For thirteen years, Sustainable Arts Foundation supported artists and writers with children. We offered unrestricted cash awards to 273 individual artists, and made grants to over 60 artist residencies to make their programs more family friendly. In total, we awarded over two million dollars in funding to support creative parents. In late 2023, in solidarity with the groundswell of efforts toward decolonization, we committed to spend down the foundation’s assets and return the funds to Indigenous communities.
Who We Are
Caroline earned a PhD at U.C. Berkeley and taught writing at Berkeley, Stanford, and the San Francisco Art Institute before starting a family and finding her academic life incompatible with parenting. She began editing for Literary Mama, working her way up the masthead and ultimately serving five years as editor-in-chief of the site. She has also co-edited two anthologies, Mama, PhD: Women Write About Motherhood and Academic Life (Rutgers University Press, 2008) and The Cassoulet Saved Our Marriage: True Stories of Food, Family, and How We Learn to Eat (Roost Books, 2013). Her work with the contributors to Literary Mama and her two books crystallized her desire to support writers and artists who are parents.
Tony co-founded the Sustainable Arts Foundation after a long career in the software industry. His passion for the arts comes from his father, who was a painter and sculptor, and growing up the son of an artist informed his thoughts about the balance of art and family. He currently serves on the board of the Alliance of Artist Communities.
The Sustainable Arts Foundation was founded in 2010 by Caroline and Tony Grant. We were inspired largely by the example of Tony’s late father, the painter and sculptor James Grant, who continued to work in his Folsom Street studio after becoming a parent (often bringing Tony and his brother along to play or nap in a corner). His career changed in those years; he showed less often and started jewelry and jigsaw puzzle businesses, turning to crafts that were a bit faster to make and sell.
We were moved, too, by the stories in the documentary, Who Does She Think She Is?, about artists who are moms and how they keep their creative lives strong in the face of parenting’s many challenges.
- 2010: Sustainable Arts Foundation is incorporated
- Our program is approved by the IRS and we receive our 501(c)(3) status.
- 2011: First grants to individuals
- In the summer of 2011, we announced our first individual award winners
- 2011: SAF joins Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA)
- We Join Grantmakers in the Arts, a national organization supporting the growth of the arts and culture.
- 2012: Joins AAC
- We join the Alliance of Artist Communities
- 2013: Residency program launched
- In 2013, we committed $100,000 to a two-year pilot program inviting residency programs to apply for funds with proposals to make their opportunities more available to parent artists and writers.
- 2015: $500,000 milestone
- In 2015, we reached the milestone of $500,000 awarded and granted to individuals and organizations
- 2016: Racial equity initiative
- We affirmed our commitment to racial equity by pledging at least half our awards to applicants of color.
- 2018: Over one million dollars awarded
- 2020: COVID response: emergency grants to finalists
- 2022: Over two million dollars awarded
- 2023: We announce the end of our award programs
- SAF ends its award programs and announces the distribution of SAF’s remaining assets to Indigenous communities.