X Factor Grants support entrepreneurial and innovative ideas to advance the arts and creativity in Santa Clara County—ideas that are relevant and effectively presented to a panel of non-artists. It is similar to R&D, allowing organizations and artists to develop and test new programs and messages that resonate with potential donors and audiences while amplifying a mission.


The entire program—Pitch Camp, Pitch Play-Offs, and X Factor Grants—is an investment and professional development opportunity. Our goal is two-fold: to help organizations strengthen messaging (pitch training) and to help organizations experiment with new programs (X Factor Grants).


The top four pitches will be awarded $10,000 grants to support the delivery and execution of the idea or concept.


Eligible individuals and organizations must:
  • Have a home base (primary business office or performance/exhibition venue/facility) located in Santa Clara County.
  • Be available to attend both the Pitch Camp and Pitch Play-Offs events: Pitch Camp on October 4th is a half-day session that includes a training session, one-on-one pitch mentoring with a coach, and Pitch Semi-Finals; Pitch Play-Offs on October 11th is a final pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs.
  • Not have an incomplete project from the 2016 X Factor Grants (which includes all necessary reporting).

Note: This opportunity is open to nonprofit arts and cultural organizations, for-profit cultural organizations, individual artists, and a single department within a university or college. For organizations, there are no budget size limitations, but preference will be given to organizations with annual operating expenses under $2 million.

Eligible projects include:
  • Creative Experiences and Artistic Initiatives – Open to a range of ideas and creative experiences, pitches can include all forms of art or creativity, such as performing arts, visual arts, film, literary arts, and music. Pitches could be for new ideas, an evolution of something that is already being done, or part of core programming.
  • Audience Engagement – A hands-on activity to engage a new audience in a deep and meaningful way.
  • Educational Programs – Something that provides significant insight into an art form for adult or youth participants/audiences.
Eligible projects must:
  • Take place in Santa Clara County.

How to Apply

Submit a 75-word pitch (a summary of the proposed project) by 5pm on Tuesday, September 12, 2017 to Alexandra@svcreates.org with a subject line that must read “X Factor Arts 2017 Pitch.” Be sure to send the pitch from the e-mail address that is preferred for receiving a reply.

By 5pm on Wednesday, September 20, 2017, selected applicants will be invited to create a 5- to 7-minute presentation and will receive an e-mail with additional instructions about Pitch Camp. Each pitch will be refined with a coach during Pitch Camp on October 4, 2017 at the School of Arts & Culture at Mexican Heritage Plaza and will be presented to a panel during the Pitch Semi-Finals that day.

At the Pitch Play-Offs, nine finalists will present a final pitch to a panel of entrepreneurs on the afternoon of October 11, 2017, when four winning projects will be selected.

If you have questions about the program or the application, please contact: Audrey Struve, audreys@svcreates.org, (408) 998-2787 x204.

Learning Opportunities

Whether or not a person submits a project or is chosen as a finalist, everyone is encouraged to experience the Pitch Play-Off session on October 11, 2017 at 4:30pm in order to hear first-hand what effective pitches have in common.