Prop E Implementation Update + Call for Cultural Services Allocation Plan Working Group

A Letter from Tom DeCaigny (SFAC), Matthew Goudeau (GFTA) and Brian Cheu (MOHCD)

Mayor London Breed with supporters of the Prop E campaign

The passage of Proposition E in November 2018 by a whopping 75% majority is a testament to the commitment and vibrancy of San Francisco's arts and cultural communities. As the Directors of the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC), Grants for the Arts (GFTA), and the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development (MOHCD) we are incredibly grateful for your advocacy and we are committed to ensuring that the Hotel Tax allocation for the arts sustains the important work you are doing throughout the City.  

We wanted to take a moment to recap the significance of Prop E and its impact on municipal funding for the arts. First, the basics:  Prop E restores the historic Hotel Tax allocation for arts and cultural programming. As hotel tax revenue grows, so will city funding for the arts with an annual cap set at 10%. Should hotel revenues decrease, the arts and culture allocation will fall no more than 10% in any given year.  

The legislation increases investments in existing arts and cultural programs, such as Grants for the Arts, the Cultural Equity Endowment and the city-owned Cultural Centers, all of which were funded through the City's General Fund prior to the passage of Prop E. It also includes funding for two new arts and cultural priorities: the Arts Impact Endowment and Cultural Districts. The following is a breakdown of each of the five funding buckets:

1. Grants for the Arts - Under the oversight of the City Administrator's Office, GFTA provides general operating support to arts nonprofits. Prop E establishes baseline funding of $16.3 million for GFTA from the Hotel Tax.

2. Cultural Equity Endowment - Administered by the SFAC, the Cultural Equity Endowment supports small to mid-sized arts organizations that serve historically underserved communities and individual artists. Prop E augments the Cultural Equity Endowment and brings its baseline funding to $6.4 million.

3. Cultural Centers - The City-owned community cultural centers provide accessible arts opportunities for all San Franciscans. Prop E allocates $3.8 million to support four city-owned facilities operated by nonprofit arts organizations (African American Art & Culture Complex, Bayview Opera House, Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts and SOMArts) and two virtual nonprofit centers (Asian Pacific Islander Cultural Center and Queer Cultural Center). The Cultural Centers allocation is administered by the SFAC.

4. Cultural Districts - A new $3 million allocation will support the city's legislated cultural districts, which currently include: SOMA Pilipinas, Calle 24 Latino Cultural District, Japantown, Compton's Cafeteria Transgender Cultural District in the Tenderloin, the LGBTQ Leather District in SoMa, and the Bayview African American Cultural District. This fund is administered by the Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development. Please contact Julia Sabory for further information.

5. Arts Impact Endowment - Jointly administered by the SFAC and GFTA, the new $2.5 million Arts Impact Endowment addresses needs in the arts and culture sector. As articulated in the legislation, the funding priories for this new fund are determined by a Cultural Services Allocation Plan (CSAP), which will be prepared every five years and approved by the City Administrator and the Arts Commission.

On March 4, the San Francisco Arts Commission and the City Administrator unanimously approved the 2019-2024 CSAP, which outlines the four priority areas that the Arts Impact Endowment will support:  1) Arts Education; 2) Affordable Space; 3) Arts Organizations Core Support; and 4) Individual Artists Support. These priority areas were determined after engaging the community at open houses throughout the city, through targeted mapping activities of key stakeholders and through an online poll. To date, over 3,500 people have provided quantitative and qualitative input and recommendations. Please take a moment to read the approved CSAP.

The CSAP clearly outlines the next steps the City will take to meet the community's desires for both timely access to funding as well as an extended period for assessing community need. The proposed allocations in the CSAP do not indicate specifically what types of programs will be funded through the Arts Impact Endowment. In order to hone these recommendations into actual funding amounts and implementation approaches, City staff from the SFAC and GFTA will develop funding recommendations that address the four aforementioned impact areas with advisory input from an appointed Community Working Group.

City staff will appoint the Community Working Group based upon areas of expertise and diverse representation. We are now accepting applications for Working Group participants.

It's important to note that all Arts Impact Endowment funds will follow City policies and be competitively awarded through a request for proposals.

We hope this update has helped clarify the role Prop E now plays in City funding of arts and culture. If you still have questions, we encourage you to submit them to us via e-mail at:


Tom DeCaigny
Director of Cultural Affairs
San Francisco Arts Commission
L. Matthew Goudeau
Grants for the Arts
Brian Cheu
Director of Community Development
Mayor's Office of Housing and Community Development


What's Coming Up

Public Meeting

Executive Committee Meeting

December 18
1:00 PM to 2:30 PM

Hybrid: 401 Van Ness | Rm 125 and Online
Public Meeting

Visual Arts Committee Meeting

December 16
2:00 PM to 6:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Civic Design Review Committee Meeting

December 11
2:00 PM to 4:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 408 and Online
Public Meeting

Community Investments Committee Meeting

December 09
1:00 PM to 3:00 PM

Hybrid: City Hall | Rm 416 and Online