Art of the operation

Organizational Development and Professional Development grants build arts and cultural organizations’ capacity for success

Pictured: California Symphony Orchestra. Photo by Arturo Garcia.

We’ve said it many times, and we won’t stop until it’s over: It’s grant season at the California Arts Council.

Deadlines are fast approaching for all our of open programs. And the first of those deadlines — December 5 — is arguably one of the most important. The applications due that day are for our two grant programs that, truly, any arts and cultural organization could find useful.

Organizational Development

The California Arts Council Organizational Development grant provides practical services and resources to arts and cultural organizations by funding consulting services — things like financial management and budgeting, strategic planning, public relations, web design, and more. The goal of the grant is to increase your organization’s access to best practices within the nonprofit and public sectors, to help strengthen your overall operations.

Professional Development

Likewise, our Professional Development grant supports professional development and learning activities for individual members of your organization to help grow your capacity as an arts and cultural organization. Funding supports staff members, artists, arts administrators, arts educators, or board members for things like classes or workshops, registration fees for conferences or conventions in California, or in-state travel expenses to attend conferences, seminars, or workshops.

If you’re new to the California Arts Council grant application process, the Organizational Development and Professional Development programs are a great entry point, for many reasons:

There are no match requirements.

Many of our grant programs require organizations to provide a dollar-for-dollar match for the requested fund amount — not the case for these two opportunities.

There are no Cultural Data Profile requirements.

The California Arts Council requires applicants to complete two Cultural Data Profiles through SMU DataArts and generate a Funder Report to include with their application. Organizational Development and Professional Development applications waive this requirement.

The overall applications are simpler.

We’ve made a conscious effort to make the length and breadth of the narrative questions within the applications accessible to all organizations.

They are relevant to the entire field.

The Organizational Development and Professional Development grants were developed by listening to the needs and priorities of the arts and cultural fields.

Regardless of your organization’s focus or mission, a boost for success and sustainability is something every organization needs. These opportunities for learning best practices and building capacity do just that. Start your applications today — for Organizational Development and Professional Development — and be sure to finish by December 5.

The mission of the California Arts Council, a state agency, is to advance California through the arts and creativity. Learn more at