Any tips for filling out the application?

  • Write/type clearly, answer all questions briefly and succinctly.

  • Check your math on all budget and demographic forms. Make sure the forms are filled out completely.

  • If you don't have exact figures, estimate budget and attendance figures conservatively.

  • Double check that you have included all items requested in the checklist to complete the application package.

  • Ask an independent party to review the application for completeness, legibility and content.

Is there a minimum budget size?

Yes, applicants must demonstrate financial health evidenced by maintaining a minimum 3 year budget average of at least $35,000.

Can I still apply if our organization performs outside the City?

Yes, but your organization must be San Francisco based (be located physically in the City) and produce a dependable series of programs within the City and County of San Francisco.

My organization is not a 501(c)(3). Can I still apply?

Although we prefer that applicants have 501(c)(3) status, an organization can apply if it uses a valid fiscal sponsor.

What is a valid fiscal sponsor?

An organization having official nonprofit 501(c)(3) status as recognized by the IRS, willing to act as a fiduciary agent on behalf of the applicant. For purposes of receiving money from GFTA, this agent must handle and account for all funds itemized in the budget presented in the application (not just grant funds). Ideally, a fiscal sponsoring organization should have an understanding of and experience with the art form, as well as nonprofit accounting and fiscal agent services.

Is there a limit on the grant amount I can request?

Applicants are not restricted in the amounts they request. However, in general, GFTA has a goal of providing general operating support based on a flexible and proportional percentage of the last completed annual budget, ranging from at least 15% of the budgets of small organizations, to smaller percentages of the largest groups. Most organizations request a reasonable increase from the previous year's award. NOTE: a grant award cannot exceed the requested amount, regardless of budget size.

If my fiscal year is different from the standard fiscal year
(July 1 to June 30) how do I report my figures?

Please note the dates of your fiscal year on the application, and provide available figures on the form.

If my fiscal year is not over, which figures do I report?

Please provide the most recent figures available on the application supplement, noting so on the application form through a footnote and/or written explanation. Staff may request final figures during the review process. NOTE: While the application requests current year and past year financial records, grant amounts are based on the most recently completed fiscal year figures. Thus, depending on your fiscal year term, grant amounts may be based on financial figures that are 18 months old.

What do I do if a piece of information you require in the application is not available?

Organizations not previously funded must submit a complete application by the deadline. Current grantees should provide written notification of any missing items with the submitted application. Applications with components received after December 4 and by December 11 will be assessed a 10% penalty if funded unless written notice is provided. No information will be accepted after December 11 without a prior written explanation.

Since applications are available online, can I send in my application electronically? Can I FAX my application?

No, you must submit your application by mail, messenger, or in person. Remember, applications must be received by 5:00 p.m. on the published deadline.

Does my organization need a financial audit or review?

If your organization has an operating budget of $2 million or more, you are required to submit a financial AUDIT of the most recently completed fiscal year conducted by an independent certified public accountant (CPA). By our definition, an independent CPA is not involved with the daily workings of your organization. Usually an outside accounting firm is hired annually, specifically to conduct this procedure. The audit must be in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards and give a reasonable assurance that the financial statements are free of material misstatements. An audit is an in-depth look at organizational financial practices, including examining evidence that supports the amounts and disclosures in the financial statements. It also includes assessing the accounting principles used as well as evaluating the overall financial statement presentation.

If your organization has a budget over $2 million and receives a grant of $50,000 or more from GFTA, you are required to submit a financial REVIEW. This is substantially less in scope than an audit in accordance with generally accepted accounting standards. A CPA will ask questions of your staff and review your organization's financial procedures. S/he will not provide an opinion as to the accuracy of your financial records, but instead confirm that the documents provided are a representation of the management of your organization, and that the appropriate financial controls are in place.

Please note that there is a third report that can be generated by a CPA called a compilation report. This type of report is limited to merely presenting, in the form of financial statements, information provided by management. These reports are not reviewed or audited, thus they do not meet GFTA's requirement for an audit or review.

Who can I call with questions about the California
Cultural Data Project?

Any questions on completing the California Cultural Data Project should not be addressed to GFTA staff. Rather, contact the California CDP Help Desk at 1-866-9-CAL-CDP (1-866-922-5237) or e-mail

If you have other questions regarding the application process, contact GFTA staff at 415.554.6710 or