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Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative: Acquisition Grants Program Guidelines Winter 2021-22
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San Francisco Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative

Acquisition Grants

Program Guidelines

Application Period Closed

Table of Contents

About the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative

Racial Equity Statement

Key Dates

Eligibility Requirements 

Priority Criteria

Review Process

Application Information     ||     (Checklist of Required Information)

Pre-Closing Requirements

Annual Requirements

Grant Fund Policies

Apply Now!

Frequently Asked Questions

Community Vision announces the availability of capital grants to help nonprofits finance commercial real estate acquisition projects that create newly nonprofit-owned spaces. Acquisition Grants can fund up to 25% of the property’s purchase price ($1 million maximum)[1]. In the current funding round, up to $2 million will be available for distribution.

Applications must be received by 12 pm PST on Friday, January 28, 2022 to be considered for an award. The online application system will shut down at 12 pm PST on Friday, January 28, 2022. Hard copy, postal mail, emailed, and faxed applications will not be accepted. In fairness to others, we cannot accept late or incomplete applications. An application may be deemed incomplete and ineligible if the individual does not provide the complete set of information in the appropriate format by the deadline. Applicants must select the “submit” button to finalize their application and will receive an automatic email confirmation once it has been submitted.

Community Vision encourages applicants to submit their applications before the deadline

(12 pm PST on Friday, January 28, 2022) so that any technical problems that arise can be resolved before the deadline. No deadline extensions will be granted. There is a Checklist of Required Information available to assist in preparing applications in advance.

All applicants are required to complete a consultation call prior to submitting the application. The consultation calls are available between Wednesday, January 5, 2022 – Friday, January  21, 2022. Consultation calls must be scheduled by Wednesday, January 19, 2022. Site control is not required to schedule a consultation call. It is the responsibility of the applicant to schedule the consultation call by the January 19th deadline. Requests made after January 19th may not be accommodated. Register for a consultation call here. If no time slots are available, email

About the San Francisco Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative

The San Francisco Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative (NSI) is a multi-agency partnership funded through the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD), and administered in partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development, San Francisco Arts Commission, Community Vision and other key partners.

The NSI complements San Francisco’s funding of nonprofit services and resources for low-income residents and aims to maintain and expand these vital services by deploying financial assistance, professional services, assessment tools and other resources to address key challenges facing the sector, including the high costs of real estate.

Since the first grants were awarded in May 2017, organizations supporting youth, seniors, immigrants, domestic violence survivors, artists and people with disabilities have received funding for lease stabilization, space acquisition and strategic restructuring. In total, Community Vision has awarded $15.4 million in NSI: Acquisition and Lease Stabilization grants to support the acquisition of 178,047 square feet of new, permanent nonprofit-owned space, and to support over 273,272 square feet of high-quality leased facilities.

Racial Equity Statement

Community Vision is dedicated to anti-racist practices and to building an anti-racist organization. We recognize that a history of discriminatory financial practices and intentional disinvestment have contributed to a lack of economic progress in low-income communities and communities of color. We provide capital and technical assistance for low-income communities and communities of color to ensure fairness in opportunities, resources, and rights for everyone.

The Office of Economic and Workforce Development is committed to advancing racial and economic justice by instituting programs and services that focus on equity-driven growth to make San Francisco a better place to live, work, and do business. This requires proactively implementing strategies that reverse the impacts of racially discriminatory policies that have led to generations of disinvestment and economic inequities that have significantly disrupted the economic growth and prosperity of communities of color. We recognize that these funds are only a small part of the solution and we are committed to aligning our work beyond this investment.

Key Dates

Eligibility Requirements


To be eligible for an Acquisition Grant, the applicant must meet all of the following criteria:


In order to be eligible for an Acquisition Grant, in addition to the above applicant eligibility requirement, projects must meet all of the following criteria:

Visit the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) for more details on how eligibility is defined.  If you still don’t find the answer to your question, email

Priority Criteria

Priority will be given to nonprofit organizations that:

Visit the FAQs for more details on how these criteria are defined.  If you still don’t find the answer to your question, email

Review Process

After the application period closes, Community Vision will screen applicants to ensure the satisfaction of all basic eligibility requirements. All eligible applicants will be presented to a racially and ethnically diverse panel selected for their knowledge of nonprofit finance and governance as well as their experience working with community-focused nonprofits and on capital projects. The review panel is made up of representatives from the city agency partners, as well as nonprofit leaders and community members with related expertise. Community Vision in partnership with OEWD selects the panelists. If you have a panelist recommendation, please email

In addition to the priority criteria, the review panel considers:

Visit the FAQs for more details on how these criteria are defined.  If you still don’t find the answer to your question, email

Application Information

In the online application form, applicants will be asked to certify that a 30-minute consultation call was completed. Consultation calls will take place Wednesday, January 5, 2022 – Friday, January  21, 2022 and must be scheduled by Wednesday, January 19, 2022. Click here to schedule a consultation call. If no time slots are available, email

Please visit the Checklist of Required Information for a detailed list of all narrative questions and file uploads that will be required in the online application.

For more questions about the application or the application process, visit the FAQs.  If you still don’t find the answer to your question, email

Pre-Closing Requirements

Grant funds will be disbursed on or after the close of escrow, no later than February 28, 2023. If an organization is purchasing a parcel in a larger development and another entity is managing the build-out, the grant will be disbursed at or after the start of the construction of the applicant’s space. Before wiring grant funds to escrow, grantees will need to:

Visit the FAQs for more details on how the closing and disbursement process works.  If you still don’t find the answer to your question, email

Annual Requirements

Grant Fund Policies

Visit the FAQs for more details on grant fund policies.  If you still don’t find the answer to your question, email

Apply Now!

Applications are available at

Applications must be received by 12 pm PST on Friday, January 28, 2022 to be considered. The online application system will shut down at 12 pm PST on Friday, January 28, 2022. Applications received after 12 pm PST on Friday, January 28, 2022 or deemed to be incomplete will not be accepted.

For more information, please contact:

Community Vision’s grantmaking team


Phone: 415.392.8215 x390

[1]  “Effective ownership” in the form of a 55-year lease or longer is eligible. If you have a 55-year lease, please email Community Vision’s grantmaking team at to set up a call to discuss your project. This will help us determine how a potential grant award would be sized. Possible grant sizing options include, but are not limited to: occupancy costs over the term of the lease, the acquisition cost of improvements and ground-up developments, or the leasehold value as determined by an appraisal. For more information about effective ownership acquisitions visit our FAQ page here.

[2] Organizations with a significant presence in San Francisco but headquartered elsewhere are eligible if they have proof of a corporate address in San Francisco.

[3] Within the context of the Nonprofit Sustainability Initiative, indirect service refers to the provision of skills, knowledge, advocacy, and services with the intention of supporting a community or an organization(s) ability to fulfill its mission.

[4] As demonstrated by two years of complete financial statements. Audits, 990s or internals are all eligible forms of financial statements. Internal statements should include profit & loss, balance sheet, and statement of cash flows.

[5] For example, properties under Community Benefits Agreements or controlled by a nonprofit Real Estate Holding Entity. For effective acquisitions, the applicant must be purchasing newly-constructed space for the organization’s services, and the landowner can be a for-profit, nonprofit, municipal entity, or any other legal structure.

[6] Projects that would result in the loss of any units of housing are ineligible for funding. If residential units are eliminated or planned to be eliminated, the entire property is ineligible. Further, projects cannot evict any locally-owned, small businesses or another nonprofit. If the applicant intends to retain the housing unit/s and/or for-profit commercial tenant/s, the project may still be eligible however any award will be sized to a pro-rata percentage based on the square feet of commercial space the nonprofit applicant will occupy.

[7]  Organizations must demonstrate a high degree of project readiness, including identified funding sources (that do not have to be fully committed), a preliminary budget, identified project team (as applicable), and a proposed operating budget that demonstrates the organization’s ability to support the new ongoing operating costs. Project timelines must demonstrate that all grant funds will be disbursed by February 28, 2023. Organizations must demonstrate financial accountability by submitting the organization’s audit or IRS form 990 for the most recent two fiscal years (all grantees will be required to provide annual audits as an ongoing grant requirement), current year budget, and year-to-date income statement and balance sheet. If acquisition financing includes New Markets Tax Credits (NMTCs), priority will be given to organizations that provide Letters of Interest or Reservation Letters from Community Development Entities (CDEs) for the amount of allocation required to complete the project.

[8] Demonstrate how the proposed project will contribute to improved financial and programmatic performance. The organization should address the urgency/need for the proposed relocation, renovation, renewal, or expansion.