San Mateo County Arts Commission 2023-24 Grants Program


  • Grant workshop: March 1, 2023, 2:00-3:30pm (via zoom)
  • Application Available: March 6 – March 24, 2023
  • Application Deadline: March 24, 2023
  • Panel Review: April 2023
  • Grant Award Notification: June 2023


Grants Program

The Office of Arts & Culture will administer the San Mateo County Arts Commission’s 2023-24 grants program, providing a streamlined grant opportunity for general support or project/program support for all arts and culture nonprofit organizations in San Mateo County. This funding provides grantees with the flexibility to use the funds in a way that makes the most sense for their individual organization, and for greatest impact on overall organizational health and sustainability. We look to you as our partners in our important work of growing our arts and culture eco-system to create a vital and healthy community.

To continue equitable and trust-based grantmaking practices, it is essential to maintain a respectful relationship between the Office of Arts and Culture, the Arts Commission, and grantees, past and future. To do this, we will:

  • Embrace engaging diverse, inclusive, and equitable perspectives and community voices that provide significant, relevant, and collaborative conversation and actions.
  • Require clarity, responsiveness, and transparency from both parties.
  • Design a streamlined online application and reporting system that is efficient, accessible, and user-friendly.
  • Engage an expert panel of peer readers representative of the diversity of the County to review the applications along with the OAC staff and recommend funding priorities to the Arts Commissioners.

General Support and Project Support Grants (choose one)

General support funds
may be used by the organization as needed to support the organization’s overhead, salaries, or other needs.

Project/program support funds may be used to support costs of a specific project or program.


  1. Must be an arts or cultural organizations located in or serving residents in San Mateo County.
  2. Must be a 501(c)(3) nonprofit or fiscally sponsored organization in good standing with the Internal Revenue Service or a local public agency/entity.
  3. Must have been in operation for 1+ years.
  4. Must have a budget under $1,000,000.


Review Criteria

Requests for grant funds are reviewed based on evidence organizations’ ability to:

  • Celebrate the arts and culture through programs that reflect diverse County needs
  • Present effective arts and culture programs/services in San Mateo County, including programs that are accessible and inviting to low-income communities
  • Articulate a clear vision and plan for success and sustainability
  • Embrace diversity, equity, and inclusion in the organization’s staff, board, and community served
  • Demonstrate the organization is well-managed, effective, and financially viable
  • Establish impactful goals and appropriate evaluation methods
  • Partner/collaborate with others for community benefit and organizational efficiency
  • Attract/secure diverse board members that are engaged and contribute financially

What We Do Not Fund

  • Individuals, individual artists, scholarships or fellowships
  • Organizations that discriminate with regards to employees, volunteers, delivery of programs/services or clients served based on age, sex, religion/creed, race, ethnicity, gender identity, disability, marital status, military or veterans’ status, or socioeconomic status
  • Any organization that is inconsistent with the mission, values, and strategic framework of the SMCAC
  • Capital expenditures including construction projects; purchase of land and buildings, equipment, or debt repayment
  • Trusts, endowment funds or investments
  • Activities with a political or religious purpose or lobbying activities

Review Process

The streamlined process ensures potential grantees’ eligibility before beginning the application and that only fully completed applications may be submitted through the Common Grant Application portal ( The Peer Review Panel will use rubrics that reflect the County’s and Arts Commission’s equity policies to review and rank applications for funding. The Arts Commissioners will review the panel’s recommendations and award grants accordingly. Decisions of the Arts Commission are final.

San Mateo County Arts Commissioners who have professional or volunteer affiliations with any organizations that apply for grants from the Commission must excuse themselves from any deliberation concerning these grants.

Please direct any grant-related questions, to Mara Grimes, OAC Administrator-Manager

Grants open from March 6- March 24, 2023, via Common Grant Application.


To Apply:

General Support Grants

First-time users register:

Returning users login:

Project/Program Support Grants

First-time users register:

Returning users login:

"How to video" for using the Common Grant Application site:

To view application questions check the documents at the bottom of this page 

Link to the workshop recording on YouTube: