Arts and Culture for Social and Racial Justice

Eligibility & Application Instructions

Lake Merritt at sunset

We are grateful to Oakland’s artists and cultural creators for gifting us with their vision of what belonging means in a community rooted in justice, healing, and liberation. Through their eyes, a just Oakland is not only possible, it is within our reach.

–Raymond Colmenar, President, Akonadi Foundation

The Fund seeks to support Oakland-based, BIPOC-led policy-change collaborations whose visions are rooted in communities that have been most impacted by structural racism. Please take the following quiz to see if your organization may be the lead applicant of an eligible collaboration.

Eligibility to Apply

Organizational collaborations applying for funding must designate a lead applicant who will submit an application on behalf of the collaboration. The lead applicant should be the organization that has the responsibility for managing the grant for the collaborative partnership, not the applicant’s fiscal sponsor.

In order to apply, the lead applicant must first complete a brief eligibility quiz to ensure that their collaboration meets the eligibility requirements:

Below is a preview of the eligibility survey. You must answer YES the following questions to be eligible to apply:

  1. Are you an Oakland-based* BIPOC-led organization with 501(c)(3) status or 501(c)(4)** status, or with a 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor that is in good standing with the IRS? 
  2. Are you a social change organization OR a cultural organization that works with civically-oriented artist(s)/cultural practitioner(s)?
  3. If you are a cultural organization that works with civically-oriented artist(s)/cultural practitioner(s), are you collaborating with a social change organization?  OR, if you are a social change organization, are you collaborating with a cultural organization that works with civically-oriented BIPOC artist(s)/cultural practitioner(s)? 
  4. Do you have an operating budget of $500,000 or more? 

*A note about rootedness in Oakland

Being based and rooted in Oakland is an important concept for the Fund. We are looking for collaborations that are deeply rooted in Oakland communities and have the commitment and capacity to work with community members to address an opportunity or challenge. A community may be geographically, ethnically, or culturally defined. It may also be a community of identity based on, for example, age, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, or immigration status. 

**A note about 501c4

Grant funds to 501c4 organizations can be used for direct or grassroots lobbying activities.  Grant funds cannot be used for anything that qualifies as a reportable campaign contribution.

For more information, please contact Anyka Howard

Application Process

Once you have confirmed your eligibility, you can move on to the two-step application process:   

Step 1: Eligible applicants will answer a series of brief questions and submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) along with some general organizational information, financials for the most recently completed year, and a work sample demonstrating policy change efforts. The LOI application deadline is Monday, July 31, 2023, at 5:00 pm.

Step 2: Up to 15 applicants will be invited to submit a full proposal. Full proposals will be due within four weeks after the acceptance of an invitation to apply. 

Three three-year awards will be announced in late October.

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 by clicking on the PDF links found at the bottom of this page. TIP: We recommend drafting the answers to the application questions in a separate document so that you have them ready when completing the online application.

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.

Get Started

Click here to enter the online application portal:

The first step will be to complete the eligibility quiz.

If eligible, you will move to a Letter of Interest (LOI) application, where you will be asked to provide some basic administrative information and a description of your collaboration.

  • Name and Contact Information of the Lead Applicant
  • Name and Contact Information of the Fiscal Sponsor (if applicable)
  • Names and Contact Information of Collaborative Partner
  • Principal Cultural or Artistic Disciplines Involved in the Collaboration (if known)
  • Sectors or Issue Areas to be Addressed by the Collaboration (as many as apply)
  • Neighborhood or Community Focus of the Collaboration (as many as apply)

Narrative Questions (up to 200 words per question)

  1. What vision for a just Oakland do you have in the sector(s) or issue area(s) you have chosen?
  2. If you are principally a community organizing or social change organization, why do you think it is important to collaborate with an artist(s) or cultural practitioner(s) to achieve this vision? If you are principally a cultural organization, why is it important to you to collaborate with a community organizing or social change organization(s) to achieve this vision?
  3. What community(ies) is centered in your collaboration and what is your history working together with it(them)?
  4. What are your principles for working collaboratively with organizational and individual partners toward a common goal? What is your history working with your identified (or similar) partners, if any?
  5. Give an example of social justice policy change work you have engaged with in this community(ies).
  6. An important part of this program is sharing learnings and results with the broader field. How would you like to share the learnings/results of your collaboration? Whom do you think would benefit most from them?


  • Organizational financials of the last completed fiscal year
  • Relevant example of social change work of your organization

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.

Please read the guidelines carefully to make sure your collaboration is a good fit for the program. If you have questions about eligibility, please contact

Application Assistance

Click here to view the recording of our informational webinar, which includes information on how to apply. A pdf of the webinar presentation can be found here.

Applicants are strongly encouraged to attend or view a webinar before applying to the program. Please also see the Frequently Asked Questions for further guidance.

Questions about applying to the Fund will be answered by phone or email up to the deadline, as possible.

We encourage you to begin your Letter of Intent (LOI) application at least a week before the submission deadline.

Download the 2023 Guidelines [PDF]
Download the 2023 Application Text [PDF]
Download 2023 Tips for Using the Online Application Portal
Download the 2023 Frequently Asked Questions [PDF]

For questions and assistance, contact