2022 Guidelines and Application Instructions


SVCREATES operating grants, offered in partnership with the County of Santa Clara, provide general operating support for small nonprofit arts and culture organizations that:

  • Reflect the dynamic, diverse, and innovative character of Santa Clara County
  • Demonstrate commitment to equity, inclusion, and artistic vibrancy and relevance
  • Positively impact the County’s cultural ecosystem through active and sustained engagement with audiences, volunteers and artists
  • Pursue organizational sustainability in service to the local community

Note: please see SVCREATESGrant Program Glossary for words in italics.

Key New Features of the Program in 2022

  • Establishes a two-year grant cycle 
  • New budget requirements for eligibility established (see eligibility criteria below)
  • Requires a site visit once per grant cycle for each grantee
  • Specifies evaluation criteria of: 
    • Artistic Vibrancy and Relevance;
    • Organizational Resilience and Ingenuity; 
    • and Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.


  1. Purpose: The organization’s primary purpose must be the performance, production, or presentation of arts and cultural activities that are open and accessible to all.
  2. Geography: The organization’s home base (primary business office or primary performance/exhibition venue/facility) must be located in Santa Clara County and the majority of programming (performances, presentations, exhibitions) must take place in Santa Clara County.
  3. History: The organization must have been performing, producing or presenting in Santa Clara County a minimum of 3-years prior to the term of the grant. (July 2019 for the current cycle)
    Note: We understand that programming over the past two years, due to the COVID-19 pandemic,  might have been at reduced levels or in an alternative format
  4. Size: The organization’s annual budget (expenses as averaged for prior three fiscal years) must be greater than $10,000 and not exceed $1.2 million.
  5. Tax Status: The organization must be a California non-profit corporation with a 501c3 tax-exempt certification.
    1. Applicants with annual budgets under $750,000 may use a fiscal sponsor with 501c3 tax-exempt status.
    2. Applicants with budgets over $750,000 must be 501c3 nonprofits.
  6. The organization must have satisfied all of the reporting requirements of any previously awarded grants from SVCREATES.
  7. The organization prioritizes accessibility for a range of physical abilities when selecting spaces/venues for public programming.


  • For-profit organizations are not eligible.
  • Institutions of primary and secondary education are not eligible.
  • Local governments are not eligible.
  • Universities and colleges are limited to providing fiscal sponsorship for one arts program only. Grants may not support operating costs for the university or college, but must be applied to program and overhead costs of the applying entity.
  • Grants may not be applied toward support for political or religious purposes, fundraisers for other organizations or causes, capital improvements, lobbying, or projects already completed.

How to Apply

Applications will be completed and submitted through SVCREATES' online grantmaking platform. Updated application guidelines and links to the application will be posted by March 3, 2023.

Application Requirements

Narrative and data collection questions include:

  • Mission, programming and audience details
  • Staff and Board demographics
  • Artistic/Program Work samples
  • Financial and budget data, including a financial statement for your most recently completed fiscal year

Funding Categories for 2022

Grant awards typically range from $2,000-$12,000, based on the following factors:

  • Panel ranking and funding recommendation.
  • Organization’s annual operating budget.
  • The amount of funds allocated for organizational support by the County of Santa Clara.

Review Process

Applicants are grouped by budget size, since organizations with similar sized operating budgets share more organizational characteristics.

  1. Review of applications by staff
  2. Panel review 
  3. Funding recommendations
  4. Notification of grant awards

Evaluation Criteria

  1. Artistic Vibrancy and Relevancy (50 Points)
    This criterion reflects an organization’s ability to meaningfully engage and inspire its community through arts and culture in order to achieve its mission.

    An organization demonstrates this by:
    • Showing a commitment to craft in their artistic artform. (work sample)
    • Having a clear relationship between programming and mission.
    • Being able to define the geographic area and communities they serve.
    • Demonstrating that the organization understands, works with, and is responsive to its community through its programming.
    • Being accessible and inviting to its community and open to the public.

  2. Organizational Resilience and Ingenuity (40 Points)
    This criterion reflects the ability of an organization’s board and staff to manage resources, plan, evaluate, and - when necessary - creatively pivot their organization and their programming now and for years to come.

    An organization displaying strong Organizational Resilience and Ingenuity will:

    • Have a diverse board and staff that is demographically reflective of the community being served by the organization.
    • Clearly articulate how their organization functions and the context of their financial information.
    • Demonstrate understanding of their organization’s challenges and engage in short and long-term planning using processes commensurate with the size and capacity of the organization.
    • Have evidence of community support, through volunteer participation, in-kind support, individual donors, etc.

  3. Commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (10 points)
    • Exhibit practices that are inclusive and welcoming of all people in their defined community, including those who have been historically and/or continuously marginalized and underrepresented, e.g., immigrant groups, BIPOC/ALAANA communities, rural populations, aging populations, people living in poverty, people who are homeless, people with disabilities, and communities recovering from trauma or disaster.
    • Show that staff at a variety of levels, as well as board, artists, and key collaborators, include those in the community who have been historically and/or continuously marginalized and underrepresented, in both their public-facing programming and administrative work.


  • Current Grant Period: July 1, 2022 – June 30, 2023
  • 2023 Operating Grant Application opens: March 3, 2023

The 2022 Application Cycle is now closed.

Applications for 2023 Operating Grants will open on March 3, 2023. Updated Guidelines and Application will be available then.

Operating Grants are now awarded on a two-year cycle. 2023 Operating Grants will be open to organizations with annual budgets of $10,000-$250,000.

Key Dates for 2023 Application Cycle:
Application Opens: March 3, 2023
Application Deadline: April 14, 2023 at 5:00pm
Grant Period: July 1, 2023 – June 30, 2024

Grant Program Glossary

2022 Grantees
Click here
to view 2022 SVCREATES' Unrestricted Operating Grantees

If you have questions about this program or application, please contact SVCREATES Program Manager, Alyssa Erickson.

Alyssa Erickson
408-998-2787 ext. 204