December 2017: The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is introducing updates to our NEW Program that will take effect in 2018. Because of these updates, we have extended the deadline for submitting Letters of Inquiry for this program and are hosting two pre-application workshops. Read more on our blog.

  • San Francisco Workshop: Wednesday, January 17, 5:00–6:30 PM, CounterPulse | Reserve Your Spot
  • Oakland Workshop: Friday, January 26, 12:00–1:30 PM, The Flight Deck | Reserve Your Spot 

Program Description & Guidelines

The New & Experimental Works Program (NEW), provides project support to small and mid-size dance, theater and multidisciplinary arts organizations that:

  • Exhibit a strong passion for and commitment to the San Francisco Bay Area performing arts community
  • Demonstrate a performance history in the San Francisco Bay Area
  • Support, produce and present Bay Area artists
  • Display artistic promise and vision
  • Bring vital performances and programs to the public


Please carefully review the eligibility requirements below. Afterward, should you have questions about the fit of a specific project with our priorities or the timing of a proposal submission, please do not hesitate to contact Arts Program Staff, particularly if you are a new applicant. We value communication with our grantees.

Flyaway Production's Multiple Mary and Invisible Jane

Flyaway Production’s Multiple Mary and Invisible Jane / photo credit: Austin Forbord

  • Grants are awarded to non-profit organizations or to 501(c)(3) fiscal sponsors.
  • All fiscal sponsorships require a written agreement.
  • Applicant organizations must have at least a $10,000 annual budget for their last closed fiscal year.
  • Projects with presentation dates prior to the start of the grant period or which exceed the length of the 24-month grant period are not eligible for funding. The developmental phase of projects may begin prior to the start of the grant period. Please see Awards Schedule page for grant time period.
  • Grants are project-based only and range in size from $5,000 – $30,000. The grant amount requested may not exceed more than 50% of the organization’s last closed fiscal year budget. Please note: If you are an artist and/or organization whose budget fluctuates significantly year over year due to your presentation schedule and would like to apply for more than 50% of your last closed fiscal year budget, please contact Arts Program Staff.
  • The Foundation is unlikely to fund an organization consecutively through the NEW Program.
  • The Foundation is unlikely to fund predominantly music-focused projects through the NEW Program, including musicals, operas and/or other musical performances.
  • The Foundation does not support youth-focused programs at this time.
  • Organizations must operate and reside in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo or Santa Clara counties. Please note: the Foundation’s current arts focus is in San Francisco and Oakland. Please see FAQ for more information.
  • The majority of artists supported by the project must be based in Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, San Francisco, San Mateo or Santa Clara counties.
  • Applications will not be accepted from a single organization for more than one grant program within the same grant cycle.
  • Special Note For Grantees: Existing NEW Program grantees must complete their previously funded projects in advance of applying for an additional NEW Program grant. If your project is complete but you have yet to submit your grant report and are interested in applying to NEW for the current cycle, please contact the Arts Program Staff. If you are a RENEW Program grantee and are interested in applying to the NEW Program, please contact Program Staff to discuss your organization’s eligibility.

The Foundation does not fund:

  • Direct assistance to individuals or individual sponsorships
  • Capital campaign requests
  • Non-profit entities not located and operating primarily in the Bay Area (except for medical research)
  • Start-up organizations
  • Sports, athletic events or league sponsorships
  • Advertising or promotional sponsorships
  • Deficits or retroactive funding
  • Fraternal organizations
  • Organizations that discriminate based on religion, race, sexual orientation or gender


  • Small and mid-size organizations
  • Contemporary or experimental projects
  • Productions in outdoor, site-specific or alternative venues
  • Multidisciplinary and/or dynamic collaborations
  • Projects that incorporate elements of dance or theater
  • Activities in San Francisco and Oakland (see FAQ for more information)

Application Process

  • The Foundation accepts Letters of Inquiry (LOI) annually in the spring.
  • For additional information on deadlines, please see the Awards Schedule.
  • Grants are project-based only and range in size from $5,000 – $30,000. General operating support grants will not be considered.
  • All applicants selected to submit a full proposal, including fiscally sponsored organizations,* will need to submit a DataArts report for consideration. When generating a funder report, select the report appropriate to the grant program area to which you are applying (i.e. NEW Program).
      • The Foundation will waive this requirement for organizations with annual budgets of under $50,000 and for fiscally sponsored organizations applying to the NEW Program for the first time and that do not currently have a DataArts profile or funder report. 
  • If you have questions or concerns regarding your LOI, we encourage you to discuss those with Arts Program Staff prior to submission. While we do our best to include feedback on declined LOIs when we feel it will be beneficial to the applicant, due to the high number of submissions we regret that we can only guarantee feedback at the full proposal stage.
  • Please review our FAQ page before starting the application process.

To apply now, simply click the button below. If you are a new applicant, you will need to complete a quick, one-time registration in our online grants system by clicking the “New Applicant” link. Note, the Foundation’s online grants system is compatible only with Internet Explorer or Firefox browsers. Please contact our Grants Officer, Mia deJesus, with any online system-related questions.

To resume work on a saved application, log into your account using the “Resume Application” button below. If you intend to continue work on an LOI in progress, be sure to click “Save and Finish Later” before exiting the system.

Pre-application Workshops

These workshops will feature an overview of Rainin Foundation objectives and the application process.

  • San Francisco Workshop: Wednesday, January 17, 5:00–6:30 PM, CounterPulse | Reserve Your Spot
  • Oakland Workshop: Friday, January 26, 12:00–1:30 PM, The Flight Deck | Reserve Your Spot 

 Awards Schedule

View the awards schedule.

Please direct questions to Arts Program Staff.