Grants Program

Japantown Foundation Grants Program

Sign up to receive emails from us to be notified about our next grants program.

The San Francisco Japantown Foundation provided grants in 2016 to the following organizations:

  • Buchanan YMCA
  • Japantown Task Force
  • Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California
  • Japanese Community Youth Council
  • Kimochi, Inc.
  • National Japanese American
  • Historical Society
  • Nichi Bei Foundation
  • Nihonmachi Street Fair
  • National Japanese American
  • Historical Society
  • Sakura Matsuri
  • Soto Mission of San Francisco – Sokoji

Our 2016 grants program provided (a) direct unrestricted grants for organizations; and (b) planning grants for organizations focused on contributing to the creation/maintenance/sustainability of a tangible project such as physical tangible project or a program that promotes, sustains and preserves San Francisco Japantown.

These unrestricted grants may be used for a variety of purposes, including but not limited to administrative costs, program expenses, or salaries. We award grants to organizations that have demonstrated the value of their organization to the Japantown community, the effectiveness of their services and/or activities, and their financial sustainability. We do not fund startup projects or pay for past debts or current operating deficits.

The grant criteria we used for our 2016 grants program is below. The Foundation does not necessarily use the exact same criteria each.


  • Eligible organizations must be a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization, or a fiscally-sponsored project.
  • Eligible organizations must demonstrate a current and historical relationship with Japantown, or provide services to the San Francisco Japantown community.
  • Previous recipients of Japantown Foundation grants must submit grant reports before being eligible to apply for 2016 funding.


Applicants may request up to $10,000. The Japantown Foundation may award grants in amounts lower than requested based on funding availability.


Proposals will be reviewed against the following criteria:

  • Important Community Issue – Organization can demonstrate that it is supportive of cultural, community, educational activities and preservation activities for San Francisco Japantown.
  • Program Impact – Organization can clearly articulate what it is trying to achieve for the Japantown community or neighborhood.
  • Program Impact – There is a clear plan for achieving the organization’s objectives.
  • Program Impact – Organization can demonstrate a clear impact as illustrated by previous accomplishments.
  • Financial Health – Organization has the financial capacity to support its continued impact.


  • Re-granting (i.e., redistribution of these funds to other organizations)
  • Endowments or reserves
  • For the benefit of specific individuals
  • Major capital improvements including capital campaigns, construction or renovations (minor capital improvements required to implement programs are allowable). Planning grants can relate to capital improvements, but the planning grant itself cannot be used for capital expenditures.
  • Activities that promote religious beliefs
  • Past debts or current operating deficits


  • July 15: Grants program for 2016 approved by board of directors and grants program committee appointed
  • July 26: Foundation announces details of 2016 grants program
  • July 26: Foundation starts accepting applications online.
  • September 1, 2016 5:00 p.m. PT.: Applications due



  • One-page board or leadership group list with affiliations
  • Current year’s operating budget
  • Previous fiscal year’s operating budget
  • IRS Section 501(c)(3) tax exemption determination letter, provided however that if you are using a fiscal sponsor, please also attach a letter from your Fiscal Sponsor’s indicating that the project is in good fiscal standing and a copy of its IRS Section 501(c)(3) tax exemption determination letter.


Recipients of a standard grant must provide the Foundation with a report on how the grant impacted one or more of the following: (1) How your organization has helped Japantown because of our funding; (2) How did your organization use the funding? Please provide an accounting.

Recipients of a planning grant must provide the Japantown Foundation with a report that includes the scope, schedule, and cost of the proposed project.

Sign up to receive emails from us to be notified about our next grants program.