Festival Organizers Encouraged to Apply for City Grants to Support Vibrant Festival Culture, Bringing Oaklanders Together to Celebrate Community

Date Posted: May 4th, 2022 @ 2:24 PM
Last Updated: May 4th, 2022 @ 2:29 PM

Grant applications available starting May 16; City also announces recipients of 2021-22 grant awards

Oakland, CA – Beginning Monday, May 16, festival organizers may apply for grants from the City of Oakland’s Neighborhood Voices for Festivals program for next year: 2022-23. Applicants must be Oakland-based nonprofits and all festival activities must be presented in Oakland between July 1, 2022 and June 30, 2023. Interested nonprofit organizations may access the grant guidelines and application at www.oaklandca.gov/festivalgrants. The application portal will remain open until the submission deadline of Thursday, July 7, 2022, at 5 p.m.

“We are very happy to support festivals throughout Oakland with these grants, highlighting the cultural expressions, stories, histories, and heritage of our many communities and neighborhoods,” said Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf. “Since we have been apart from our friends, neighbors, and communities during the pandemic, there’s a great need to reconnect and affirm our sense of belonging – the Neighborhood Voices for Festivals grants seek to support just that.”

To assist applicants, Festival Grant Informational Webinars are scheduled for Tuesday, May 24, and Thursday, June 2. Details on the webinars will be posted on www.oaklandca.gov/festivalgrants. All grant applicants are strongly encouraged to attend one of the free webinars. Webinar participants should R.S.V.P. to riglesias@oaklandca.gov.

“This grant opportunity seeks to affirm the expression, recognition and understanding of the array of diverse communities that make Oakland unique and vibrant,” said City of Oakland Cultural Affairs Manager Roberto Bedoya.

The Neighborhood Voices for Festivals grant program aims to bring Oaklanders together to create and support a sense of belonging within a community, foster social connections that lift our spirts, feed our community well-being, and offer visions for our collective future. The program will award grants of up to $20,000 to Oakland-based non-profit organizations creating festivals in Oakland. Grantees will be required to demonstrate a funding match of 1:1 for the City funding.

Festivals are defined as a wide variety of in-person events that are free and open to the public, including small-scale and first-time festivals to large-scale and established festivals. Eligible events may include, but are not limited to, cultural heritage practices; performances in dance, music, or theater; visual art and public arts exhibitions/events; and literary presentations that are rooted in a sense of place.

Grant Application Review Process
The Cultural Funding Program relies on a competitive panel process to determine award recipients and funding allocations. Among the criteria reviewed by the selection panel is a racial equity category that seeks to direct these grants to Oakland events that leverage cultural opportunities for communities impacted by racial disparities and supports programming led by and includes groups and communities impacted by racial disparities.

Grant recommendations from the selection review panel go before the Funding Advisory Committee and must be approved by City Council before contracts are awarded.

City Announces 2021-22 Festival Grant Awards
On April 19, 2022, the Oakland City Council approved $316,250 in fiscal year 2021-22 grants to Oakland-based nonprofit organizations through the Neighborhood Voices for Festivals grant program. In its first year, the program awarded grants of $5,000 to $20,000 to 19 different Oakland-based festivals, detailed in the table below.

Grant recipients include annual festivals, as well as first-time festivals in Oakland’s neighborhoods. For example, the American Indian Child Resource Center will present a new festival, Many Nations on One Land, in collaboration with Sogorea Te’ Land Trust at La Escuelita School in June. The event will be a cultural celebration of the ancestral lands of the Confederated Bands of Lisjan Ohlone people, now called Oakland, and other people from tribal nations across the continent. The festival will feature American Indian dancing, singing, and drumming; contemporary Native musicians and comedy artists; and cultural arts and crafts.

Following the grant application deadline of December 1, 2021, the applications were reviewed following the process detailed above before being approved by City Council.

Funding for the 19 grants comes from General Purpose Fund allocation as outlined in the City’s Adopted FY 2021-22 Biennial Budget.




American Indian Child Resource Center


Attitudinal Healing Connection, Inc.


B.H. Brilliant Minds Project, Inc.


Black Cultural Zone Community Development Corporation


Chapter 510 Ink


Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice


EastSide Arts Alliance


Eastside Arts Alliance for School of The Getdown


Friends of Peralta Hacienda Historical Park


HipHopForChange, Inc.


Koreatown Oakland


Oakland Black Pride


Oakland Communities United for Equity and Justice


Oakland Parks and Recreation Foundation for Friends of Lincoln Square Park


Oakland Vietnamese Chamber of Commerce




Social Good Fund, Inc. for BAY-Peace


The Asian Pacific Environmental Network for AYPAL: Building API Community Power


West Oakland Mural Project



$316, 250

The Neighborhood Voice for Festivals grant program is administered by the City’s Cultural Affairs Division. For more information, please visit www.oaklandculturalarts.org or contact Raquel Iglesias at (510) 238-2212 or riglesias@oaklandca.gov.

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 $1.5 million in grants to support the arts in Oakland and the public art program, which has more than $1 million in funds currently dedicated for public art installations across Oakland.

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Media Contact

Harry Hamilton
Marketing Coordinator
hjhamilton@oaklandca.gov 510-238-6766

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