Arts and Culture for Social and Racial Justice

About the Fund

Lake Merritt at sunset


“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

(See Glossary of Key Terms for definitions of bolded terms)

The Just City Cultural Fund will support Oakland-based, civically-engaged, BIPOC (Black/Indigenous/People of Color) artists/cultural practitioners to work with the communities they are rooted in to co-create a project driven by their vision of a just society that centers the perspectives of those who have borne the brunt of systemic racism and social and economic inequality.

We want to be respectful of your time, so we encourage you to read the guidelines carefully to make sure your project aligns with the Fund’s intent. In the spirit of transparency, we seek to be clear about what our grantmaking will and will not support.

What We Will Fund

The Fund will focus on BIPOC artists/cultural practitioners who have a demonstrated commitment to community-centered social justice practices with an orientation toward systemic change.

Moving beyond critiques of injustice, the Fund seeks projects with the multiple purposes of:

  • Challenging the policies and practices of oppressive racialized systems;
  • Lifting up value systems and ways of being that cultivate belonging;
  • Supporting self-determined action by those most impacted by systemic racism; and
  • Generating new tools/policy arguments/prototypes for a just and equitable city.
Examples of Potential Projects

Below are some examples of the kinds of projects that could be supported by the Fund. These examples are meant to spark ideas, not to limit them.

  • Creating spaces for equitable civic dialogue and practices relating to decolonization and rematriation informed by Indigenous and place-based wisdom
  • Promoting community well-being and healing from civic traumas through new civic practices for truth-telling and restorative justice
  • Designing a community-centered process that helps Oaklanders envision what the hardscape and softscape of a culturally-equitable neighborhood could include
  • Employing under-recognized forms of cultural knowledge and/or new value narratives to build pathways out of white supremacist mindsets
  • Creating new civic-facing cultural practices to address racialized violence, houselessness, xenophobia, faith-based prejudice, etc.
  • Collaborations between arts practitioners and community organizers that are grounded in cultural practices that propel coalition- and power-building for racial justice.

What We Will Not Fund

The Fund values and recognizes the roles and needs of diverse forms of artistic and cultural work to a healthy and just community. However, this program, because of legal requirements and limited resources, will not fund:

  • Activities to influence the outcome of elections for candidates for public office
  • Capital campaigns for building maintenance/construction/purchase or endowments
  • Projects with the sole purpose of putting artistic works before an audience
  • Training activities with the sole purpose of helping individuals develop artistic skills

Grant Amounts

Approximately seven or eight two-year grants ranging from $30,000 to $50,000 per year will be awarded. A special stipend equaling 12% of the grant amount (ranging from $3,600 and $6,000 per year) will be added to each award for life sustaining expenses of the artist(s)/cultural practitioner(s)—such as healthcare, childcare, student or other debt, restorative time or activities, or other such expenses—as a modest recognition of the hidden costs of maintaining cultural practices in Oakland’s communities of color.

Funding Match Requirement

There is no funding match requirement for this grant. A project doesn’t need to be large in scale or budget to be considered competitive. However, if the project budget significantly exceeds the requested grant amount, having additional secured or pending resources will strengthen the feasibility of the project.

Rootedness in Oakland Communities

The word “radical” comes from the Latin word for root. Rootedness is an important concept for The Fund. We are looking for artists/cultural practitioners who are deeply rooted in their Oakland communities and have the commitment and capacity for working with community members to address an opportunity or challenge. A community may be geographically or ethnically/culturally defined. It may also be a community of identity based on, for example, age, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status.

Sharing the Vision

The Fund requires projects to share their learnings/findings/results through engaging a broader public in some fashion. For example, this could be a process-based activity, work-in-progress showings, culminating events, or a final product (in-person, virtual, documented, as appropriate). Please notify the Fund of any public activity that is a part of your project so a Fund representative may attend.

However, the Fund recognizes and honors the importance of preserving ritual/ceremonial spaces intended for limited participation as part of a project’s process or activities.

Reporting Requirements

After the first year of the grant period, the main reporting requirement will be to have a conversation with a Fund representative about what has taken place, what you are learning, and what you have planned. Final written/recorded reporting requirements will be negotiated between grant recipients and the Fund, as appropriate to the project. A simple accounting of how the grant funds and special stipends were spent will be requested.

Peer Networking & Learning

Grant recipients will be convened at the beginning of the project to learn about each other’s projects and to decide if they would like to participate in peer sharing and learning activities together. There may also be opportunities to be in dialogue with counterparts nationally. (Frequency and content of the activities will be determined by the cohort of grant recipients with support from the Fund).


Download JCCF May Webinar Deck 2021 
Download the 2021 Guidelines [PDF]
Download the 2021 Application Text [PDF]
Download 2021 Tips for Using the Online Application Portal
Download the 2021 Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]

For questions and assistance, contact