COVID-19 Arts Relief Grants for Organizations


The COVID-19 Arts Relief Grants for Organizations (CARGO) Program has been established as a partnership between the Community Foundation Sonoma County and Creative Sonoma, to provide relief to Sonoma County creative organizations that have sustained economic losses due to COVID-19 and the resulting business and community health restrictions. The purpose of these grants is to help sustain Sonoma County’s creative organizations through this challenge in order to continue serving as a source of community cohesion and inspiration as we navigate our new, shared future.

These grants will go to Sonoma County-based nonprofit arts organizations for general operating support. Grant funds are intended to support immediate needs and are to be expended by December 31, 2020.



CARGO will be distributed in two phases.

Phase 1 is through the Community Foundation application portal, and is funded by the Community Foundation Sonoma County and the Creative Sonoma Recovery Fund (via a grant from the Manitou Fund). This funding is limited to current and recent grantees (2016-2020) of the Community Foundation and Creative Sonoma, with priority given to Sonoma County nonprofit arts organizations that produce and provide arts education and programming for youth.

  • The Phase 1 application opened May 11, 2020 with a May 26, 2020 deadline, and is now closed. 

Phase 2 is through the Creative Sonoma application portal (see below) and is funded by the Creative Sonoma Recovery Fund (via grants from the National Endowment for the Arts CARES Act and the Manitou Fund). The funding is limited to Sonoma County nonprofit arts organizations.

  • The Phase 2 application opened July 1, 2020 with a July 15, 2020 deadline, and is now closed. 



Application Opens:  July 1, 2020

Deadline to Apply:  July 15, 2020

Award Notification:  Late July 2020

Funding Period:  Through December 2020



Sonoma County arts organizations* that meet the following requirements are eligible to apply.

  • Headquartered in Sonoma County as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit arts organization (51% or more of organizational mission and programming is dedicated to the arts)
  • Have a minimum three-year history of consistent arts programming and/or services prior to the application deadline.
  • Minimum operating budget of $25,000 an/or at least one employee

* Those who received funding in Phase 1 may apply to Phase 2 for additional funding, but those who were not funded or were ineligible in Phase 1 will be prioritized.

Not eligible:

  • Nonprofit organizations with a stated mission or purpose that is not arts-focused
  • Arts organizations that are headquartered outside of Sonoma County (even if they present or manage programs in Sonoma County)
  • All-volunteer organizations
  • Groups applying with a fiscal sponsor 

Grant funding may NOT be used for:

  • Capital improvements, new construction, renovation, restoration or purchase of major equipment
  • Debt and deficit reduction that was incurred before the COVID-19 impacts
  • Re-granting of funds
  • Fundraising events



Up to $10,000. Amounts awarded will be determined by assessing sustainability and need of the organization.



The grants will be reviewed for eligibility by Creative Sonoma staff. Priority will be given to small and mid-size organizations, those with limited assets, and those serving underserved populations. Additionally, application scoring will be weighted based on organizational need and sustainability. Staff recommendations are not final until approved by the Creative Sonoma Advisory Board. 



Read the Guidelines thoroughly and utilize the Application Help Tool which contains all of the application questions. No handwritten or paper-based applications will be accepted. Applicants will need to have or create an account in Submittable, our online application portal. 



Email or call 707-565-6121. 



The list of Grantees for Phase 1 and Phase 2 are attached HERE