Community Arts – FAQs

Below, you will find answers to the frequently asked questions received by the Foundation from prospective applicants. Please review these FAQs before contacting the Foundation with questions.


Applications are accepted quarterly, in March, June, September and December every year.

You may apply with one project per submission cycle. Applicants may submit for funding multiple times throughout the year but are only eligible to receive funding once per calendar year.

Returning grantees must be in good standing with all required reporting submitted before new applications will be accepted.

Your project start date should fall within a six-month window of the grant notification date. For example, if you apply for funding in December 2018, you will be notified whether you have received funding on March 12, 2019. Your project must begin between March 13 – September 30, 2019. If your project begins outside of that window, you should apply in a different submission period. If your event is ongoing (for example, a monthly series throughout the year) you may apply when makes most sense for your project and annual budget.

Individuals or organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status must use a fiscal sponsor. A fiscal sponsorship agreement/ Memorandum of Understanding is required.

Individual artists and applying organizations should use their own information and primary contact for the application. If you are using a fiscal sponsor, you will find a section of the application to include the information for your fiscal sponsor.

All applications must be submitted through Fluxx, our online grant system, at zellerbach.fluxx.io.

Please check your spam folder for the email confirmation of your user ID and password. If you do not receive an email after submitting your registration information, please contact Zellerbach Family Foundation Grants Manager Patrick Taylor at patrick.taylor@zff.org

Yes, as long as you are applying as the same individual/organization you can use your existing user ID and password.

No. You must use the online grant system to apply for Community Arts grants.

On average, the application takes about 3-4 hours to complete.

Community Arts accepts applications only for its Project grants; other arts grants are initiated by submitting a Letter of Inquiry. Applications for the other program areas of the foundation are administered by invitation only.

The Community Arts grants support individual artists and small and mid-sized organizations. Because that distinction varies widely across disciplines, we do not have a budget cap on eligible organizations.

Project based grants are made up to $10,000.

  • Project budget
  • Fiscal sponsorship agreement/Memorandum of Understanding (if applicable)
  • Annual budget of applying organization (501c3 only)

The project budget includes all income and expenses associated with the project and demonstrates a realistic and thorough financial plan in place for producing the work. The annual budget of applying organization includes the income and expenses associated with the annual operations and provides context for where this project fits in with the entire scope of the work of the organization. If the project is the only activity of the organization in the year, the project budget and annual budget will be the same.

You may either estimate the cost of your artistic practice as an individual artist (separate from your personal finances) or you may say that you have no annual budget ($0.00).

The brief history and mission statement or artist statement should cover the history and mission of the organization and the scope of current activities or should be a brief statement from the artist about their personal creative history leading up to the proposed project.

Yes, each field has a character count that will guide you; please be succinct in your descriptions.

Near the bottom of the application, there is a blue box with Instructions for Uploading Attachments. Each required attachment is listed, with a small green plus sign next to it. Click on the green plus sign and you will be prompted to upload the required document. Make sure you upload each attachment under the proper category, or your application will appear incomplete. For all other documents, at the bottom of the application there is a box labeled Upload Application Documents. Click on the green plus sign and you will be prompted to upload additional documents.

The work sample should complement the project description and supports what you describe in your proposal. The work sample can be a section of a project previously presented by your organization, showcasing the work of the company and giving the panel members a sense of the scale and scope of the proposed project. It can highlight the work of a particular artist involved in the project – a choreographer, composer, visual artist or author. You may choose to include a section of work from the development of the proposed project, like rehearsal footage. For visual arts, it is great to see examples of a featured artists previous work. Above all, the work sample should give a sense of your project and the applying organizations aesthetic and style.

Contact Grants Manager Patrick Taylor at patrick.taylor@zff.org to have your application reopened. You application can only be reopened before the submission deadline. Once the submission deadline has passed, your application cannot be reopened. Your application is reviewed for eligibility and to assess its completeness. It is then passed on to our Community Arts panel for evaluation.

Community Arts Project grant applications are evaluated by a rotating panel of professional artists. Final approval for grants is determined by the Zellerbach Family Foundation Board of Directors.

Evaluation of Community Arts applications are based on five criteria, with a 1-4-7-10 ranking system. Each of the five criteria are weighted (as indicated below) to combine for a total score of 100.
Evaluation Criteria:
30% – Relevance/urgency of project – Based on how clearly this is articulated in the project narrative – why is this project being done, and why now?
25% – Artistic excellence/craft – Based on work samples and list of participating artists – who is creating the piece and what is the level of skill and craft brought to the project?
25% – Community served – Based project narrative and community served – how rooted is the applicant is in the desired community, what is the plan for reaching the intended audience, what is the need of the audience being served?
10% – Capacity – Based on description of applying organization, confirmed plan for execution of project, staff capacity, clarity of proposed budget – can the applying organization pull off the project as described?
10% – Grantsmanship – Based on clarity of proposed project – how well was the project described and was it supported by the narrative, work samples, and budget?

You will receive an email notification of the outcome of your grant after the Zellerbach Family Foundation Board of Directors meeting.

The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation is a generous partner and supporter of the Community Arts program. Some of the funding you receive in your award may have been contributed by the Hewlett Foundation; if so, this contribution will be listed on your grant agreement.

We have no requirements on acknowledgement of receipt of a grant. If you would like to acknowledge the Foundation, you may list us with your other donors at the appropriate level, include our logo in your printed materials, or include a short sentence acknowledging the grant.

We will do our best to indicate if there is anything that would strengthen future applications; due to the highly competitive nature of the Community Arts program, there may be a variety of reasons why an application is declined. We are simply not able to fund every project.

Due to the large number of applications the Community Arts program receives, we are unable to accept late applications. If the timeline of your project allows, you may submit at the next quarterly submission deadline.

The Zellerbach Family Foundation welcomes community arts applicants and grantees to join us for quarterly informational workshops to discuss and ask questions about the application process. The workshops are held prior to each open submission window for the Community Arts Program. You must RSVP to the workshop you plan to attend.

Please contact:

Margot Melcon
Program Executive, Promoting Culture
margot.melcon@zff.org
(415) 421-2629 ext. 111