Community Arts Program

Application Guidelines

ZFF accepts applications only for its Community Arts Program grants. All other grants are made by invitation. For more information on ZFF’s other program areas, please click here.

Program Description

The arts in all their variety are indispensable to the spirit and quality of life of the Bay Area. For over forty years, the Community Arts program of the Zellerbach Family Foundation has nourished artists, awarding over $15 million in grants supporting the creative vibrancy of our community. These grants provide opportunity for artists and arts organizations to emerge, create and collaborate, and ensure the Bay Area arts community remains diverse, accessible, equitable and vibrant.

The Community Arts program goals are to celebrate artistic risk, promote organizational stability, encourage collaboration between organizations and facilitate training for artists and arts administrators, for a thriving Bay Area arts community. The program awards grants to support Bay Area artists and access to the arts for Bay Area audiences across four strategies: Project, Stability, Collaboration and Training. ZFF accepts applications only for its Project grants; other arts grants are initiated by submitting a Letter of Inquiry.


The Community Arts Project grants provide support to individual artists and small to mid-sized arts organizations in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties, in the fields of dance, music, theater, visual arts, literary arts and festivals.

  • Project grants are made to nonprofit organizations or to artists and organizations applying with a 501c3 fiscal sponsor
  • Applicants must be individual artists or arts organizations primarily operating in San Francisco, Alameda and Contra Costa counties
  • Projects must be in the disciplines of dance, music, theater, visual arts, literary arts and festivals
  • Projects must have a live, artistic public event or presentation of the work created for the proposed project
  • Project events must take place within six months of the award notification date
  • Applicants may request up to $10,000
  • Artists and organizations (excluding fiscal sponsors representing multiple organizations) may apply with one project per submission cycle
  • Applicants may submit multiple times throughout the year but are only eligible to receive funding once per calendar year
  • Applicants must get permission to submit a project for consideration that has been previously declined
  • Returning grantees must be in good standing with all required reporting submitted before new applications will be accepted

Project grants do not support:

  • Commissions, development or workshops independent of a public presentation or event
  • Funding for the creation of fine art, craft, film or video independent of a public presentation or event
  • Projects that are primarily educational, youth-performed or youth-oriented programming
  • Activities not available to the general public or that take place outside of the funding area
  • Industry Publications or Awards
  • General Operations
  • Capital Campaigns
  • Deficit Reduction or Retroactive Funding
  • Fundraisers/Benefits