Belonging in Oakland: A Just City Cultural Fund

A Partnership of the City of Oakland’s Cultural Affairs Division, Akonadi Foundation, and East Bay Community Foundation

The democratic charge to support an ethically just, aesthetically diverse, dynamic, and rich city asks that we serve the civic narrative of belonging in all its beauty, temperaments, and complexities.

–Roberto Bedoya, Cultural Affairs Manager, City of Oakland



The purpose of the program is to support cultural practitioners of color to creatively reimagine Oakland as a truly racially just and culturally equitable city. The Fund acknowledges and values the complexity of intersectional experiences of race, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, ability, faith, class, and other identities and encourages projects that honor these complexities as assets for a just Oakland. 

Applicants must be:

  • a cultural practitioner of color who is based and rooted in Oakland
  • a group/collective of cultural practitioners led by people of color based and rooted in Oakland
  • an Oakland-based cultural organization led by people of color

AND must have

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit status, or
  • a mission-aligned 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.

Groups/collectives of cultural practitioners can include non-Oakland-based members, but must be led by Oaklanders.

Groups/collectives must be led by people of color, but can include others.

Fiscal Sponsor: A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is mission-aligned with the project it is sponsoring and is willing and able to assume the legal responsibility to receive and administer grant funds in compliance with requirements.

501(c)(3) fiscal sponsors are not required to be led by people of color nor do they have to be located in Oakland.

If awarded a grant, the fiscal sponsor of a project must be prepared to submit a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that outlines the mutual obligations of the fiscal sponsor and the person or entity it is sponsoring.

Please click here for more information about responsibilities of fiscal sponsors, and/or how to create an MOU for a sponsored project, or contact Katherin Canton at 510-999-4137 or



Grants will be awarded to individual artists/cultural practitioners as well as to artist collectives or cultural organizations that work with multiple artists. We hope these awards will seed as much imagination as possible. Grant funds can be used for the expenses that will make your reflection and reimagination possible, such as artist fees, focus group stipends, video conferencing fees, etc. We value fair compensation for cultural labor. We also value providing cultural practitioners (particularly independent contractors) with funds for life sustaining expenses—such as wellness, healthcare, childcare, food, student debt, rent, utilities, etc.—in addition to payment for their labor.



We are unable to fund activities intended to influence the outcome of any specific election for candidates to public office.




Please read the guidelines and application text carefully before starting an online application. PDFs of these guidelines and the application text can be found at the bottom of this page. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) will be updated during the application process, so please check back periodically for new information. The Application deadline is Monday, July 13, 2020, at 11:59 pm.

Applying to the Fund can only be done through East Bay Community Foundation’s online portal. Only applications submitted through the portal will be eligible for consideration. Late applications will not be accepted. Incomplete applications may be deemed ineligible. 

Please review the program timeline for important dates.



Please view this application webinar if you plan to apply – [Webinar Recording] BELONGING IN OAKLAND: A JUST CITY CULTURAL FUND  – June 24, 2020

Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend or view the webinars before applying to the program.

Application questions will be answered by phone or email up to the deadline, as possible.

We encourage you to begin your application at least a week before the submission deadline.

For assistance contact Katherin Canton at 510-999-4137,


Download the Guidelines [PDF]

Download the Application Text [PDF] (Note: This document is for reference only. Applications must be submitted online HERE)




For questions and assistance, contact Katherin Canton at 510-999-4137 or