Cultural Funding Grant Program

The City of Oakland Cultural Funding Program distributes over $1 million through a competitive grant-funding process to Oakland-based art and cultural activities that reflect the diversity of the city.

Grants Overview

Neighborhood Voices for Festivals: Neighborhood Voices for Festivals builds belonging in City of Oakland neighborhoods through culturally-engaged festival culture. Festivals, including small-scale and first-time festivals to large scale and established festivals, are defined as a wide variety of in-person Oakland events that are free and always open to the public. This grant opportunity funds Oakland organizations conducting festivals aimed at fostering community resilience and creative well-being within Oakland's neighborhoods and their community members who historically have not received equitable investments of resources or recognition.

Neighborhood Voices for Organization Projects: Neighborhood Voices for Organization Projects builds belonging within the dynamic neighborhoods of the City of Oakland by supporting culturally-engaging efforts to bring our city's community members together to foster cohesion. This grant opportunity seeks applications from cultural-center partnerships between Oakland-based community builders and cultural practitioners, that are focused on building neighborhood vibrancy and community cohesion and that culminate in a local, public outcome for the benefit of the community.

Neighborhood Voices for Individual Artist Projects: Neighborhood Voices for Individual Artist Projects seeks applications from Oakland artists and cultural practitioners seeking to engage Oakland-based community builders to develop neighborhood vibrancy and cohesion that culminates in a local, public outcome for the benefit of the community.

Organizational Assistance Program (two-year cycle)

The Organizational Assistance Program (OAP) supports Oakland-based 501(c)3 nonprofit arts organizations producing ongoing art and cultural activities that may include, but are not limited to, performances in dance, music or theater, classes and workshops, and exhibits, for the benefit of the community. The OAP is designed to promote the health and stabilization of Oakland’s nonprofit arts and culture providers. Note on Eligibility: The applying organizations must have received funding from the Cultural Funding Program for at least two of the last four years in any of the following categories: Organizational Assistance, Neighborhood Voices for Organization Projects, or Neighborhood Voices for Festivals.

  • This grant opportunity is closed. FY23-24 Guidelines & Application expected to be released in Summer 2023.

Resources

Northern California Grantmakers Arts Loan Fund

The Arts Loan Fund (ALF), managed by Northern California Grantmakers, has loaned over $19 million in the past thirty years as a way to boost the sustainability and growth of non-profit art and cultural organizations.

ALF Loan Helps with:

  • Bridge payment of funds from school districts, government or foundations grants.
  • Upfront capital for a fundraising event.
  • Upfront costs to producing a performance, including paying artists and paying facility costs.
  • Aid in renovating a facility.
  • Debt consolidation.

For more information about ALF and how to apply, please visit https://www.artsloanfund.org/

Grant Oppertunities

Alameda County Arts Commission: https://www.acgov.org/arts/html/home.html

California Arts Council: https://arts.ca.gov/

Akonadi Foundation: https://akonadi.org/

East Bay Community Foundation - East Bay Fund for Artists: https://www.ebcf.org/program-s...

Hewlett Foundation: https://hewlett.org/

Kenneth Rainin Foundation: https://krfoundation.org/arts/grants/

Funding Advisory Committee

The Funding Advisory Committee (FAC) of the City of Oakland's Cultural Funding Program is a volunteer advisory body to staff and City Council in matters relating to the program's annual recommended grant awards; policies and procedures for review or applications and award of grants to Oakland-based artists, cultural organizations, and schools; and development of additional revenue streams to support Oakland-based arts activities.

See our Funding Advisory Committee page for additional information about the committee and to download agendas and minutes.

About

Prior to 1985 no formal procedure or criteria existed for evaluating and making funding awards to Oakland-based nonprofit organizations providing arts and cultural programs. However, a few arts organizations aware of the City’s annual budgeting process and procedures successfully lobbied City Council and received funding. The arts community galvanized and asked City Council to establish a process that would provide equal access to City funds for all organizations. The arts community also requested that the City establish an office to manage City funding of the arts and provide support for the growth of, and access to, the arts within Oakland. In response, City Council charged the former Oakland Arts Council with developing a fair and equitable way to distribute public funds for community promotions (the City’s General Fund) and public funds from the Oakland Redevelopment Agency (ORA).

In 1985 the first funding policies and procedures were adopted, establishing the Cultural Funding Program as the City’s and ORA’s funding mechanism to support Oakland-based nonprofit arts and cultural organizations. As such, policies and review procedures were created and a panel system of evaluating applications established to ensure transparency and public trust in the distribution of public funds.

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