City Awards $80,000 in Arts Grants, Receives Grant to Support Cultural Equity Analysis as part of Oakland Cultural Plan Implementation

Date Posted: May 30th, 2019 @ 1:07 PM
Last Updated: May 30th, 2019 @ 1:07 PM

Oakland, CA – In May 2019, the Oakland City Council approved $80,000 in fiscal year 2018-2019 grants to eight Oakland-based nonprofit organizations through the City’s pilot Neighborhood Voices grant program. City Council also approved acceptance of a $75,000 grant award from the Surdna Foundation to support actions and recommendations found in the City’s Cultural Plan, including a cultural and racial equity impact analysis.

Both the grant program and equity impact analysis were detailed in the “Strengthening the Cultural Ecosystem” section of “Belonging In Oakland,” the City’s cultural development plan that aims to promote cultural equity, belonging and well-being for all the communities of Oakland.

Neighborhood Voices is a pilot grant program seeking to lift up seldom-heard voices of Oakland’s neighborhoods by supporting the expression, recognition and understanding of the array of diverse communities that make Oakland unique, vibrant and resilient. The program is designed to highlight and support community-based cultural expressions, stories, histories and heritage of the many communities in Oakland’s neighborhoods – particularly ones that historically have not received equitable investments of resources or recognition.

Neighborhood Voices Grant Application Process
The Cultural Affairs Division hosted two how-to-apply workshops prior to the January 7th deadline. Review panels comprised of Bay Area professional artists, community members and arts administrators combed through the 28 eligible applications received to prepare for public review panels held in February 2019. In March 2019, the panels’ rankings were forwarded to the Funding Advisory Committee (FAC) which was charged with approving the allocation of the funds. The FAC recommended eight grants in this round to support the arts and cultural activities in the local community. FAC’s recommendations advanced to the Life Enrichment Committee before continuing to City Council, where the Ordinance authorizing the grants was adopted on May 7, 2019.

Funding for the Neighborhood Voices grants comes from General Purpose Fund allocation as outlined in the City’s FY 2017-19 Biennial Budget.

Recipients of FY 2018-2019 Neighborhood Voices Grants




Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park

Street Level Health Project


Building Opportunities for Self-Sufficiency

James Calhoun, cultural practitioner


Social Good Fund for Peacock Rebellion

Oakland Community Land Trust


Center for Empowering Refugees and Immigrants



The Flight Deck for BAMBD, CDC

Lower Bottom Playaz


American Friends Service Committee

Rudsdale High School


Designing Justice Designing Spaces

The Butterfly Movement


Sarah Webster Fabio Center for Social Justice

Alameda County Department of Public Health and the Oakland Public Library




City Awarded Surdna Foundation Grant
The Surdna Foundation’s grant to the City of Oakland is part of their “Thriving Cultures” program which seeks to foster the conditions in which artists, culture bearers, designers and media-makers of color maximize their potential as leaders. The award will allow the City to procure a vendor through a competitive RFP process to review the Cultural Funding program’s current programs, policies and procedures to enhance cultural and racial equity and to explore asset-based approaches. This activity advances the Oakland Cultural Plan’s stated objective to “strengthen Oakland’s cultural ecosystem and build the infrastructure for cultural equity.” City Council authorized acceptance of the Surdna Foundation’s grant on May 21.

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About the Cultural Affairs Division
The Cultural Affairs Division is housed in the City’s Economic & Workforce Development Department. The division includes the City’s cultural funding program, which provides approximately $1 million in grants to support the arts in Oakland; the public art program, which has more than $1 million in funds currently dedicated for public art installations across Oakland and staff working on special events, film production permitting and a walking tours program.

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