The COVID-19 pandemic revealed the inadequacy of our existing social support systems, and in particular, the fragility of our arts and culture ecosystem.

Artist Relief’s COVID-19 Impact Survey found that 62% of artists became fully unemployed and 95% experienced income loss because of shutdowns due to COVID-19. Two thirds of artists surveyed couldn’t access supplies, resources, spaces, or people necessary for their creative work and 80% had no plan to recover from the crisis. Across the country, as pandemic relief and protections (eviction moratoriums, unemployment benefits) ended, artists remained vulnerable.

Core to our work at YBCA is advocating for new ways to secure artists’ futures. Guaranteed income, or unconditional cash, is a powerful way to build sustainable opportunities for artists in communities that have been historically overlooked and underfunded. YBCA’s $4.6 million investment in artists’ financial security through a guaranteed income reflects the imperative to recognize artists as human beings, regardless of “productivity,” who, like all of us, deserve to thrive and exist in their fullest expression of personhood.


San Francisco’s Guaranteed Income Pilot for Artists

130 Artists

18 Months per program

$1,000 Per Month

$2.34 Million Dispersed to Artists

The SF Guaranteed Income Pilot for Artists (SF-GIPA), facilitated by YBCA, makes monthly cash payments to 130 artists who have been disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

SF-GIPA was designed and launched in May 2021 in partnership with the City of San Francisco.


We have a particular focus on understanding how regular cash payments impact, and, we hope combat, the urgent issues of economic insecurity and displacement of creative communities in San Francisco. We are on a learning journey in service of artists and communities we are in relationship with, and constantly seek ways to improve investment models and practices.

Creative Communities Coalition

60 Artists

18 Months per program

$1,000 Per Month

$1.08 Million Dispersed to Artists

The Creative Communities Coalition, a guaranteed income initiative (CCCGI), is designed and implemented in collaboration with six San Francisco-based arts and culture organizations:  Black Freighter Press, Chinese Culture Center of San Francisco (CCCSF), Compton’s Transgender District, Dance Mission Theater, Galeria de la Raza, and the San Francisco Bay Area Theater Company (SFBATCO). 

CCCGI is an 18 month guaranteed income demonstration disbursing $1,000 monthly payments to 60 San Francisco artists. The initiative is aimed at creating a pathway to economic security for artists in communities typically overlooked and underserved by traditional funding sources.

Community-Led Design

Instead of designing and implementing its own initiative, YBCA has made an investment into a coalition for artists and leaders who are anchored in their community to decide how and to whom investments are made. The goal is to shift power from an institutional funder to community-based arts organizations who are expert investors themselves, although they have been overlooked as such. 

The organizations who make up the coalition selected participants who were artists in communities typically overlooked and underserved by traditional funding sources.

We are deeply grateful to all of the artists participating in the SF-GIPA and CCCGI.

To the artists, community members, organization leaders, coalition members, movement activists, communities of practice, the #StartSmall Foundation, Mackenzie Scott, and San Francisco city representatives including Mayor London Breed and the Office of the Mayor, San Francisco Arts Commission, Office of Racial Equity, and Office of Financial Empowerment – thank you for your collaboration and partnership.

Let’s all work towards a society where every person has access to what they need to be safe, content, happy — and creative.

To learn more about the program design and get in contact with the team behind our guaranteed income work email us at [email protected].