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 grantees here.

Across sectors, artists and arts organizations are increasingly being called upon to activate the social imagination to bring forth new ways to know, understand and change our increasingly complex world.

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 roles in shaping and deciding on our region's future.

Under SVCF’s new strategic direction, we are opening the Arts & Culture Community Action Grants under our Community Catalyst Fund to address these disparities and build a strong and engaged community.

Through this grant program, SVCF will support BIPOC-led arts organizations and allies that prioritize BIPOC communities to nurture artistic and cultural expressions, partner to create community-driven solutions and catalyze social change.

The work that this program funds will be 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 organizations 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:

  • Prioritize engagement of BIPOC communities
  • Commit to partnerships with others and make use of relational organizing strategies, while centering trusted community messengers in their work
  • Facilitate community-embedded arts practices providing support structures for working artists 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

Select organizations applying for general support may receive multi-year grants, provided their work aligns with the criteria described above.

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

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

Grantmaking Process for Competitive Grants


  • 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.

In case you missed the info session for interested applicants, you can view the webinar recording here.