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Frequently Asked Questions
The most commonly asked questions we receive:
- How do I obtain a grant application?
- May artists and organizations located outside of Oakland apply for funds?
- May artists and organizations apply for projects or programs occurring outside Oakland?
- Does the Cultural Funding Program fund individual artists?
- By filling out an application, is my organization guaranteed funding?
- Can an organization apply if it does not have 501(c)3 nonprofit status?
- How much money may I request?
- Why is there so much paperwork?
- What happens to my application once it is submitted?
How do I obtain a grant application?
Applications are available annually for each funding category. Guidelines and application forms are available on our website at www.oaklandculturalarts.org, and applications must be submitted online. If you have difficulty with the online application please call the Cultural Arts & Marketing Division at (510) 238-2103.
May artists and organizations located outside of Oakland apply for funds?
No. One of the key eligibility requirements of the Cultural Funding Program is that all applicants must be Oakland-based. (Applicants must have a physical Oakland address — a P.O. Box alone is not sufficient.)
May artists and organizations apply for projects or programs occurring outside Oakland?
No. City funds support only projects and programs that serve the local community in Oakland.
Does the Cultural Funding Program fund individual artists?
Yes. Individual artists may apply to the Individual Artist Project Support category and the Art in the Schools Program.
By filling out an application, is my organization guaranteed funding?
No. Each year the program receives far more requests than it can accommodate. If your organization does not receive funding this year, you may reapply in the future.
Can an organization apply if it does not have 501(c)3 nonprofit status?
We prefer that applicants have 501(c)3 status. However, an organization may be eligible to apply if it uses a valid fiscal sponsor. See specific program guidelines.
How much money may I request?
The City of Oakland generally supports only a portion of an applicant's operating/project budget. Amounts and matching-fund requirements vary from program to program. Please refer to the Guidelines for the funding category to which you plan to apply. Requests should be made with the understanding that the Cultural Funding Program resources are limited. Funding recommendations and actual awards are generally considerably less than the amount requested.
Why is there so much paperwork?
Government agencies are entrusted to spend public tax dollars wisely and equitably. The City is required to fully document the spending as well as the eligibility of those receiving money. Having complete applications and back-up materials gives us the information we need in the case of questions or audits.
What happens to my application once it is submitted?
- Staff reviews all applications for eligibility and completeness. If your application is incomplete and/or deemed ineligible, it will not be forwarded for review and will be returned to you.
- Eligible applications are forwarded to the appropriate review panels. Some panelists make site visits (Organizational Assistance Program only).
- Panels convene in open meetings to discuss and evaluate applications.
- The Funding Advisory Committee meets to review panel recommendations, allocates award amounts based on panel scores and funds available, and forwards funding recommendations to the Life Enrichment Committee of the Oakland City Council.
- The Oakland City Council gives final approval for funding awards.
- Applicants approved for funding are notified of award amounts and subsequently receive City contracting materials.