Transforming the Creative Economy

As a response to the challenging arts environment brought on by the Great Recession, the Foundation has focused on helping the arts sector transition to attract new audiences and meet the current economic reality. The way people experience the arts is changing as our region continues to grow and is more diverse. This requires a fresh approach. How are traditional arts groups managing these changes? Are they being responsive to community interests? Are smaller, deeply rooted cultural arts groups thriving? Are larger arts groups collaborating with smaller arts groups? What kind of help do they both need? These are all questions that we hope to answer as we work to transform the creative economy.

Through its strategic planning process, the Foundation has identified four main goals for the Transforming the Creative Economy Strategic Initiative:

  1. Enhance the greater Sacramento region’s diverse identity through arts and culture
  2. Expand opportunities for life-long arts exposure and learning
  3. Foster support for artists and arts and cultural organizations
  4. Increase access to the arts for all residents in the greater Sacramento region

Through these goals, our aim is to assist in building a thriving creative sector that will become even more vibrant, nimble and resilient. We believe our local cultural economy will continue to thrive, becoming a more vital reflection of this community’s uniqueness and preparing the sector for the next wave of changes inevitably facing our region.

This grant opportunity is closed.

Please note that the requirements articulated below were developed for a previous round of the grant opportunity. Details for future rounds may differ.

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  • Primary applicant must be a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization in good standing as defined by the IRS
  • Must be an organization with arts as its core mission or a nonprofit that includes the arts as a major component of its programming
  • Service one or more of the following counties: Sacramento, Placer, Yolo, and El Dorado
  • We will not consider proposals for the following:
    • Annual appeals
    • Capital campaigns or improvements (the addition of a permanent structural improvement or the restoration of some aspect of a property). This does not include technology-based additions or improvements
    • Individuals
    • Sponsorships
  • Have a current profile on the region’s nonprofit database, GivingEdge. (Applicants may still apply for funding without a profile, but will be required to have an approved profile by the end of your grant term. GivingEdge will be accepting applications for new profiles beginning in mid-June. 

Using the three main goals of the Transforming the Creative Economy  Strategic Initiative as a guide, we are seeking proposals that aim to work toward solutions in one more of the outlined goals and activities below. Through your narrative, you will be asked to define which goal(s) you have chosen to address.

Goal 1: Create new pipelines for the next arts audiences, donors, supporters, and leaders

The future of the arts is at stake without taking time to reflect and attract new arts supporters. The next pipeline is critical to the survival of the arts. We are seeking proposals that aim address the following:

  1. Build new audiences by fostering opportunities for youth and other target audiences to attend live performances or current exhibits
  2. Integrate unconventional methods with traditional art forms to attract new audiences
    • Methods may include innovative approaches to venue location, programming, fundraising or marketing
    • Integration of arts experiences into non-arts events

Examples of activities include:

  • Arts education/experiences in schools or through community-based arts programs
  • Access to arts such as providing transportation assistance to arts venues or where art may take place
  • Projects that involve a collaboration between established traditional arts organizations and smaller arts and/or non-arts organizations that aim to use innovative approaches to draw new audiences
  • Events or projects that incorporate new opportunities for arts experiences at non-arts events (i.e. civic events, non-arts organization events or other public events that have not integrated an arts experience in the past)

Goal 2: Strengthen the capacity of arts organizations

Capacity building provides a foundation in which arts organizations can continue to grow and strengthen their programs, eventually expanding their reach to serve the community. Proposals that aim to strengthen the infrastructure of an organization will be considered in the following areas:

  1. Board development
  2. Staff development
  3. Fundraising/fund development
  4. Financial literacy/fiscal responsibility
  5. Marketing and communications, including strengthening social media

Examples of activities include:

  • Board and staff alignment and succession planning, board training in governance, strategic planning, nonprofit financial planning, and/or leadership educational opportunities
  • Leadership or professional development opportunities for organizational leadership
  • Professional or industry-level workshops, classes, or conferences to strengthen and acquire state of the art knowledge in the latest strategies and approaches
  • System-wide technology enhancements or improvements

Goal 3: Create new and innovative opportunities for arts exposure experiences

Part of developing the next pipeline of arts supporters is to ensure that the next generation experiences arts either in nuanced traditional forms or in forms that reflect interests or ways that people currenly experience arts. Proposals that seek to address issues in goal 3 will provide solutions to the following:

  1. Provide greater access to art by underserved, low-income and/or communities of color
  2. Increase exposure to diverse, cultural art forms that reflect our community
  3. Provide new arts experiences to the public
  4. Work with underserved communities to integrate arts experiences while creating a benefit to the community it serves

Examples of activities include:

  • Programs, projects or performances that aim to provide access to neighborhoods and communities that are primarily comprised of underserved, low-income and/or communities of color
  • Place-making projects and arts experiences that include lasting benefit to the community in which it serves. Place-making projects capitalize on a local community's assets, inspiration, and potential, with the intention of creating public spaces that promote people's health, happiness, and well-being
  • Programs, projects or performances that seek to provide exposure to diverse, cultural art forms
  • Group projects that provide new opportunities for arts exposure in a public setting

Through the Request for Proposal (RFP) process, the Foundation is seeking to support projects that address one or more goals for Transforming the Creative Economy.  In addition, we are looking for projects that include elements of the following:  


  • Projects involving multiple arts and/or non-arts organizations, corporate partners and/or businesses
  • Arts organizations of varying sizes and disciplines partnering to bring about new and innovative ways to address one or more of the three goals of theTransforming the Creative Economy Strategic Initiative
  • Programs or projects that emphasize a unique role for our region’s businesses. This should include opportunities for businesses and business leaders to engage with artists, provide venues for additional arts experiences, or other creative ways to partner
  • Other partnerships considered: civic organizations, local government, schools, and faith-based organizations


  • Projects that seek to think outside mainstream or traditional conventions in addressing the issues facing the arts sector
  • Strategic practices that provide new pathways to fulfill your mission and strengthen your capacity to serve the community


  • Local and relevant data should be used to support your proposed project, which may include audience retention rates, increased audience participation, local demographic data of the community you serve or wish to serve, financial data (i.e. revenue) that demonstrates community responsiveness
  • Results from past events, projects and programs that show trends, successes and where improvements can be made
  • Programs and projects that seek to gather data both before and after project timelines for more informed decision-making on future projects

The Foundation will consider requests within the range of $10,000 to $20,000.  These are one-time grants and not eligible for multi-year agreements. Funds must be used within 1 year upon receiving the award.

For this Strategic Initiative, the Foundation is very interested in organizations that can offer interesting and great ideas that few have tried before or may be new and different for our communities.  This means that for every grant application being considered, we will ask you how you arrived at your idea, what data you have to support your approach, and what collaborative opportunities you have already made to demonstrate this grant.  While the best practice standards of grantmaking will be applied in our review, such as budget and fiscal management and use of leveraged resources, we will also examine board involvement and management that speaks to the strength of your organization, and support of your mission to reflect your community.  Ideas that other communities have tried before but are new to the Sacramento region, collaborations that maximize and leverage the strengths of you and your partners that demonstrate unity and resource sharing, and use of local data to support the rationale for your idea are highly encouraged.  

Specifically, grants will be reviewed based on the following best practice standards criteria:

  • Clear proposal request that aligns with the RFP and clearly addresses one more of the three goals
  • Strong budget and fiscal management, demonstrating fiscal strength and other sources of leveraged funding and support
  • Engaged board and management of the organization in carrying the mission forward

A selection committee will review proposals and make funding recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Directors. Applications will only be accepted through the online application.  No late applications will be accepted.

Request for Proposals Launch

May 22, 2017

Proposals Due

June 12, 2017 12:00 P.M.

Grantees Notified & Awards Announced

Late July 2017

Applications must be submitted through our online application only. No email or paper applications will be accepted.

Click here to apply!

For questions regarding the application process, using the online system or timeline, please contact us.

For question regarding content (narrative/budget questions) or other inquiries regarding this opportunity, please contact Niva Flor, Community Impact Officer,