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The Berkeley Arts Recovery Grants (BARG) for Organizations & Festivals are funded through a one-time allocation by Berkeley City Council of American Rescue Plan Act dollars to support the recovery of Berkeley’s arts sector. This fund will provide one-time grants available to Berkeley-based nonprofit and fiscally sponsored arts organizations and festivals to help them sustainably recover from the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. Funding may be used to mitigate an arts organization’s economic loss, implement COVID-19 prevention tactics, and procure consulting and marketing services to bolster the organization financially for future sustainability. 

Grant awards will be made in alignment with the intent of the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) “to shore up traditionally marginalized communities, tribal communities and communities of color” and with the equity values of the City of Berkeley and the City of Berkeley’s Civic Arts and Culture Plan (2017). As such, the Berkeley Arts Recovery Grants (BARG) for Organizations & Festivals will be awarded in a manner that prioritizes mitigating the disproportionate impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. Grant funds must be spent by December 31, 2024.

Note: There will be a future Berkeley Arts Recovery Grant program for Individual Artists. Sign up for the Civic Arts newsletter to receive updates.

Applications open on Tuesday, November 9, 2021. The deadline to apply is Thursday, December 9, 2021, by 5 PM. (Grant applications will be evaluated after the application deadline.)

An application webinar will be held on Wednesday, November 17, 6 – 7:30 PM. The webinar will be recorded and posted on the Civic Arts Program webpage.

REGISTER IN ADVANCE for the Application Workshop: Berkeley Arts Recovery Grants (BARG) for Organizations & Festivals


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Individual grant awards will range from $3,000 to $33,000 and will be based upon the scoring criteria that centers cultural equity. In order to ensure organizational capacity to utilize the funds, grant award amounts will be capped at no more than two times an organization’s annual budget. Grant award amounts determined through this process will be paid out to grantees as a one-time payment and recipients will have until December 31, 2024 to use the funds. The City intends to notify applicants of the awards by January 31, 2022.


  • Organization must be housed in the City of Berkeley with its main address in the City of Berkeley or operate within a City of Berkeley-owned facility. Organization address will be verified by City staff. (Fiscal Sponsor does not need to be located within the City of Berkeley.)
  • Organization must have been in continuous operation in Berkeley between January 2019 and March 2020.
  • Organization must have had a majority (51% or more) of its arts activities in Berkeley between January 2019 and March 2020.
  • Recurring Festivals are eligible if the festival event occurred at least twice in Berkeley prior to January 2020 (which is the widely accepted date when the pandemic began impacting cultural events and arts venues).
  • Applicant is in good standing on previous City of Berkeley Civic Arts Grants and any other City department grants or agreements. This means that any previously awarded Civic Arts Grants (excluding FY22) must be completed and final report submitted before grantees are eligible to apply for this program.
  • Applicant must have experienced an economic loss, such as loss of earnings or revenue, that was caused or made worse by the COVID-19 public health emergency. Applicants will demonstrate a reduction in revenue by comparing actual revenue of the year prior to the COVID-19 pandemic (2019) to the actual revenue in the year when the state of emergency was declared (2020). Applicants will provide financial reports for the same time period (year-over-year for 2019 and 2020).

Revenue includes:

  • Earned Revenue: Ticket Sales/Box Office; Merchandise Sales; Art Sales; Concessions; Venue Rental; Classes (including Adult Arts Education, Afterschool, Programs in Schools, and Drop-in classes); Fees (i.e. Studio Use Fees & Program Fees); Professional Services; Advertising Sales; Contracts for Services.
  • Donations: Major Gifts, Individual Donations, Bequests, Corporate Contributions of Funds
  • Grants: Grants from Federal, State, and Local Governments and Foundation Grants
  • Other Income: Interest from investments, membership, and other income
  • Please note: Revenue does not include “in-kind” donations.

The application form will include a space for applicants to describe circumstances where the economic loss is not demonstrated by the financial reports for the required time periods.

Organization must be one of the following:

  • A nonprofit tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization with a mission statement clearly focused on the development, production, and/or presentation of arts and culture.
  • An ongoing arts program of a non‐arts or service‐based nonprofit organization. The ongoing arts program must be focused on the development, production, and/or presentation of arts and culture.
  • Fiscally sponsored arts organization with mission statement clearly focused on the development, production, and/or presentation of arts and culture. (Applicants WITHOUT tax‐exempt 501(c)(3) status must have a tax‐exempt 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsor.)
  • Festivals must be designated as a nonprofit corporation under Section 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code or apply with a fiscal sponsor who is designated as nonprofit corporation under Section 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code.


  1. Public and private K-12 schools and school districts are not eligible for this funding. 
  2. Applicants may not submit more than one application to the Berkeley Arts Recovery Grant program. This program will not accept nor consider separate applications from an Arts Organizations requesting recovery funds for the organization itself and its recurring festival. There may only be one BARG grant awarded per entity. If your Arts Organization would like to request funds for the organization itself and its festival, please submit just one application, and if awarded funds, you may utilize those funds for any eligible expense whether associated with the organization or its festival.

Definition of Fiscal Sponsor: Fiscal sponsor is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit organization that has been assigned the responsibility to process the funds of another organization. Festival applicants may have a fiscal sponsor that is designated as a nonprofit corporation under Section 501(c)(3), 501(c)(4), or 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code.

The fiscal sponsor’s responsibility can take the form of processing a single check or providing complex accounting services and project oversight and is unique to each circumstance. Applicants applying for funding through a Fiscal Sponsor should take particular note of the following requirements that the Fiscal Sponsor must meet:

  • Fiscal Sponsor shall be responsible for all fiscal obligations of the grantee’s awarded funds.
  • Fiscal sponsors may be located anywhere within the United States.
  • A written contract or Letter of Agreement dated within the last 3 years between the applicant and the Fiscal Sponsor specifying the conditions of the Fiscal Sponsor arrangement must accompany the Grant application.
  • If the Fiscal Sponsor is also an applicant to the grant program for their own organization, any funds awarded to the organizations that they fiscally sponsor will not be counted as part of the fiscal sponsor’s application budget.
  • Information submitted in the grant application, including all budget information, applies to the applicant’s program, not the Fiscal Sponsor.

The Berkeley Arts Recovery Grants are intended to help Berkeley-based arts organizations mitigate financial hardship resulting from the COVID-19 public health emergency, adapt to operating within the context of an ongoing global pandemic, weather periods of closure, and develop longer-term strategies to sustain themselves into the future. Grant funds must be spent by December 31, 2024. Eligible uses of these grant funds are as follows:

  • Mitigation of Economic Loss: Funds to mitigate financial hardship such as declines in revenues or impacts of periods of business closure, for example by supporting payroll and benefits costs, costs to retain employees and pay a living wage to all employees including part time, hourly, and seasonal staff, mortgage, rent, or utilities costs, and other ongoing operating costs.
  • COVID-19 Prevention: Funds to implement COVID-19 prevention or mitigation tactics to enable safe resumption of services, such as signage and physical building changes to enable social distancing, improvements to ventilation, enhanced cleaning efforts, barriers or partitions, provision of masks or personal protective equipment, COVID-19 vaccination, testing, or contact tracing programs, consultation with infection prevention professionals to develop safe reopening plans, and payroll and covered benefits expenses for employees to the extent that their services are devoted to COVID-19 mitigation and infection prevention measures.
  • Technical Assistance & Marketing: Funds to procure technical assistance, consulting, or other services to assist with business planning needs to adapt to conditions brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. This may also include marketing and promotion efforts to increase program attendance impacted by the pandemic and to reach new audiences to help sustain the organization into the future.

Grantees will submit a brief final report by February 28, 2025 describing how the funds were used (in compliance with the eligible uses as described above) and describing what occurred as a result of receiving funding.

ARPA funds must be used to cover costs incurred during the period beginning March 3, 2021, and ending December 31, 2024. Federal guidelines prohibit grantees from obtaining and using ARPA funds to cover losses already covered by grants or other relief funding from any other sources, including grants from federal, state, county, or city governments. (For example: Programs like the Paycheck Protection Program, SBA’s COVID-19 Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL), Forgivable Loans, Berkeley’s Arts Continuity Grants, etc.) Please note that any relief and/or recovery funds received by the applicant to cover losses that occurred prior to March 3, 2021 will not limit an applicant’s ability to apply for this grant. This restriction applies to any other relief and/or recovery funds that the applicant receives to cover losses between March 3, 2021 and December 31, 2024.

In alignment with the intent of the American Rescue Plan Act, this scoring criteria prioritizes mitigating the disproportionate impacts of the pandemic on people of color and others who have been historically underserved, marginalized, and adversely affected by persistent poverty and inequality. Therefore, applications will be scored and ranked using the following criteria:


  • The degree to which the Organization’s programming is created by any of the following populations: Communities of color, LGBTQIA+ community, People with Disabilities, Low income people, People experiencing homelessness, Senior population (Age 65+).
  • Demographic Composition of Organization’s Board and Leadership: Categories include Race/Ethnicity, Gender, Members of LGBTQAI+ community, People with Disabilities.


  • Adequate staffing and organizational capacity to enable the organization to utilize the grant funds for eligible expenses and enable sustainable recovery.


  • The degree to which the organization has been negatively financially impacted by the pandemic (i.e. percentage of economic loss) such as: Reduction in revenue or funding; Increased costs of doing business; Inability to make rent or mortgage payments; Cancellation of events and/or programming; Transition to online events; Difficulty fulfilling services; Pay/salary cuts for staff; Termination of staff; Losses due to deposits, leases, rents, and other down payments that will not be refunded.

Civic Arts Program staff will review all applications received by the deadline and screen them for completeness and eligibility. The eligible applications will be scored based upon the criteria described above. This process will yield a ranked list of applications along with applicant scores, which will be used to determine grant award amounts. Award amounts will be tiered ranging from $3,000 to $33,000 based upon the ranking of scores and to align grant awards with available funds.

Individuals with a disability who need reasonable accommodations to participate should make their requests to the Civic Arts Staff at civicarts@cityofberkeley.info (or by phone at 510-981-7539) who will work with the Disability Compliance Program to evaluate the individual’s request. Individuals must make a disability-related accommodation request at least 72 hours in advance of any deadlines or meetings to ensure that the City has an adequate opportunity to provide reasonable accommodation.

If you have questions about the grant program or the application process, contact Civic Arts staff at civicarts@cityofberkeley.info.

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