Nonprofit organizations based in the eleven-county Bay Area are eligible to submit a short letter of inquiry as a first step in being considered for an award. The application period for the 2018 awards is now closed. To submit a letter of inquiry:

1. Ensure your project meets our eligibility guidelines

  • The lead applicant must be a public charity with 501c3 federal tax status.
  • The lead applicant must be based in the greater San Francisco Bay Area in one of the following counties: Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterrey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano or Sonoma.
  • The lead applicant must have a minimum operating budget of $100,000 per year for at least three years.
  • The commissioning project must be based in the discipline of theater, spoken word, or musical theater.
  • The commissioning project must premiere in the San Francisco Bay Area within three years of the award date.
  • The proposed project must not be a current grant recipient of a Gerbode Special Award in the Arts or the Creative Work Fund.

2. Review our selection criteria

Grant recipients will be selected using the following criteria:

Artistic Excellence
The primary objective of the initiative is to commission fifty works of performing arts of the highest artistic quality and enduring value. Artistic excellence is demonstrated through technical mastery, originality, innovation, inspiration and distinctive niche of the commissioned artist(s) and organizations, as indicated by work samples; training, apprenticeships, education; and previous success. Applicants will describe the work’s style, format, themes and process of creation. Applicants will also describe how the project supports it mission and why the organization is interested in working with the artist.

Community Engagement
A secondary objective of the initiative is to engage and impact local communities in the greater San Francisco Bay Area and beyond. Community engagement is demonstrated by the quality, depth and scope of the opportunities to impact diverse communities. Applicants will describe their current constituents, the intended audiences for the project, how the community will be engaged by the project; and the significance of the work to the Bay Area and beyond. Applicants will also describe the factors that will contribute to accessibility, the venues for the premiere, the potential for touring and/or additional performances.

Collaboration and Leadership
We encourage collaboration for these projects and believe competent leadership and planning are essential for success. Collaboration and Leadership are demonstrated by clearly defined descriptions of how the organization(s) and the artist(s) will collaborate in the creation of the commissioned work. Applicants will be asked to describe the roles and responsibilities of the artistic and organizational leadership; the contributions of any collaborators; and provide a timeline for the project.

Financial Capacity
We believe an organization must have healthy financial capacity to achieve the goals of the project. Financial capacity is demonstrated by the fiscal health of the lead organization and the viability of the project budget. Applicants will provide financial statements, balance sheet and income statement and a project budget with two thirds of the Hewlett Foundation grant designated to the artist.

3. Select an artist to partner with on the project. Artists may be based anywhere around the world.

4. Review the frequently asked questions, and submit any additional questions you have which you do not see answered there.

5. Complete the online letter of inquiry form. (Note: Applications for the next round of awards, for dance, will open later in 2019.)

You may review the questions and list of attachments from the LOI before entering the system.