The COVID-19 Arts Relief Grant Program has been established as a partnership between Community Foundation Sonoma County and Creative Sonoma, to provide relief to Sonoma County creative organizations that have sustained economic losses as a result of COVID-19 and the related business and community restrictions. The purpose of these grants is to help sustain Sonoma County’s creative organizations through this challenge in order to continue serving as a source of community cohesion and inspiration as we navigate our new, shared future.

COVID-19 Arts Relief Grants will go to Sonoma County-based nonprofit arts organizations for general operating support. Grant funds are intended to support immediate needs and are to be expended by December 31, 2020.


These grants open to Sonoma County-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organizations (51% or more of organizational mission and programming is dedicated to the arts) that meet the following requirements:

  • Applicants must have received funding for arts or arts education activities in the last five years from Creative Sonoma and/or the Community Foundation Sonoma County.
  • Applicants must have a minimum operating budget of $25,000 for their last completed fiscal year, and/or support at least one employee.
  • Applicants must have a minimum three-year history of consistent arts programming and/or services prior to the application deadline.

 Not eligible:

  • Nonprofit organizations with a stated mission or purpose that is not arts-focused
  • Arts organizations that are headquartered outside of Sonoma County (even if they present or manage programs in Sonoma County)
  • All-volunteer organizations
  • Groups applying with a fiscal sponsor

 Grant funding may NOT be used for:

  • Capital improvements, new construction, renovation, restoration or purchase of major equipment
  • Debt and deficit reduction that was incurred before the COVID-19 impacts
  • Re-granting of funds
  • Fundraising events


Online Application Opens:  May 11, 2020


Awards Announced:  Early June 2020

Funding Period:  June 2020 – December 2020

Grant Amounts

The grant amount awarded will be no more than $10,000 and will be determined based on your level of need.

Evaluation Criteria and Prioritization

The grants will be reviewed for eligibility by Community Foundation Sonoma County and Creative Sonoma staff. Priority will be given to small and mid-size organizations, those with limited assets, and those serving underserved populations. Additionally, application scoring will be weighted based on organizational need and sustainability. Staff recommendations are not final until approved by Community Foundation Sonoma County and the Creative Sonoma Advisory Board. Applicants will be notified via email of the result of the funding recommendations.

All eligible organizations are invited to apply at this time, but the applications will be funded in phases based on the following priorities:

Phase 1:  


  • The first round of funding is provided by the Community Foundation Sonoma County and Creative Sonoma from funds designated for arts education: those organizations that produce and present youth arts education programs and/or provide youth-targeted arts programming will be prioritized. Funds for this grants program are targeted to capacity building and will not be used on arts education programming. Awarded grant funds are not required to be spent on arts education activities.

NOTE:  These relief funds are in addition to grants for arts education programming that Community Foundation Sonoma County intends to award in fall 2020.

Phase 2:

  • The second round of funding will be open to all arts organizations, including those that were not prior grantees or were otherwise ineligible for the first round. Availability of grants will depend on receipt of additional funding by Creative Sonoma. Applying now, even if you are not prioritized in Phase 1, will help us demonstrate the need to potential funders.

How to Apply

We have designed the application to be as streamlined as possible while still gathering the information necessary to assess need and make awards. We estimate that this application will take less than 2 hours to complete.

In addition to reviewing these Guidelines, make sure to thoroughly review the application questions to be certain your organization is eligible and that your need for funding is a strong fit with this grants program. Once you’ve determined your organization fits the eligibility criteria and that your organizational needs are competitive, please proceed to the online application.

To apply:

  • Navigate to the Community Foundation Sonoma County website and click GRANTEE LOGIN, located at the top right of the page.
  • This will take you to our online application portal. If this is your organization’s first-time logging into our new portal, you will need to create a new account. Please refer to our Grants FAQ for more assistance navigating the grantee portal.
  • Once you’ve created an account, you can select Apply, which is on the top left of the screen.
  • You will see a prompt for an access code at the top right of the page, please enter this code: CARGO2020
  • At this point, you should see the “2020 CARGO Grant Request Form” which has a blue APPLY button in the box to begin the application. Simply click that button and you’re ready to go!

Grant Award Notice, Payments, Post-Grant Survey

In Phase 1, grantees will receive an electronic grant award notification packet which will include a grant agreement (contract) which must be completed, signed and returned within 2 weeks in order to receive payment of the grant award. A Post-Grant survey will be sent to all grantees 90 days after the grant is awarded to assess how grantees are faring. Completion of the survey is required per the conditions of the grant contract.

Statement of Non-Discrimination

Community Foundation Sonoma County and Creative Sonoma are committed to providing services and making resources available to every resident of Sonoma county without regard to ethnicity, color, creed, religion, age, gender, gender identity and expression, sexual orientation, military status, marital status, political opinion, national origin, familial status, mental and physical disability, or source of income.

The elements of this grant program were inspired, in part, by the Colorado Creative Industries COVID-19 Relief Fund.