Local Arts Grants:

Project/Program Support & Organizational Support


  • Application Available: February 25, 2019

  • Application Due: April 1, 2019

  • Public Panel Review: TBD

  • Grant Award Notification: May 20, 2019

  • Grant Information Workshop: February 13, 2019—time and location to be determined


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. OS applicants are also required to submit a DataArts report.

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.

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. 

What We Do Not Fund
  • Individuals, individual artists, scholarships or fellowships 

  • Capital expenditures, trust or endowment funds 

  • Expenses incurred before the starting or after the ending date of the grant 

  • Hospitality or food costs; social functions, parties, receptions and/or fundraising events 

  • Parent-teacher associations, student groups, clubs, recreational or social organizations 

  • Elementary or secondary schools and school districts, boards and associations

  • Organizations or activities that are part of the curricula of a college, university or community college 

  • Activities with a political or religious purpose or lobbying activities 

To Apply

For first-time applicants: Create an account at   http://bit.ly/2cFXVa7

For past or renewing applicants: Login at http://bit.ly/2d0XCK9

For any application related questions, please contact Amisha Motipara, Arts Commission Manager via email: artscommission@smcgov.org.