Program Partner, Arts Activation Fund: Request for Proposals


$200,000 to $500,000


Department of Cultural Affairs, City of Los Angeles


Oct 12, 2018 - 7:00 pm




Ian-Julian Williams


The City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs seeks a program partner that is mission driven, highly accomplished, politically savvy, financially robust, and locally engaged that can serve as a Program Partner over the next three years.

Proposers should have:

  • A mission to incubate new cultural businesses
  • No less than a ten-year history of successful mentoring and incubating small businesses
  • A successful record of receiving, deploying, and reporting on the use of government funding
  • An operating budget greater than $3 million dollars per year
  • Headquarters within the County of Los Angeles or history of serving start-up projects/businesses in the City of Los Angeles
  • Nonprofit 501(c)3 status


In partnership with the Mayor’s Great Streets Initiative, the Department of Cultural Affairs created the Arts Activation Fund (AAF) in 2016. AAF is a funding opportunity to support neighborhood-initiated artistic or cultural experiences (such as pop-up activities or street festivals) sited on streets or sidewalks. These projects receive start-up funding and business mentorship so that they can become viable grant-seeking events that operate on a yearly basis.

The goals of the proposer will be to provide legal, strategic, and financial processes to contract, mentor, and evaluate 12-16 arts community vendors each year between November through August.

The Department of Cultural Affairs posts guidelines, coaches AAF applicants, and selects AAF projects on a monthly basis. The AAF guidelines attract start-up and fresh ventures which:

  • Foster collaborative planning and production of projects that focus on relevant community themes.
  • Engage, promote, and pay local artists.
  • Enliven our City’s ‘Great Streets’ and other streets which are under-animated.
  • Provide resources to community stakeholders (activists, artists, ensembles, for-profit business owners, and/or non-profit agencies) that are new to the Department of Cultural Affairs and do not have other business contracts with DCA.

Entering fiscal year 2018-2019, AAF will accept proposals every month from October through June. Each AAF proposal will be allocated between $7500 and $12,000 from a reserve fund held with the Project Partner

Additional information about the Arts Activation Fund can be found at the following web address:


Proposers must start the proposal submission process by first visiting: where they will create a profile, if one does not exist, and complete and submit the following forms:

  • Equal Benefits Ordinance (EBO)/First Source Hiring Ordinance (FSHO)
  • Slavery Disclosure Ordinance

After all information has been submitted through BAVN, proposers should visit to complete their proposals.  There, proposers will create a login name and password in order to access the Program Partner, Arts Activation Fund form.

All proposals must contain the following:

  • A proposal narrative of 2-3 pages that includes
  • The mission statement and history of the organization
  • Mentoring pedagogy
  • At least one, but no more than three, resumes of key personnel
  • Organization’s financial statements from the previous two years
  • Two recent examples of successfully groomed creative-entrepreneurs, cultural projects, or start-up businesses and the assessment metrics used to demonstrate their success
  • IRS Determination Letter recognizing the organization’s nonprofit 501(c)3 status
  • Mandatory City Contract Requirements and Compliance Documents

Proposals will only be accepted online via


Proposals are to be submitted online no later than Friday, October 12, 2018, 7:00 p.m. PT.  Late proposals will not be accepted.


Most Arts Activation Fund project applicants require start-up advice, financial oversight, guidance regarding permits and insurance, suggestions regarding production costs and expenditures, marketing supervision, and overall business mentorship. When possible AAF entrepreneurs should be directed to other LA resources for: training on viable business models and sustainable financial objectives; so it is important that the proposer has a broad understanding of other available resources in Southern California.


After Arts Activation Fund proposals are approved by the Cultural Affairs Commission and the Department’s General Manager, the program partner will:

  • Communicate with selected entrepreneurs
  • Provide them with a contract which outlines responsibilities, reporting requirements, and payment expectations
  • Provide 75% of the DCA’s suggested investment upon submission of the legal contract
  • Monitor and mentor the entrepreneur
  • Site visit the proposed event and evaluate the actual outcomes against the estimated outcomes
  • Provide 25% remaining monies and stage an exit interview to collect additional qualitative metrics


  • Contracting all AAF grantees
  • Consulting AAF grantees on insurance and permitting requirements
  • Discussing event logistics and problem solving
  • Communicating regularly with AAF grantees
  • Attending and documenting all AAF events
  • Auditing and reconciling AAF project budgets
  • Auditing individual event evaluations
  • Consolidating evaluations into a final report
  • Planning and hosting end-of-cycle event


The total funding amount for the resulting annual contract to the successful proposer will be, $200,000-$500,000. No less than 77.5% of pass-through monies to community entrepreneurs and no greater than 22.5% for partnership-administration.

The expert staff of the applicant organization should have the ability to perform the above duties (within 22.5% of the annual contract from the Department of Cultural Affairs, which will be between $45,000 and $112,500 for one or more designated coordinators)


Proposals will be scored on the following four criteria of twenty five-points each:

  • Appropriate mission and history
  • Prior success with government funding
  • Administrative capacity (including staff biographies and organizational financial statements)
  • Examples of prior success as a small business incubator

The proposer will be selected by a three-member panel consisting of three community experts. In the event that no one applicant can provide all eligibility requirements and commensurate services, the Department retains the right to cancel this opportunity or select multiple partners for segmented components of this RFP.


Evaluation of submitted proposals will be based on the following factors and the points available for each factor.

Evaluation Factor Maximum Points
Appropriate mission and history 25
Prior success with government funding 25
Administrative capacity 25
Examples of prior success as a small business incubator 25


The City shall reserve the right to use such other criteria as may be deem appropriate in evaluating proposals, even if such criteria are not mentioned in the RFP. Proposers submitting the highest-rated written responses may be called for an oral interview to further assess their qualifications.


This schedule indicates estimated dates for the RFP process. The City reserves the right to adjust this schedule when appropriate.

Date Event
09/21/18 Release RFP to potential proposers
10/12/18 RFP responses due
10/17/18 Peer Panel Review of proposals
10/19/18 Select successful Proposer
10/22/18 Negotiate with apparent successful proposer
10/22/18 Post award notifications
11/05/18 Execute contract


The complete RFP and instructions are available by visiting:


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