• Application Available: February 9, 2017 

  • Grant Information Workshop: February 27, 1:30pm San Mateo Library

  • Application Due: March 20, 2017 

  • Grant Award Notification: May 22, 2017 

What We Fund

The Arts Commission provides funding to arts organizations located in San Mateo County to strengthen artistic product; strengthen overall organizational unity and effectiveness; increase, diversify and leverage revenue; improve communications systems; improve their connection and profile in the community; or increase staff efficiency. In particular the Arts Commission supports arts events, programs, outreach, engagement or services that create social vitality in neighborhoods, K-12 schools and with underserved constituencies. All services must take place within San Mateo County and be accessible to the public.



Project/Program Support may be used to present free or low cost performances, screenings, exhibitions, educational services, festivals, literary readings, workshops and seminars or other services; and to make diverse cultural arts programs broadly accessible to residents of San Mateo County.



Organizational Support provides unrestricted funding to help support and maintain an organization as it pursues its mission. General operating support grants may be used to cover day-to-day activities or ongoing expenses such as administrative salaries, utilities, office supplies, technology maintenance, etc., as well as for project costs, technology purchases, and professional development. Applicants are required to submit a written two-year organizational plan and a CDP report.

To apply for Organizational Support, the organization must have a current written strategic or business plan for the whole organization that covers at least 24 months which includes the organization's entire current fiscal year and includes the following:

  1. Mission and vision statements
  2. Evidence of an environmental scan (an assessment of stakeholder and community needs)
  3. Stakeholder participation (staff, board, consumers/clients, volunteers, etc.)
  4. Strategic goals and measureable objectives
  5. Implementation plan showing action steps, a timeline and assigned staff and board responsibilities
  6. Quarterly, semi-annual or annual written assessment by staff and board to measure organizational progress towards goals
  7. Preference will be given to strategic plans that include reference to resources (expenses and staff/board capacity) necessary to achieve goals and objectives

Applicants are also required to submit a Cultural Data Project report. Download Cultural Data Project (CDP) Funder Report for San Mateo County Arts Commission and submit as a PDF. In the "Notes" box, name your file: CDP. Your report should include 2 years of information – Fiscal Years 2015 and 2016.

Review Criteria

Highest priority will be given to proposals that will help maintain financial stability for the recipient organization and vibrant programs for audiences served. Requests for both Project/Program Support or Organizational Support funds are reviewed based on evidence of:

  • Organization-wide planning and decision-making
  • Clear and articulated vision for implementation and success
  • A high value for diversity in all forms
  • Strong financial management
  • Continually updating plans and programs to reflect the current economy and community needs
  • Engaged boards that contribute financially
  • Goals and appropriate evaluation methods
  • Partnering with others for community benefit and organizational efficiency
  • Audiences who demonstrate interest in its artistic programs

Review Process

All grant applications are reviewed for completeness by Commission staff. Peer panels review and rank applications based on Review Criteria. Panels may recommend readiness or planning grants that provide management consulting or training, such as services of the Center for Nonprofits, proactively as it sees fit. Based on panel review, the Arts Commission makes a recommendation of grants to be awarded to the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors. Decisions of the Arts Commission and the San Mateo County Board of Supervisors are final.

San Mateo County Arts Commissioners who have professional or volunteer affiliations with any organizations that apply for grants from the Commission must excuse themselves from any panel review or deliberation concerning these grants.

For any application related questions, please contact Commission Director Andrea Temkin at 650 380-6183 or by email: