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 application deadline for 2020 is past. A new grant cycle will open in late spring, 2021. To receive information and updates on future grant opportunities click here.

Click here for a list of 2020 Awardees & Panelists


Belonging: Within the civic realm, belonging is tied to people’s ability to lead meaningful lives, to be connected to the place they live in, and the people they live among, and to feel a part of something larger than themselves. We believe to cultivate belonging, there must be more equitable racial, cultural, and socioeconomic conditions for self-expression, mutual respect, empathy, and acceptance. These conditions cannot be fulfilled without an understanding of the breadth of cultural diversity in Oakland and how different forms of expression have different needs. (Definition from the City of Oakland’s cultural plan)


Cultural Practitioners: Artists, artist-activists, traditional culture bearers/keepers, griots/storytellers, craftspeople, creative placemakers and -keepers, cultural strategists, community historians/elders, or other visionaries.


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.


In-Kind: An in-kind contribution is a non-monetary contribution of goods or services that are offered free or at a reduced rate. The time, skills, and knowledge that participants contribute to a project can be counted as in-kind contributions, as can materials and supplies.


Intersectionality: The concept of one’s being disadvantaged by multiple sources of oppression based on the intersections of social identities such as race, ethnicity, class, age, gender identity, sexual orientation, ability, and religion. Intersectionality recognizes that identities do not exist independently of each other, and that each informs the others, often creating a complex convergence of oppression. (Definition adapted from YW Boston of a term coined by Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw)


People of Color: People who are not of exclusively European parentage or White identified. For the purposes of this program, people of color will include inter-racial people with both White and non-White heritage and who identify as people of color.


Racial Justice: The systematic fair treatment of people of all races, resulting in equitable opportunities and outcomes for all. Racial justice—or racial equity—goes beyond “anti-racism.” It is not just the absence of discrimination and inequities, but also the presence of deliberate systems and supports to achieve and sustain racial equity through proactive and preventative measures. (Definition adopted from Race Forward)


Radical Imagination: The ability to imagine the world, life, and social institutions not as they are, but as they might be in a just world. It is the courage and the intelligence to recognize that the world can be changed. Radical imagination is about calling on the past, telling different stories about how the world came to be the way it is, and remembering the power and importance of past struggles and the way their spirits live on in the present. It calls on our capacity to imagine how to make common cause with other people, and undergirds our ability to build solidarity across boundaries and borders, real or imagined. (Definition adapted from writings by Alex Khasnabish and Max Haiven)


Systemic/Structural Racism: Systemic/structural racism in the U.S. is the normalization and legitimization of an array of dynamics—historical, cultural, institutional, and interpersonal—that routinely advantage Whites while producing cumulative and chronic adverse outcomes for people of color. It is a system of hierarchy and inequity, primarily characterized by white supremacy—the preferential treatment, privilege, and power for White people at the expense of Black, Latino, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, SWANA (Southwest Asian, North African) and other racially oppressed people. (Definition adopted from Structural Racism by Keith Lawrence and Terry Keleher)



Download the 2020 Guidelines [PDF] (for reference only; new guidelines will be available in 2021)

Download the 2020 Application Text [PDF] (for reference only) 

Download the 2020 Frequently Asked Questions [PDF] (for reference only)


For questions and assistance, contact