Sustainable Arts Foundation 2021 Residency Grants

The goal of this grant program is to make residency programs more accessible and welcoming to parent writers and artists.

Please review these instructions and guidelines carefully before submitting your proposal.


We know how significantly residency programs have been affected by COVID-19. We will be accepting applications in the fall of 2020 for our 2021 residency grants, and we understand that there may be less certainty than normal in your proposals.

Our application is straightforward; we need your contact information, a few details about the size and scope of your organization, and most of all, we need to know how your organization will support artists and writers with children.

We’re most impressed by organizations that are committing some of their own funds, resources, and energy to match requested funds. We’re looking for organizations willing to stretch a little to make themselves welcoming to parent residents. Including prorated salaries or other general administration costs as part of your proposal is not recommended.

We are particularly interested in what residencies are doing to make their programs more diverse, from their staff to their review boards, and of course the residents themselves.

Due to the number of proposals we receive, this process is unfortunately not a dialogue. Please be sure to include all the information requested for us to evaluate your proposal. If you have questions about any portion of this process, please feel free to contact us before the deadline.


Your organization must be a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) offering residencies to artists and/or writers. If your organization does not have tax-exempt status, but does have fiscal sponsorship, please contact us before applying.

The program(s) funded by this award must support artists and writers with at least one dependent child under the age of 18.

Supporting Materials

We do not accept brochures or other marketing materials (nor their electronic equivalents). We do carefully evaluate each organization’s website, particularly through the lens of a potential parent resident.

Grant Funds

Organizations may apply for up to $6,000. Efficient use of funds directly benefiting parent residents is of the utmost importance. We admire organizations that bring some financial or operational commitment of their own for this proposal. We will not consider proposals asking for general operating funds.

Ideas That Have Proven Successful

We understand that every residency program is unique, and we don’t have a single set of expectations about how each one should address the needs of parents. We want to know how you’re thinking about parents and how you plan to make your unique program more accessible to them. That said, there are a handful of ideas that have proven particularly attractive to and successful with parents.

  • Shorter residency periods, which make it much more likely that a parent could attend
  • A residency “season” in which all the residents are parents; this offers built-in empathy from the entire group as well as the possibility of shared childcare
  • Summer residencies with nearby camp or other opportunities for children
  • Childcare as an acceptable request for financial aid
  • Proposals that demonstrate a well-considered approach to equity and outreach
  • Flexibility!

Ideas That Are Less Successful

  • Proposals that look to recoup ongoing or general administrative costs
  • Proposals that offer very few specifics about a new program for parents, but are proposing to fund a spot for an applicant who happens to be a parent
  • Proposals that do not consider how to publicize the opportunity to parents
  • Proposals that don’t include any explicit promotion to reach parent artists; we do not consider a mailing list and social media sufficient


Please send a scanned copy via e-mail.

Or mail a hardcopy to:

Sustainable Arts Foundation
Attn: Residency Grants
1032 Irving Street #609
San Francisco, CA 94122-2200

Important Dates

Proposals must be postmarked or e-mailed by September 30, 2020.
Funds will be disbursed in January 2021.

Download Application

The application will be available for download on August 25th, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Our residency program can’t accommodate children on site. May we still apply?
A: Yes! Many of the programs we’ve funded don’t allow the children to be in residence, but they offer other solutions that still make it easier for a parent to attend.

Q: Can our organization apply for funds to support artists already in residence? Or artists who have been selected/accepted but have not yet arrived?
A: No. Our program is designed to create new opportunities for parent artists and writers and to encourage organizations to promote themselves and their program to parents.

We understand that our grant cycle may not align well with your organization’s residency cycle and applaud organizations that take the initiative in welcoming parent residents without the guarantee of our funding.

Q: Can our organization apply for general operating funds?
A: No. This program is designed to encourage new opportunities specifically for parent artists and writers.

Q: Can our organization include administrative costs in our proposal?
A: Yes, but these should be at most a small portion of your proposed budget. We’d much prefer that organizations “match” our funds with their own commitment of funds and resources to support their proposed program.

Q: Can our organization include travel costs for the resident in our proposal?
A: Offering a travel stipend is often helpful to a parent resident and can be a way to extend an organization’s reach; that said, we’re less inclined to fund proposals with a significant travel budget. Also, organizations requesting travel funds should have a plan for what to do with any money that isn’t used due to a local artist attending (we are happy to accept a return).

Q: Our organization has previously received funding from SAF; are we eligible to apply again?
A: Yes! Please be sure that you complete our follow-up report in advance of this application deadline. As of 2018, our report is now in an online format. If you don’t have a copy of the report, please contact us.

Q: Our proposal is only available to alumni or previous residents; are we eligible to apply?
A: Yes, but know that we are looking for ways to broaden the reach of residency programs and so limiting these opportunities to alumni and previous residents restricts that goal.

Further Questions
If you have any questions as you prepare your proposal, please don’t hesitate to contact us via e-mail.