Grants for the Arts funding priorities reflect the City’s commitment to equitable distribution, with a focus on organizations serving San Francisco’s Black and trans communities

City of San Francisco logoSan Francisco Mayor London N. Breed and City Administrator Naomi M. Kelly today announced approximately $12.8 million in general operating support grants to fund 227 arts and cultural organizations that enhance the City’s cultural vibrancy. This year’s Grants for the Arts (GFTA) funding comes after an internal review of the City’s grantmaking to better support organizations embedded in and serving San Francisco’s diverse communities.

“We continue to deal with the economic challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, and funding for arts organizations is more vital now than ever before,” said Mayor Breed. “As a city that prides itself on its diversity, we must continue to distribute funds equitably and support organizations that serve communities in San Francisco who are most in need.”

As president of the Board of Supervisors, Mayor Breed spearheaded Proposition E, a reallocation of the existing hotel tax for arts and culture services. Last year, the Grants for the Arts advisory panel recommended reforms to GFTA in order to ensure more community-based funding. Moreover, GFTA reviewed grantees using a strong equity lens to focus on organizations deeply rooted and serving diverse populations, such as Black and trans communities.

“San Francisco is uniquely positioned because of its vibrant arts and culture and that is what Grants for the Arts seeks to sustain,” said City Administrator Kelly. “Even before COVID-19, arts groups faced skyrocketing rents and other cost pressures. These funds will help organizations weather the tough economic times we currently face and emerge stronger after the pandemic.”

“I am honored to be working alongside such a diverse, rigorous and generous advisory panel to support our City leadership in advancing equity in our arts community,” said Jonathan Moscone, Chair of the Grants for the Arts Advisory Panel. “All of us on the panel are extremely grateful to the GFTA staff for working tirelessly over the last few months to care for our fragile and vital community.”

The City Administrator manages GFTA, a program that has provided a stable and dependable source for general operating costs to support the City’s arts and cultural organizations since 1961. GFTA relies on a dedicated Hotel Tax to provide this critical support.

“The arts are a vitally important economic industry, generating revenue, creating jobs, attracting tourists, and strengthening communities,” said Matthew Goudeau, Director of Grants for the Arts. “We are thrilled to be able to invest in these organizations’ good work during this time when the arts sector is experiencing immense impacts from the pandemic. Despite our reduced budget resulting from a drop in Hotel Tax revenue, Grants for the Arts was able to find ways to leverage our funding to equitably support a variety of artistic practices and uplift San Francisco’s creative economy.”

These investments will help enhance the City’s public spaces, provide employment and enrichment to residents, and continue to expand San Francisco’s artistic and cultural diversity. A wide breadth of organizations, parades, and festivals have been awarded funds this year, including Project Level, San Francisco Transgender Film Festival, and the Northern California Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Community Foundation, among many others. These general operating support grants will fund seven organizations not previously funded by GFTA and increase funding for organizations deeply-rooted within the Black and trans communities by an average of 34% over last year.

A complete list of GFTA’s Fiscal Year 2021 grants, including the 227 organizations that received GFTA general operating support funding, can be found here.