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SOMA Cultural Anchor Fund: Program Guidelines
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SOMA Cultural Anchor Fund

Program Guidelines
Application Period Closed

Community Vision announces the availability of $540,000 in capital grants for arts and culture nonprofits that have been negatively impacted by the 5M development project and have a substantial track record of serving the South of Market (SOMA) neighborhood in San Francisco. Ideal projects will be one-time, real-estate-related investments that catalyze long-term sustainability for the organization and catalyze long-term anchoring for the SOMA community. There is no grant maximum, however Community Vision anticipates making 2-5 awards.

Table of Contents

Program Background

Eligibility Requirements

Eligible Use of Funds

Application Process

Phase One

Phase Two

Phase Three

Key Dates


In late 2020, the San Francisco Arts Commission awarded Community Vision with funding to make capital grants to arts and culture nonprofit organizations deeply-rooted in the SOMA neighborhood, giving priority to organizations negatively impacted by the 5M development at 5th, Mission, and Howard streets. Arts and culture nonprofits are organizations that support artists, creators, cultural practitioners, and the SOMA community as a whole. These organizations provide programs and services that enhance access to artistic and cultural expression, preservation, and community place-keeping. Their programming includes but is not limited to: visual arts, performing arts, cultural preservation, and indigenous practices. Funding from the program will be used to support real estate projects that increase organizations’ abilities to serve and stabilize historically marginalized communities in the neighborhood, preserve cultural heritage, anchor and expand community investment, and provide space for creative and artistic expression through various mediums.

The SOMA neighborhood has a rich history in San Francisco and it is home to diverse communities and cultures that enhance the city. However, over the years SOMA’s working-class, immigrant, and renting communities have been impacted by displacement as a result of rapid development, cost of living increases, and historical lack of access to ownership and wealth-building opportunities. These same challenges have also impacted nonprofits in the area working to provide critical services to the community. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has compounded long-standing threats to arts and culture nonprofits through mass closures and significantly restricted ability to provide services at their sites.

SOMA houses three cultural districts that preserve the identities of and advance the agendas of diverse community members who have shaped the neighborhood over time. The SOMA Pilipinas Cultural District serves a network of diverse organizations, residents, workers, and artists by connecting them to resources and providing a communal space for relationship building and cultural expression. SOMA’s Transgender Cultural District is the first legally-recognized transgender district in the world and aims to recognize the transgender tipping point in the US and beyond by educating the world on the deep profundity of transgender culture and its contributions to the liberation of humankind. The Leather & LGBTQ Cultural District strengthens the LLGBTQ communities of San Francisco, creates an atmosphere of safety and creativity, and augments health and human services, economic opportunities, and cultural resources.

Despite the extensive artistic and cultural contributions of the many communities that have made SOMA what it is today, the neighborhood does not currently have a large community-owned cultural space optimized for the entire spectrum of artistic and cultural practices representative of these diverse communities. To mitigate the impact of the 5M development at 5th, Mission, and Howard streets on arts and culture nonprofits that are deeply rooted in the SOMA community, and to contribute to the development of more arts and culture spaces in SOMA, this grant program has been established by the San Francisco Arts Commission with funding from the 5M site developer, Brookfield Properties.




Phase One

Eligible organizations are invited to submit a Letter of Interest (LOI) no more than two pages in length by Friday, July 23, 2021 at 12 pm PST. Community Vision, in partnership with Facilities, Arts, and Communities Experts (FACE), will review the LOIs and invite program-aligned projects to complete a full application in Phase Two of the application process. These invitations will be issued the week of August 30, 2021 and full applications will be due Friday, October 29, 2021 at 12 pm PST. The FACE group along with Community Vision will use the below review criteria to guide final decisions about which organizations are invited to complete a full application.

About the Facilities, Arts, and Communities Experts Panel

The Facilities, Arts and Communities Experts (FACE) group is the panel of local experts who are experienced arts, culture, and community development leaders that will assist Community Vision with making funding recommendations. Panelists bring unique industry perspectives, and are deeply-rooted members of their communities. Panelist bios will be posted soon.

Review Criteria

How to Submit a Letter of Interest

Submit your LOI here. Letters of interest must be received by Friday, July 23, 2021 at 12 pm PST to be considered. The online application system will close automatically after the deadline, and no late submissions will be accepted. See the LOI Guiding Prompts here.

Phase Two

Organizations invited to submit full applications will be asked to provide additional information. See our FAQs for more information about the required information.

The FACE group and Community Vision will use the above review criteria to guide final decisions about which organizations are awarded a grant from the SOMA Cultural Anchor Fund. Awards will be announced in January 2022.

Phase Three

Grants must be disbursed by June 30, 2024. Compliance with grant terms will be determined by Community Vision, at its discretion. Remedies for non-compliance will be determined by Community Vision with the understanding that recovery of the grant is a potential remedy. Community Vision will request a recorded video meeting with the organization’s leadership at the end of the grant period to debrief on successes, challenges and impact of the funds. See our FAQs for more information about pre-disbursement requirements for the program.


For more information visit If you have questions about the program or are experiencing a technical issue, please contact Community Vision’s grantmaking team at