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 extraordinary power of art and culture shine a fresh light on injustice, build solidarity, and help us imagine—and work toward—a better future for whole communities. On the other side of justice is belonging.

–Lateefah Simon, President, Akonadi 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


(See definitions of terms in BOLD in the Glossary of Key Terms.)


The COVID-19 pandemic has given rise to unprecedented challenges and has laid bare long-standing structural inequities of our society – evidenced in the repeated targeting of Black lives by state-sanctioned power, the continued invisibilizing of Indigenous peoples, and the dehumanization of undocumented workers. We acknowledge the extraordinary circumstances that the cultural sector of communities of color are facing and recognize that undermining the culture of a people is an attack on their very being. We believe that lifting up the cultural imaginations of our Black/Indigenous/people of color communities will create the visions that our society so deeply needs.

In its first year, this program will offer Reflect & Reimagine grants to support the sector as it navigates these uncertain waters and dreams of the tools, methods, and solutions not only for keeping our most vulnerable communities afloat, but visions for their ability to thrive.

Year One: Twelve Reflect & Reimagine grants of $25,000 will be awarded in this round.

For Years Two and Three, the Fund will seek applications for the implementation of community-centered cultural projects that amplify the voices of people most impacted by systemic racism and inequality. Though Year One grants may help to strengthen applications for Year Two and Year Three implementation grants, applicants need not have received a Year One grant to be eligible to apply in later years.

Funding Match Requirement: There is no funding match requirement for this grant.

Peer Learning: Awardees will be invited to participate in peer sharing and learning activities. (Frequency and content will be determined by the cohort of awardees in collaboration with the Fund leadership team.)

Project Requirement: At the end of the grant period, awardees are to submit a work in their preferred medium or a written piece that expresses or explains their idea for a radically imagined, racially just Oakland related to the community they are rooted in.