Arts & Culture: Community Action Grants

Community Catalyst Fund - Arts & Culture

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Contribute to SVCF’s Arts & Culture Fund

The application period is now closed. Learn more about the recent grantees here.

Arts and culture organizations engage communities in creative processes and social action, broadening the spectrum of those who have a voice in the community by offering connection points to those who have not previously been heard. They offer inspirational images, messages and meaning that are fundamental to building movements toward self-determination. 

Yet the power imbalance regarding self-determination in Silicon Valley is apparent. BIPOC (Black, Indigenous and People of Color) communities and undocumented communities have not held equitable representation and decision-making roles in shaping our region's future. SVCF’s Arts & Culture Fund addresses these disparities and builds a strong and engaged community.

Through this fund, SVCF primarily supports BIPOC-led arts and cultural organizations and allied organizations that prioritize nurturing artistic and cultural expressions, building community, partnering to create community-driven solutions and catalyzing social change in communities of color.

SVCF’s Arts and Culture Fund prioritizes organizations that advance arts and culture programs and community actions in San Mateo and Santa Clara counties. Specifically, the fund supports organizations rooted in community history and cultural traditions and that promote the distribution of stories and ideas. Our foundation's vision sees these grants helping amplify and distribute the untold and under-told stories and ideas from communities of color, reflecting the diverse experiences of those who have been suppressed by the dominant culture. SVCF is interested in strengthening the creative sector and the arts and culture ecosystem from Daly City to Gilroy to ensure that all communities have equal access to a full, vibrant creative life, which is essential to creating a strong and engaged community.

In 2021, SVCF supported organizations working in the performing, visual, and fine arts, which thrive in the intersection of community-building, social justice, and the support of local BIPOC artists and cultural workers.

The work that the Arts and Culture Fund supports is part of a long-term strategy to achieve systemic change in Silicon Valley. Organizations seeking to apply should have a clear focus on racial justice and a plan to center the community they are serving in leadership, design, and implementation of programs. Priority will be given to BIPOC-led and allied arts and culture organizations rooted in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties and those with annual budgets under $1 million.

Grants will be for general and program support to nonprofit organizations that demonstrate all of the following:

  • Vision, mission and goals explicitly focus on arts and culture work
  • Prioritize engagement of BIPOC communities
  • Commit to partnerships with others while centering trusted community residents in their work
  • Facilitate community-embedded arts practices providing support structures for working artists, cultural workers and community residents engaged in developing and sharing work that reflects the community’s history and aspirations for change
  • Address emerging community needs with projects designed with community residents who are working for social and racial justice

Additional Details

Funding will not be provided for:

  • Capital improvements
  • Budget shortfalls or fundraising events
  • Previously planned or long-term campaigns
  • Funding gaps due to organizational emergencies, such as office vandalism, resignation of an executive director or sudden loss of funding
  • Isolated, one-time, arts and culture projects

The maximum grant amount will be $30,000. The application is streamlined to reduce time spent on applying and processing and only one application may be submitted per organization.

Grantmaking Process for Competitive Grants

Eligibility

Organizations must serve San Mateo and/or Santa Clara counties. Organizations headquartered outside the two-county region may apply but should demonstrate significant service to these areas or partner with a local organization that does.

  • Organizations must have a 501(c)(3) designation or have a fiscal sponsor with a 501(c)(3) designation.
  • Organizations must not discriminate based on race, color, national origin, citizenship status, creed, religion, religious affiliation, age, gender, marital status, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, veteran status or any other protected status.
  • Organizations with religious affiliations will be considered for funding only if the project for which they seek support addresses the needs of the wider community without regard to religious beliefs.