Frequently Asked Questions—General Operating Support Applications

Is there a minimum budget size?

Yes, applicants must demonstrate financial health evidenced by maintaining a minimum 3 year budget average of at least $35,000.


Can I still apply if our organization performs outside the city?

Yes, but your organization must be San Francisco based (be located physically in the City) and produce a dependable series of programs within the City and County of San Francisco.


My organization is not a 501(c)(3). Can I still apply?

Although we prefer that applicants have 501(c)(3) status, an organization can apply if it uses a valid fiscal sponsor.


What is a valid fiscal sponsor?

A San Francisco organization having official nonprofit 501(c)(3) status as recognized by the IRS, willing to act as a fiduciary agent on behalf of the applicant. For purposes of receiving money from GFTA, this agent must handle and account for all funds itemized in the budget presented in the application (not just grant funds). Ideally, a fiscal sponsoring organization should have an understanding of and experience with the art form, as well as nonprofit accounting and fiscal agent services.


Is there a limit on the grant amount I can request?

Applicants are not restricted in the amounts they request. Most organizations request a reasonable increase from the previous year’s award. NOTE: a grant award cannot exceed the requested amount, regardless of budget size.


If my fiscal year is different from the standard fiscal year
(July 1 to June 30), how do I report my figures?

Please note the dates of your fiscal year on the application, and provide available figures on the form.


If my fiscal year is not over, which figures do I report?

Please provide the most recent figures available on the application supplement, noting so on the application form through a footnote and/or written explanation. Staff may request final figures during the review process. NOTE: while the application requests current year and past year financial records, grant amounts are based on the most recently completed fiscal year figures. Thus, depending on your fiscal year term, grant amounts may be based on financial figures that are 18 months old.


Does my organization need a financial audit or review?

If your organization has an operating budget of $2 million or more, you are required to submit a financial AUDIT of the most recently completed fiscal year conducted by an independent certified public accountant (CPA). By our definition, an independent CPA is not involved with the daily workings of your organization. Usually an outside accounting firm is hired annually, specifically to conduct this procedure. The audit must be in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards and give a reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free of material misstatements. An audit is an in-depth look at organizational financial practices, including examining evidence that supports the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. It also includes assessing the accounting principles used as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation.

If your organization has a budget up to $2 million and receives a grant of $50,000 or more from GFTA, you are required to submit a financial REVIEW. This is substantially less in scope than an audit in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards. A CPA will ask questions of your staff and review your organization’s financial procedures. S/he will not provide an opinion as to the accuracy of your financial records, but instead confirm that the documents provided are a representation of the management of your organization, and that the appropriate financial controls are in place.

Please note that there is a third report that can be generated by a CPA called a compilation report. This type of report is limited to merely presenting, in the form of financial statements, information provided by management. These reports are not reviewed or audited, thus they do not meet GFTA’s requirement for an audit or review.


Who can I call with questions about DataArts’ Cultural Data Project?

Any questions on completing the Cultural Data Project should not be addressed to GFTA staff. Rather, contact the DataArts Help Desk at 877-707-DATA (877-707-3282) or e-mail help@culturaldata.org.

If you have other questions regarding the application process, contact GFTA staff at 415.554.6710 or gfta@sfgov.org.