Building off the content and inspiration of Big Money for Small Arts Groups conference, we are partnering with the Applied Materials Foundation and the City of San Jose Office of Cultural Affairs to encourage new ideas and strategies for donor development, to help fund the execution of those ideas, and to provide training to share and nurture those strategies.


This grants program is offered specifically for nonprofit arts organizations who attended the conference. The grants package will offer coaching and funding to experiment with projects aimed at engaging donors in new ways and to help build organizational capacity for cultivating and stewarding donor relations and for making the ask.

Examples of fundable donor development projects include: implementing or expanding a major gift campaign, hosting a donor stewardship event, or developing collateral materials (digital or print). Some examples of project activities include: creating a brochure or newsletter, launching a special social media push, developing a prospect list for donor outreach, or supporting staff and board members to make direct solicitations. All funded projects must serve Santa Clara County arts organizations.


Grantees will receive one hour of complimentary coaching with conference leader Andy Robinson to help plan their project, along with their grant of up to $4,000 to implement the project. We plan to award six to ten grants to nonprofit arts organizations in Santa Clara County through a competitive application process. Grants will be awarded in the range of $2,000 to $4,000. Due to the competitive nature of the grants program, partial funding may be awarded.


Eligible nonprofit arts organizations must:
  • Have a home base (primary business office or performance/exhibition venue/facility) located in Santa Clara County and have the majority of the arts programming (performances, presentations, exhibitions) take place in Santa Clara County.
  • Have a primary purpose of performing, producing, or presenting arts and cultural activities that are open and accessible to all.
  • Be classified as a 501(c)3 organization by the Internal Revenue Service or be a nonprofit arts organization with an annual operating budget under $100,000 using a fiscal sponsor.

Note: There are no budget size limitations, but preference will be given to organizations with annual operating expenses under $2 million.

Expenses that are eligible include:
  • Program or activity costs for a specific donor development project, including printing, designer fees, and event costs.
  • Costs to train board and staff members in making asks.
  • Fees to use donor prospecting tools.
  • Fees to engage an outside consultant in order to build donor development capacity, including the development of collateral materials, the development of a social media strategy, and event planning support.
Expenses that are NOT eligible include:
  • Costs for projects which have received funding directly from the Applied Materials Foundation.
  • Costs for projects which have received funding from another SVCREATES project grant program. (Please note: organizations who receive Local Arts Grants funding for general operating support may apply for this project grant.)
  • General operating expenses or funding to support ongoing staffing (but funding for additional hours for existing staff to implement the proposed project may be included).
  • Costs for projects which have already been completed.
  • Costs for projects which support political or religious purposes, fraternal organizations, or institutions of primary and secondary learning.
  • Capital improvements, endowment campaigns, or debt retirement.
  • Real property. (Note: Purchase of donor development software may be eligible.)

How to Apply

Please read all guidelines and instructions before beginning the application. Submit the completed application (including required attachments) via the Google Form by the deadline of 5pm on Monday, December 18, 2017.

If you have questions about the program or the application, please contact us at: Alexandra Urbanowski,, (408) 998-2787.