Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund

Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund

Whether it's a decision to add a little extra to your property tax bill by using the coupon in your homeowner's tax bill or making a donation online, everyone can make a difference for San Francisco's nonprofit arts organizations.

The City's Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund (VACF) is one of the most cost-effective ways for property owners and other individuals to support the arts. The VACF is unique because 100% of all funds donated by taxpayers and others are passed directly on to the City's arts and cultural neighborhood groups. Contributions support the very groups that make the City a wonderful place to live.

VACF funds come to the rescue when groups urgently need equipment or find themselves with emergency expenditures such as the need for safety hardware, new exit signs, wheelchair ramps, special security lighting, etc. In addition to making repairs, the fund can also help the audience experience a more technically exciting show.

Established by the Board of Supervisors in 1984, the VACF allows San Francisco property tax payers to add a contribution to their annual tax bill, or anyone at all to make a donation online, in benefit of the arts. Close to a million dollars has been collected and distributed directly to arts organizations since the fund's inception. An innovative collaboration among the Tax Collector's Office, the Board of Supervisors and the Grants for the Arts, this program aims to provide an efficient and effective way for citizens to contribute to the City's cultural activities.

"The term 'only in San Francisco often is used to identify a silly person or dumb event that any other U.S. city would be ashamed to claim as its own. Sometimes though,' only in San Francisco' connotes a unique winner. Such is the case with a modest program called the Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund. The organization makes it easy for ordinary property owners to become angels to struggling arts organizations, neighborhood centers and schools." -- Stephanie Salter, San Francisco Examiner

"The city of San Francisco makes it easy for homeowners to support art groups." -- Jon Carroll, San Francisco Chronicle

This year, nearly $150,000 was donated to the fund, which will be distributed by Grants for the Arts to San Francisco arts groups. To download the application materials, click here. To see a list of the most recent VACF grantees, please click here or call 415.554.6710 to request a copy.

Not a San Francisco property tax owner, but still looking to contribute?
No problem! Contributions to the VACF can be made online or by check to:

Voluntary Arts Contribution Fund
c/o Grants for the Arts
City Hall, Rm. 347
San Francisco, CA 94102

[please make check payable to "VACF"]

Creative Capacity Fund

Creative Capacity Fund

The San Francisco Arts Commission and Grants for the Arts have launched the Creative Capacity Fund — the first joint initiative of City’s two arts agencies working in partnership with the Center for Cultural Innovation, a nonprofit training and financial services incubator working in California for artists and the arts field.  The Creative Capacity Fund (CCF) is a field-building initiative designed to support professional development and peer learning opportunities for San Francisco artists and arts administrators.

This initiative was launched in direct response to feedback from local arts professionals, requesting greater access to the knowledge and information resources that support and sustain healthy organizations and careers in the arts. Over the course of the next two years the Creative Capacity Fund will implement a series of capacity building programs beginning with a Scholarship Reimbursement Program that will enable eligible applicants, including individual artists and arts administrators of small and emerging arts organizations, to attend classes and workshops that will enhance their knowledge and administrative skills. In its pilot phase, the scholarship program is open to grantees of SFAC and GFTA with budgets of $250,000 and under. Scholarships will be awarded on a monthly deadline and will range up to $500 per organization and $250 per artists.

For more information on the Creative Capacity Fund, including guidelines, applications, and information on available workshops and service providers, visit www.creativecapacityfund.org.

Nonrecurring Events Fund


Due to the ongoing fiscal crisis, Grants for the Arts will be suspending the Nonrecurring Events Fund for the remainder of this current fiscal year and into the foreseeable future. This means that the May 15 deadline is now void and no applications will be accepted. The remainder of the fund that had been budgeted for this year will be used for GFTA’s FY 13/14 grants budget.

The Nonrecurring Events Fund (formerly known as the Promotion Fund) was developed to provide funding for San Francisco arts organizations not currently on the GFTA docket, to promote one-time only extraordinary programming opportunities such as first-time festivals and celebrations, major anniversaries, promotion of a new venue, or a significant program that may provide an unusual boost to the organization.

Funds are earmarked for partial subsidy of exceptional promotional costs related to publicity plans, consultants, materials and paid advertisements. Preference is given to those nonprofit organizations not currently receiving GFTA support through the regular funding cycle and to collaborative projects that benefit a number of groups. Examples include the Sesquicentennial of the California Gold Rush, the first Afro-Solo Festival and the launching of the half-price ticket booth at Union Square.

GFTA does not fund events designed as benefits or fund-raisers, national day celebrations nor organizations/projects that are the sole responsibility of a government agency. For organizations not currently receiving general operating support, funding is limited to once in any two consecutive fiscal years. Thus, organizations that are not current GFTA grantees must wait one year before applying for general operating support if an NREF grant is awarded. Any consideration of funding requests is subject to the availability of funds.

Proposals are accepted three times a year subject to the following deadlines: 

Sept 15 for events scheduled for the following January or later
Jan 15 for events scheduled for the following May or later 
May 15 for events scheduled for the following September or later 

Grants range up to a maximum of $10,000. Grant awards will not exceed 25% of the project budget.

All proposals are subject to the following criteria:

  • Applicant is not a current GFTA grantee;
  • If a current GFTA grantee, requests are only considered for (1) a collaboration of agencies that offers a significant departure from regular programming benefiting all participants or (2) the celebration of a significant anniversary*;
  • Request must be for one-time only (nonrecurring) events;
  • Organization must be a 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) or use a valid fiscal sponsor;
  • Organization must be based in San Francisco;
  • Project will have substantial audience impact;
  • Organization must demonstrate capacity to undertake planned project.

To download these guidelines and the application coversheet, click here.
(On a PC, right click and "save as" to save to your hard drive. On a Mac, ctrl + mouse click to save to your desktop.)

*Significant anniversaries are defined as any multiple of 10 or 25.