Special Arts Grants :: Overview

These larger grants are awarded for timely needs of larger mid-sized organizations. Grants support special artistic projects or initiatives, artistic collaborations or commissions involving local artists, and upgrading facilities to benefit artists and audiences (when not part of a large capital campaign).

Special Arts Grants are awarded based on their potential impact on the applicant organization, arts discipline, and local community. We are interested in supporting under-represented and diverse organizations. Arts organizations with annual budgets between $750,000 and $2,500,000 will be considered if their project is timely and, due to its scope, requires special grant funding.  Film projects with budgets between $750,000 and $2,500,000 are also considered in this category, if applying with an eligible fiscal sponsor. Only Bay Area residents are considered. Not eligible are capital campaigns, endowment campaigns, and fundraising events. Grants are generally about $10,000 and usually do not exceed $25,000. These grants are not designed to be annual in nature, but rather to provide a timely infusion of funds for a specific need.

Potential applicants must contact the Foundation’s Executive Director well in advance of the two annual application deadlines — January 15 and July 15 – to approve submission of a grant proposal. Please address inquiries to: info@fleishhackerfoundation.org with subject line “LOI Special Arts Grant.” Grants considered for the January 15 deadline have a grant period which begins after May 1, and for the July 15 deadline, the grant period begins after Nov.1.


Applicants must be:

  • Arts and cultural organizations incorporated as not-for-profit 501c3;
  • Organizations residing and offering programming in the greater San Francisco Bay Area;
  • Able to demonstrate a consistent artistic presence in the Bay Area for at least 3 years;
  • Of annual budget size between $750,000 and $2,500,000;
  • Film projects with budgets between $750,000 and $2,500,000, under fiscal sponsorship of a nonprofit organization.

Not eligible are:

  • Programs/projects whose fundamental purpose or benefit falls within the social services, health, youth, or community development fields;
  • Individuals (unless conducting a project under the sponsorship of an eligible nonprofit organization);
  • Organizations based outside the greater San Francisco Bay Area;
  • Deficit financing, fund-raising events, endowment campaigns, and capital campaigns.


  • Dance
  • Music
  • Theater
  • Visual Arts
  • Interdisciplinary Arts
  • Film (see special instructions for filmmakers)


    • The most important considerations in assessing grant requests are:
    • How would this grant help advance the body of work being developed by the principal artist(s);
    • Are participating artists reasonably compensated;
    • Is there strong evidence of board support for the organization; specifically what percentage of board members made gifts (cash, not in-kind), and what percentage of total contributed income last year came from board members;
    • Is there an audience for this work;
    • What is the contribution to the community at large;
    • What is the potential impact on the arts discipline involved;
    • How viable is the applicant organization;
    • Does the applicant use its resources efficiently and well, seeking to collaborate and share resources when appropriate?


In order to review an application, the Foundation needs the following:

  1. Completed Application Information Form.
  2. Completed Grant Proposal Narrative.
  3. Current year’s organizational budget with income and expenses, separating grants, board, and other contributions, and itemizing expenses.
  4. Most recent DataArts form, (formatted for Fleishhacker Foundation). Note – filmmakers do not need to submit a DataArts profile.
  5. A project budget detailing income and expenses.
  6. Evidence of tax-exempt status.
  7. Copy of Letter of Agreement with fiscal sponsor (if applicable).
  8. A filmography for film directors; brief artistic biographies for key personnel in other artistic project applications.
  9. Board of Directors list with affiliations.
  10. For film proposals: you will be asked to inlcude a Vimeo link for your work sample in the online application.
  11. Up to 6 Supporting Documents such as letters of recommendation, press reviews, filmmakers’ production company financials, overview of fiscal sponsor.

Optional: performing arts organizations may submit a Vimeo link of a short work sample.

Other Resources

Arts Loan Fund
The Arts Loan Fund (ALF) is a collaborative program of the members of Northern California Grantmakers, a regional association of grantmakers. It provides quick-turnaround, low-cost financial assistance to arts organizations located in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, San Mateo, Solano and Sonoma counties, and individual artists located in the cities of Oakland and San Francisco. For 35 years, the ALF has helped small and mid-sized arts organizations address their cash flow needs. It’s a useful tool, particularly for those that don’t have access to commercial loans or can’t afford their high interest rates. It offers a number of loans and has staff available to help applicants complete their materials. More information can be found at http://www.artsloanfund.org.