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General Instructions for Invited Applicants

Jenny Bawer Young | Manilatown Heritage Foundation | Photo: Caroline Cabading

In General

Applicants invited to full proposal need to follow the instructions below.

If you wish to submit a letter of inquiry, the window for acceptance closed on January 22, 2021.


Applicants to the Creative Work Fund submit their proposals online and are encouraged to provide web links to work sample documentation. Applicants also have the option to submit work samples as physical media.

Whether you submit your work samples online or as physical media, everything must be uploaded or received by 5:00 p.m. PDT on Friday, June 11, 2021.

A few key things we recommend in advance:

  • Your invitation to apply includes links to online information about all sections of your Creative Work Fund application.  We recommend that you visit each of them so you understand what’s required and gather everything you need to complete your proposal. For convenience, you can download all of the information as a single folder here.
  • When you prepared your letter of inquiry, both the lead artist and the applicant organization received a username and password required for access to the grantseeker portal. You will use those same usernames and passwords to gain access to the portal and prepare your full proposal. If a new team member will be working on your proposal, that person needs individual login credentials to gain access to the proposal; and that step should be completed soon by sending a request to [email protected].
  • The application system is set up so that a nonprofit organization, artist, and fiscal sponsor (if one is used) can collaborate on preparing the proposal. We encourage you to take advantage of this opportunity. Further, everyone involved, the lead artist, the appropriate contact at the nonprofit organization, and fiscal sponsor (if used) must check a box to indicate that they authorize the proposal’s submission.
  • The Fund’s system permits you to draft and save your application in progress. We encourage you to save your work often while drafting it.
  • All applications are limited to presenting 10 minutes of documentation of the artist’s work, which panelists will focus on and discuss at the panel meeting. You are encouraged to provide web links to work sample documentation in the Documentation section of the proposal. Please do NOT embed images or web links to the artist’s or nonprofit’s work in the proposal narrative, in the lead artist’s statement, or in any additional artist resume / biographical materials.
  • The materials you submit online will be compatible with PDF and Excel formats. If your computer does not support these software formats, please contact us to arrange an alternative.

While we have tested our system, we understand that technical glitches can occur during the application process. We appreciate your patience and look forward to receiving your feedback.  Send email to [email protected] for assistance with your technical questions.

Required Parts of Your Proposal
  • Project start and end date
  • How and where the work will be presented
  • Project budget
  • Proposal narrative
  • Lead artist statement
  • Lead artist resume (if not already provided with Letter of Inquiry)
  • Work sample documentation with explanatory notes
  • Organization’s (or fiscal sponsor’s if applicable) board roster
  • Organization (or fiscal sponsor’s, if applicable) current year operating budget
  • Organization (or fiscal sponsor, if applicable) most recent year-end financial statement that includes both a statement of financial position (or balance sheet), and statement of activities (or profit and loss statement)

Read more about these elements >>

Optional Proposal Materials
  • SMU/DataArts (formerly California Cultural Data Project) profile (if available)
  • Additional artist resumes
  • Reviews of previous works by the artist(s) or the organization (No more than three reviews)
  • Permission letters from sites, public agencies, copyright holders, etc. (Not letters of recommendation)
  • Presenting location/site information

Read more about these optional elements >>

Resources to assist you
  • This website contains all the instructions for preparing the parts of your proposal, but let us know if you can’t find what you’re looking for.
  • Once you open your request in the grantseeker portal, you’ll see notes from readers who reviewed your letter of inquiry. None of these readers will review your full proposal, but their feedback may be helpful.
  • Creative Work Fund Call for Proposals, containing guidelines.  Prior to completing the application, we recommend that you review the The Call for Proposals.  
  • Guidelines for the memorandum of understanding are here. You do not need to prepare a memorandum of understanding as part of your proposal, but it will be required later if your project is selected for a grant.
Completing the Proposal

Format:  All materials must be entered via the online application at

Drawing from your letter of inquiry: Grants Review Panel members will not have read your letter of inquiry and will not be able to see it during their review, so you may draw from it extensively in your proposal.  Please answer all questions within the length restrictions.  It is not necessary to use the entire length allowed. Brevity is appreciated.

Role of the lead artist:  Creative Work Fund grants are awarded for collaborative partnerships between artists and 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations for the creation of a new work.  While the applicant organization may include artists whose efforts are critical to the making of the work, the “Lead Artist” identified in this proposal should not be part of the applying nonprofit organization. (Some exceptions may be made when the artist’s work within the nonprofit is very limited.  Such exceptions must be discussed with the Creative Work Fund staff and should be explained in the proposal.) 

Changes to project since the Letter of Intent was submitted: We understand that there may be shifts in project design since your Letter of Inquiry was submitted. However, three elements of your proposal should not change:

  • Core Partners: Any change of an applicant organization or lead artist must be discussed and approved by the Creative Work Fund Program Director. Such changes are rarely permitted.
  • Budget changes: The amount of money you planned to request was one of the factors considered in the review of your letter of inquiry. As you prepare a more detailed budget you may find that some costs have changed. However, you may not increase the amount of your request to the Creative Work Fund by more than 10% without seeking prior approval. The maximum grant size is $45,000.
Final Thoughts

Applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. PDT on June 11, 2021.
Do not forget to have all key applicants log in to authorize submission of the proposal.

If you are submitting physical media as work samples, make sure it is received by the due date and time at:

The Creative Work Fund
One Lombard Street, Suite 305
San Francisco, CA 94111
(415) 402-2793

The Fund does not accept proposals sent by e-mail, nor does it accept late proposals.

See the application checklist to double-check the full list of required materials.



Please feel free to call Frances Phillips or Faiza Bukhari at (415) 402-2793 about the content of your application or Marcel Marania at (415) 402-2784 if you have technical questions about the online application or forms.