select which panel you would like your project to be reviewed in: Theater, Music, Dance, Literary, Media, and Visual Arts. For multidisciplinary projects, you should select the primary artistic discipline for your project. 


You will need to upload a Calendar of Activities.


Yes, your budget should reflect any cost-impacted activities listed out in your outreach plan.


Think creatively. We want you to do whatever evaluation you think will be necessary to help you understand if you have met your goals in a measurable way. Example: If your goal is to increase the number of new attendees to your event by 10 percent, you could ask your audience before an event who has been to the event before by a show of hands. If your goal is to increase the visibility of your organization by bringing in a renowned artist, you could measure that by showing how many press clips you received. 

What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

July 30
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

July 30
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

July 30
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

July 30
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

War Memorial Bldg | Rm 125