Operating Grants (OpG) Program for Arts Organizations in California

Through the Office of Cultural Affairs, the City of San José offers several programs of financial support to ensure a continuing and rich variety of cultural opportunities for its residents as well as visitors to the city.

Donor Name: City of San Jose

State: California

City: San Jose

Deadline (mm/dd/yyyy): 02/02/2022

Size of the Grant:$750,000

Grant Duration: 3 years


The City of San Jose awards Operating Grants to a limited number of professionally-managed San Jose arts organizations with ongoing, year-round arts programming. The grants support general operating needs.

Operating Grants (OpG) provide essentially unrestricted financial support for selected San Jose arts organizations at various stages of development. OpG levels are designed to result generally in a decreasing proportion of City cultural funding as organizations’ budgets grow. In all cases, OpG support represents a small fraction of a grantee’s finances.

Operating Grants are intended to support the following general goals:

  • A sustainable community of stable, debt-free arts organizations that are responsibly governed, well managed and adequately housed; and provide a large and diverse number of opportunities for residents and visitors to enjoy exhibits, performances, and other arts activities, employing professionals to achieve high standards of artistic quality;
  • Enriched arts and cultural literacy among residents of all ages through arts education and outreach and opportunities for personal artistic expression and participation;
  • Broad-based, community-wide participation in the arts resulting from a diversity of programming with accessibility to all people, regardless of income, background and abilities.

Funding Information

One-Year and Two-Year Application Determination

Each year, certain organizations are eligible to file a two-year application. During the FY2022- 23 funding cycle, the two-year application covers both the FY2022-23 and FY2023-24 cycles. Organizations that meet all the following criteria are eligible to file a two-year application in the FY2022-23 cycle:

  • had annual operating expenditures averaging under $750,000 in the three most recently completed fiscal years (For non-arts organizations, substitute documented arts-specific expenditures in lieu of annual operating expenditures.);
  • received Operating Grants in the past two funding cycles; and
  • did not incur an operating deficit at the end of FY2020-21 and is not projecting an operating deficit at the end of FY2021-22; OR incurred an operating deficit at the end of FY2020-21 or projects an operating deficit at the end of FY2021-22 but can demonstrate that the deficit did not or will not exceed 15 percent of its unrestricted fund balance (unrestricted net assets).

Eligibility Criteria

Interested organizations must be able to meet all the following eligibility requirements at the time of application in order for their grant applications to be considered.

  • Mission and Program
    • The organization’s mission must be focused on the arts.
      • Exception: An organization whose mission explicitly includes the arts as a principal part of a multi-faceted mission can be eligible if it can document through an independent audit that at least one-third of the organization’s annual operating expenses are spent on the direct cost of providing arts programs and activities. Organizations are strongly encouraged to consult with program staff far advance of the application deadline to confirm their eligibility.
    • The organization must have conducted a majority of its arts programs in San Jose for at least the three years preceding the start of the funding period in the application.
    • The organization must provide its plans for offering a program of arts activities to the public in San Jose venues during the period for which it is seeking grant support.
    • The organization must operate and offer its arts programs in a non-discriminatory manner and in compliance with all applicable laws, including, without limitation, laws protecting persons with disabilities.
  • Corporate and Governance
    • The organization must be a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public benefit corporation in good standing at the time of application.
    • The organization must have a governing body of at least five persons, a majority of whom must not be employees, the immediate family or spouses/domestic partners of employees of the organization.
    • The organization must be based in San Jose as evidenced by its legal, administrative and program headquarters in San Jose.
  • Finance and Grant History
    • Operating revenues and expenditures of at least $50,000, not including in-kind support, in its three most recently completed fiscal years.
      • If the arts are not the entire focus of the organization’s mission, then the $50,000 annual requirement above applies to its expenditures on the direct cost of its arts programs (i.e., exclusive of administrative, general overhead and other costs not directly the result of arts programming.).
    • Operating revenues and expenditures of at least $50,000, not including in-kind support, projected for its current fiscal year and the proposed grant period. (Note: Majority of grantees in this program have budgets in excess of $200,000.)
    • At a minimum, the organization’s year-end Financial Reports must be compiled by a third-party accounting firm with no relation to the organization. Audits or Reviews are expected for larger budget organizations as outlined in the following section.
    • The organization must be in compliance with the requirements of any current and previous grants it has received through the Office of Cultural Affairs.
    • The organization must not be receiving long-term loans from the City.

For more information, visit Operating Grants.