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Grants to California Nonprofits for Arts Programming that Benefits Children and Youth


Geographic Focus

USA: California

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Creative Youth Development Program

California Arts Council (CAC)

Agency: State

GrantWatch ID #202984

Grant Description

Grants of up to $40,000 to California nonprofit organizations for arts programs that benefit children and youth. Funding is intended for projects and activities that offer meaningful, culturally responsive arts-learning experiences that enable young people to reach their full potential. Beneficiaries of Creative Youth Development projects include youth from infancy to 24 years of age. All projects occur outside of traditional school hours, taking place in arts venues, community centers, school sites, and other youth-oriented settings.


  • Children ages 0-5 and school-age youth are a priority for this program, with successful projects demonstrating the ability to cultivate positive social and emotional development, as well as promote artistic expression and creativity.
  • Support for transitional individuals, ages 18 to 24, is an additional priority, with successful projects demonstrating the capacity to engage with transitional youth in relevant, dynamic, and innovative ways. 

Examples of applicable projects include but are not limited to: arts projects in early learning, daycare, or foster-care environments; projects that support the transmission of traditional arts and cultural practices; youth leadership and mentorship opportunities in arts settings; and arts programming that supports workforce development and entrepreneurship. 

Projects should address one or more of the following Creative Youth Development program goals:

  • Provide social-emotional creative experiences in safe and nurturing environments.
  • Foster creative abilities of youth through culturally and linguistically responsive arts learning.
  • Support arts programs that seek to activate youth voices, narratives, and perspectives.
  • Utilize cultural assets of the local community to support positive self-identification and respect for diverse cultures.
  • Empower youth through the preservation, revitalization, and/or reclamation of cultural practices.
  • Cultivate the development of transferable life skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, leadership, and collaboration.

For additional information about project requirements, see:

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  • Others (see text field entitled "Additional Eligibility Criteria" for clarification)

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Applicants must comply with the requirements below. All applications must include the listed items at the time of submission in order to be considered for funding.
- California-based - Documentation of having a principal place of business in California.
- Arts programming - Applicants must have a minimum two-year history of consistent engagement in arts programming and/or services prior to the application deadline.
- 501(c)(3) organization as applicant or fiscal sponsor - Non-governmental (municipal, county, or tribal) applicant organizations must demonstrate proof of nonprofit status under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, or section 23701d of the California Revenue and Taxation Code.
- Fiscal sponsors - An applicant organization without nonprofit status must use a California-based fiscal sponsor with a federal 501(c)(3) designation to apply for funding.
- Certificate of good standing - Nonprofit organizations and fiscal sponsors (if applicable) must have “active status” with the California Secretary of State (SOS) showing evidence of “good standing” at the time of application.


Funding Restrictions
- For organizations with total operating revenue above $250,000, the sum of requests for CAC grants during the same year of funding cannot exceed 50% of the total operating revenue from the most recently completed fiscal year.
- Applicants to this program are not restricted from applying for and receiving additional
CAC grants. If applying for other CAC project-based grants, proposals must use funds for
different projects and purposes. To meet this criterion, applicants must demonstrate that
projects: Serve primarily different groups of people; Take place in different spaces, times, and/or contexts; Achieve fundamentally distinct programmatic outcomes
- New applicant organizations and organizations that were declined to receive funding in the previous Creative Youth Development program cycle for 2022 are eligible to apply.
- Organizations that have been funded during the previous program cycle are not eligible to apply again for this round of funding

Pre-proposal Conference:

Office Hours
Virtual office sessions are available to provide technical assistance the Creative Youth Development grant program. Arts Program Specialists Natalie Peeples and Amy Garrett will discuss your organization-specific grant application questions, with participants admitted via a Zoom waiting room. Hours are offered as follows:

Wednesday, December 21, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
- To join the meeting:

Tuesday, January 10, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
- To join the meeting:

Wednesday, January 18, 2 p.m.-3 p.m.
- To join the meeting:

Pre-Application Information:

- Application Opens: December 15, 2022
- Application Deadline: January 26, 2023
- Panel Review: Approx. January-February, 2023
- Funding Decision: Approx. March 2023
- Funding Notification: Approx. March 2023
- Grant Activity Period: April 1, 2023 – March 31, 2025
- Interim Report Deadline: April 30, 2024
- Final Report Deadline: April 30, 2025
- Estimated Arrival of Funds: Approx. July 1, 2023-September 1, 2024

This grant does not require matching funds.

CAC staff is available to offer guidance and clarification in preparing your proposal. It is recommended that you contact staff well in advance of the deadline to ensure you can be accommodated.

Grant Resources:


Additional Funding Information:

Number of Grants:

Estimated Total Number of Grant Awards: 41

Estimated Size of Grant:

Up to $40,000.

For organizations with total operating revenue above $250,000, the sum of requests for CAC grants during the same year of funding cannot exceed 50% of the total operating revenue from the most recently completed fiscal year.

Term of Contract:

Grant Activity Period: January 1, 2023 – December 31, 2024 (2 years)

Contact Information:

Apply online:

Staff contact
Natalie Peeples
Arts Program Specialist

California Arts Council
2750 Gateway Oaks Drive, Suite 300
Sacramento, CA 95833
(916) 322-6555
Toll-Free (800) 201-6201

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