Small Arts Grants :: Guidelines

The deadline for applications to the Small Arts Grants program for the fall 2021 review cycle was July 15, 2021. Guidelines and application procedures for the spring 2022 review cycle will be posted here in November 2021. The application deadlines is January 15, 2022.

The majority of the Fleishhacker Foundation’s arts grantmaking takes place through this program. There are two review cycles each year: spring and fall. Application deadlines are January 15 for spring decisions and July 15 for fall decisions. Arts and culture organizations with annual budgets between $100,000 and $750,000 that are located and offer programming in the San Francisco Bay Area are eligible to apply.

In response to the impact of the COVID-19 closures on the local arts community, the Small Arts Grants program is accepting applications for general operating support during the fall 2021 review cycle from 501(c)(3) nonprofit and fiscally sponsored organizations. In addition, post-production support for film projects directed by Bay Area filmmakers with budgets under $750,000 will be considered in this program, if applying with an eligible fiscal sponsor or nonprofit production company. All other project-specific support, however, remains suspended for this cycle.

The Foundation seeks to fund a broad range of arts groups that produce and present innovative new work by Bay Area artists. It strives to make grants that support a diverse array of artistic disciplines, aesthetic sensibilities, and forms of cultural expression. We prioritize grant requests that best support working artists and place particular emphasis on funding groups that represent and engage marginalized artists and communities.

Grants in this program range from $1,000 to $10,000 and are usually between $2,000 and $5,000.

Organizations may not apply more than once a year, except fiscal sponsors applying on behalf of multiple groups. Individual artists are not eligible for grants through this program. (Information about emergency-relief initiatives for individual artists that the Foundation supports can be found on the Other Grants page of this website.)


Applicants must be:

  • An arts and culture organization incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (including fiscal sponsors applying on behalf of a sponsored arts group or filmmaker).
  • Engaged in the production and presentation of new work by Bay Area artists in the disciplines of dance, music, theater, visual arts, interdisciplinary arts, or film.
  • Located and primarily offering programming in San Francisco, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Sonoma, San Mateo, and/or Santa Clara counties.
  • Able to demonstrate an artistic presence in the Bay Area for at least three years.
  • Of an annual budget size between $100,000 and $750,000 (or applying with a fiscal sponsor with an annual budget greater than $100,000; there is no upper limit for fiscal sponsors’ annual budgets).
  • An organization that evidences strong support from the community and its Board of Directors. (Please see the review criteria below for details.)

Not eligible are:

  • Organizations and groups whose primary mission is youth training in the arts, youth ensembles and performances, exhibitions of youth artwork, and productions designed for youth.
  • Organizations and groups whose fundamental purpose or benefit is primarily social services, health, youth, or community development fields.


The most important considerations in assessing Small Arts Grants requests are:

  • Does the organization have a history of successfully producing and presenting innovative new work by Bay Area artists?
  • What are the organization’s contributions to the local arts community and the Bay Area at large?
  • Does the organization represent and engage marginalized artists and communities (people of color, LGBTQ+, people with disabilities, immigrants, and/or under-resourced populations) in a meaningful way?
  • How well has the organization responded to the impact of COVID-19, and how viable are its plans for the future?
  • Are artists reasonably compensated?
  • What are the financial needs of the organization?
  • Is there strong evidence of Board and community support; specifically, what percentage of Board members made financial contributions and what other income has been raised or generated within the last year?
  • Does the organization use its resources efficiently, seeking to collaborate and share resources when appropriate?

The deadline for proposals for the upcoming fall 2021 review cycle is July 15, 2021. Decisions will be communicated in November 2021.

Application guidelines for the spring 2022 review cycle will be available in November 2021.