Before you apply
to the Creative Work Fund….
Am I eligible for this grant?
The Fund has three criteria a lead artist must meet:
- geographic location,
- artistic background, and
- not being a recent Creative Work Fund recipient.
What’s a lead artist?
The lead artist is a person who meets the criteria outlined below, is playing a central role in creating the proposed art work, and who is not a regular staff member or board member of the applying nonprofit organization. Many projects feature more than one artist working in a team or ensemble, but only one of those artists should be identified as the “lead artist.”
The lead artist must live and have lived for the previous two years in one or more of the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma County. In that two-year time period, it is acceptable to move among the eligible counties. The Fund also has considered applications from artists who have had temporary, short-term artist residencies outside of the 11 eligible areas but maintained a home base within them.
In honor of the Fund’s 25th anniversary and unlike prior years, artists from all artistic disciplines are welcome to apply. Lead artists will be asked to identify primary and secondary artistic disciplines in which they have strong track records of accomplishment. Read this list of disciplines and their short definitions.
Lead artists who received Creative Work Fund grants in August 2017, August 2018, or October 2019 are not eligible to re-apply as lead artists.
Lead artists who received Creative Work Fund grants prior to August 2017 must have completed their projects and submitted their final reports.
An artist who played a role in a recently-supported Creative Work Fund project but who was not the lead artist may apply as a lead artist for a 2019-20 request.
Applicants may submit no more than one proposal.
Are we eligible to apply for this grant?
- nonprofit status,
- geography, and
- role in a previously funded projects or concurrent applications.
Any kind of 501 (c) (3) nonprofit organization may apply (but not a private foundation). A recognized religious organization, even if it does not have 501 (c) (3) status, may apply. A public agency (such as a parks department, health department, or public school) may apply.
An organization that clearly fills a charitable or educational purpose but does not have nonprofit status may apply with a nonprofit fiscal sponsor. Some public agencies (e.g. the Oakland Recreation and Parks Department) also have applied using fiscal sponsors.
The nonprofit organization must be based in one of the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma.
The Fund will consider applications from international, national, or statewide organizations that have offices or branches in one or more of the 11 eligible counties.
Nonprofit organizations that received Creative Work Fund grants in in August 2017, August 2018, or October 2019 are not eligible to re-apply,
Nonprofit organizations that received Creative Work Fund grants prior to August 2017 are eligible to apply if they have completed their projects and submitted final narrative and financial reports.
Fiscal sponsors may be part of applications at any time, even if they received a Creative Work Fund grant recently.
A nonprofit organization may submit no more than one letter of inquiry.
There is no limit on the number of applications that may be submitted using a particular fiscal sponsor.
Grants will be awarded in September 2020. If a project already has begun by that time, the artist and the nonprofit organization should still be actively involved in the new work’s creation and collaborating with one after after the grant awards are made.
The Creative Work Fund prefers that projects be completed in two to three years, but projects of longer duration are eligible and welcome.
The Fund does not share copies of successful letters of inquiry or proposals, but brief portfolios of many of the previously funded projects appear on this Website.
Pages on this website can introduce you to previously funded projects:
- A selection of lead artists with detailed profiles of their projects may be searched here.
- Use the search function on any page to explore additional summaries
Overview of Application Process
Letters of inquiry must be received no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Standard Time on December 6, 2019.
Read our review criteria here.
Full proposals must be received no later than 5 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time on May 15, 2020.
Read the review criteria the panel uses here.