Unfettering Artists' Productivity and Impact


Change capital for shaping the future of California’s arts nonprofit field by arts organizations and its visionaries

As part of the Center for Cultural Innovation’s (CCI) efforts to support new arts leadership with support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grants is a new, one-time grant program that will invest $105,000 in bold ideas by individuals at California nonprofit or fiscally sponsored arts organizations that have the potential to re-shape the future of the arts sector in exciting and important ways. CCI recently published Creativity Connects: Trends and Conditions Affecting U.S. Artists, a national research report to examine the state of the arts and its shifts. The report described how the nonprofit arts sector is changing in dramatic ways. Shifts in demographics have created new priorities for democratizing production of and access to culture. In addition, emerging generations of artists and arts leaders eschew being defined solely by sector or discipline in favor of more complex identities, including prioritizing artistic practices that have social impacts. On January 23, 2017, CCI convened over 200 artists and arts professionals to brainstorm the future of the arts. What we heard affirmed our Creativity Connects research findings: Participants want to work toward advancing equality, inclusion, equity, and financial sustainability in common cause with others.

At this time, there are no grants of this type—field-wide change capital for promising leaders to improve the nonprofit arts sector through existing arts organizations. Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grants will therefore surface and support catalytic individual and institutional leadership at this time of tremendous social, economic, generational, demographic, and technological change.

Current Program Information:

Who is eligible to apply:

Grant applications must meet the following criteria to be eligible for funding:

  • Applicants must be a 501(c)3 or fiscally sponsored arts organization based and operating in California.
  • There is no limit to the number of applications each organization can submit; however, grants are limited to one per organization.
  • Project lead(s) must be culturally diverse (i.e., diversity in many forms, including but not limited to socio-economic background, education level, ethnicity, gender, or geographically underserved communities) and/or early- to mid-level arts professional (i.e., promising, rather than already demonstrated, leadership). Project lead(s) must be formally affiliated with the applicant organization (i.e., full- or part-time employment, board member, actively contracted consultant, but not volunteers).
  • Applications must be authored by project lead(s) so as to reflect their ambitions for shaping the future in ways that are important to them. Applications will require the signature of the project lead(s) and two different signatures of the heads of the organization (both the Director and a board member).
  • Projects must meet one (or more) of the priority issue areas of Investing in Tomorrow. (There is no limit to the number of priority areas projects may address, but it is advisable to identify the most relevant as applications will be judged on the merits of responding to every selected issue area.)
  • Applications must convey concrete ways that the project can influence change in the nonprofit arts sector. (Caveat: Real change can happen without a lot of money but, at the same time, we recognize that project ambitions should also reflect what is actually possible at this grant amount and amount of time.)
  • Projects must be able to be fully implemented within a one-year grant term. (Grantees will be expected to report on early signs and stages of field change, even though the long-term effects may not be realized until much later.)

: Current grantee organizations participating in William and Flora Hewlett Foundation’s Arts Leadership Forward program are not eligible so as to distribute funding beyond this cohort more broadly.

Applicants who meet the eligibility requirements may request up to $7,500. This is a one-time grant opportunity that aims to support 14 projects for a total investment of $105,000.

Deadline: Wednesday, July 12, 2017 by 12:00 p.m. PST (Noon)

pdf_icon.jpg Guidelines

The Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grants online application can be accessed at: https://ccigrants.cgweb.org/.  Applications will be accepted online ONLY through CCI’s GO™ system.


Investing in Tomorrow Organizational Grants are made possible in part by funding from: