Unfettering Artists' Productivity and Impact

images/Zoo Labs LogoZoo Labs empowers Black, Indigenous, and people of color to own and amplify their music businesses through entrepreneurial training, resource exchange, focused mentorship, and community building. In 2024, Zoo Labs: FUND will make available $225,000 in unrestricted grants to Bay Area BIPOC and BIPOC-led artist teams with a music business.

To address both the marked lack of capital for Black, Indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) artists, as well as the lack of practical and affordable business education that cultural innovators need in order to begin and scale their creative businesses, Zoo Labs evolved its West Oakland-based, in-person programming to reach a broader audience in the Bay Area and beyond. In 2021, Zoo Labs introduced Zoo Labs: FUND, a competitive grant opportunity that supports BIPOC music businesses through unrestricted cash awards. FUND recipients also receive access to a suite of mentorship resources offered by Zoo Labs: LEARN, including on-demand artist-tailored entrepreneurial courses, virtual group learning and networking sessions, and curated pairings with business mentors.

Zoo Labs: FUND returns in 2024 for a fourth grantmaking round that will be administered in partnership with Center for Cultural Innovation (CCI), a trusted nonprofit intermediary focused on the financial well-being of artists, arts workers, culture bearers, and creative entrepreneurs.

Zoo Labs: FUND welcomes additional support!
If you would like to help with a tax-deductible contribution, click here to donate online,
or contact Stephanie Barajas, Program Officer, at stephanie@cciarts.org.


To be considered for funding, applicants:

  • Must be BIPOC or BIPOC-led teams of two or more people, with at least one artist member1. Additionally, we encourage teams who are of historically marginalized communities, including LGBTQIA+ and gender variant people, people with disabilities, and immigrants to apply;
  • Must be launching or have an already established music business2;
  • Must reside full-time in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Solano, or Sonoma County. This criterion applies to ALL team members.
  • Can be any age, however, if a member of the team is 18 years old or younger, CCI staff must be contacted to discuss the team’s eligibility;
  • Can be a previous grantee3, however, first-time award recipients may be prioritized; and
  • Cannot have a conflict of interest (family or financial relationship) with the board, staff, or directors of Center for Cultural Innovation, Zoo Labs, or Intersection for the Arts.

1Teams may consist of artists, content creators, producers, developers, engineers, managers, advisors, and other supporting roles.

2Music as a product, program, service, or art form/cultural expression must be the key feature of the business. We are open to a range of music businesses such as groups/ensembles, recording studios, music festivals or events, vinyl record presses, record labels, music technology, music-based healing services, and music education nonprofits, to name a few examples.

3Previous grantees must submit an approved final report and fulfill their mentorship requirements in order to be eligible for funding consideration.


Application Opens

May 15 at 9:00 a.m. PT

Application Info Session

 images/Youtube_icon.jpg  Information Session Recording

Drop-in Q&A

June 5 from 12:00-1:00 p.m. PT.         

June 13 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT.       

June 26 from 5:00-6:00 p.m. PT.             

Register Here

Please note: These will not be formal presentations, nor will they be recorded. The Drop-in Q&A sessions are an opportunity to have your questions addressed by CCI staff in real time. So that everyone's time can be used efficiently, we ask that you review the grant guidelines, application preview, and Frequently Asked Questions in advance!

Application Deadline

July 10 at 11:59 a.m. (morning) PT

Panel Review

Week of August 26

Funding Notification

September 3 by 5:30 p.m. PT

Grantee Orientation 

October 2 at 6:00 p.m. PT

Period of Support  

September 2024 - September 2025



Application Preview (.pdf)   logos/Word Doc ImageApplication Preview (.docx)

Business Matrix (fillable .pdf)   Business Matrix (.docx)

Frequently Asked Questions

Submittable Quick Tips 

Applications will be accepted from May 15, 2024, at 9 a.m. PT through July 10, 2024, at 11:59 a.m. (morning) PT.



Visit Zoo Labs: LEARN for in-depth guidance on preparing your 2024 application components and watch this 3-minute video on Pitching to Zoo Labs for tips and techniques.


CCI staff are here to help and listen. Please email us at grants@cciarts.org (include Zoo Labs: FUND in the subject line) or call 415.288.0530 for assistance. You may also schedule a time to speak here. For Deaf applicants and those with hearing loss, contact CCI using the California Relay Service—our staff are trained in making and receiving these calls.

If you need technical assistance (e.g., password or upload issues), request support at: https://www.submittable.com/help/submitter/. Submittable’s business hours are 9 am – 5 pm MT. They aim to respond within 24 business hours.


To browse profiles of past grantees, use the search form here


Zoo Labs: FUND is supported by Vinitha and David Watson, and individual donors.