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



Applicants must be:

  • an individual or group of BIPOC artists/cultural practitioners who resides and is rooted in Oakland with demonstrated experience in producing and/or co-designing community-centered/public-facing projects


  • an Oakland-based cultural organization led by BIPOC artists/cultural practitioners with demonstrated experience in producing and/or co-designing community-centered/public-facing projects

Applicants must have:

  • 501(c)(3) nonprofit status


  • a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor

Groups/collectives of artists/cultural practitioners must be led by people of color, but can include others. They must also be led by Oaklanders, but can include non-Oakland-based members.

The 2021 application deadline for A Just City Cultural Fund has past.
We are not accepting applications at this time.

Fiscal Sponsor

A fiscal sponsor is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that is willing and able to assume the legal responsibility to receive and administer grant funds in compliance with requirements.

The Fund seeks to support Oakland’s historically marginalized communities of color and the artists/cultural practitioners within them. While the Fund can only grant to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations, we are aware that nonprofit infrastructure is challenged in communities of color in Oakland. For that reason, fiscal sponsors are not required to be located in Oakland nor BIPOC-led.

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 Mush Lee at 510-214-2926 or


Application Process

There is a two-step application process.  

The first step is to complete a brief online Letter of Inquiry (LOI) application. This includes:

  • basic information about your project 
  • some demographic information
  • a brief (300 word) description of the project
  • a work sample

LOIs will be reviewed and ranked by peer readers and the Fund’s leadership team. Up to 20 LOI applications will receive an invitation to submit a full proposal. The rest will receive notification that their application has been declined. For those declined, the process will end there.

The second step will be for those who have been invited to submit a full proposal. 

Full proposals will need to include more project details, such as a project budget and short artist/cultural practitioner bios. Proposals will be due within three weeks after receiving the invitation and will be reviewed and ranked by peer panelists. Those who submit a full proposal will receive an honorarium of $300 for the effort required to submit a full proposal. 

Up to eight two-year awards will be announced in September.

Please read the guidelines and application text carefully before starting an online LOI application. You may print out the guidelines and the LOI application text and technical tips by clicking on the PDF links found at the bottom of this page. The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) can help guide you in your submission and will be updated during the application process. Please check back periodically for new information. 

Click here to access the online portal to create and submit your LOI.

The LOI application deadline is Monday, June 14, 2021, at 6:00 pm.

Only applications submitted through the East Bay Community Foundation’s online 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.

Last year, the Fund received over 100 applications for very few grants. The grantmaking process is very competitive and many worthy projects were not able to be funded.

The 2021 application deadline for A Just City Cultural Fund has past.
We are not accepting applications at this time.