SF Guaranteed Income Pilot for Artists (SF-GIPA)

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“The arts are truly critical to our local economy and are an essential part of our long-term recovery. If we help the arts recover, the arts will help San Francisco recover. This new program is an innovative effort to help our creative sector get through this challenging time, and come back even stronger and more resilient than before.”–The Honorable Mayor London Breed

San Francisco’s arts and culture sector generated $1.45 billion in annual economic activity while supporting nearly 40,000 full-time jobs pre-COVID. Artists are the heartbeat of our cultural and civic life. While they have worked tirelessly over the last year, artists, cultural workers, and makers, particularly those from historically marginalized communities, have faced the most disparaging financial impacts resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. These impacts are unsustainable, so we at YBCA are stepping up to build structures of economic support for our artists, our city, our people.

To support artists living and working in the City of San Francisco during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, The Office of Racial Equity at the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the Arts Impact Endowment—co-funded by the San Francisco Arts Commission (SFAC) and Grants for the Arts—and YBCA have come together to launch the Guaranteed Income Pilot for the City of San Francisco.

How the SF-GIPA Works


Apply Online

Application opens March 25, 2021.

Apply by April 15, 2021 at 11:59pm PT.


Confirm Participation

Participants are notified if they have been
selected by April 20, 2021.

Those notified will need to confirm their
participation by May 4, 2021.

(All applicants will be notified of their application
status by May 11, 2021)


Getting Artists Paid

Confirmed participants will receive their first cash
payment on or by May 21, 2021

Subsequent payments will be made on the first Friday
of each month from June 2021 to October 2021 

Applications are now closed.

We know that artists are essential agents of social change: when they have access to adequate resources, they strengthen communities and improve community health and well-being outcomes. Over a period of six months, the Guaranteed Income Pilot will provide monthly payments of $1,000 to 130 eligible San Francisco artists. Applicants must meet eligibility requirements listed below in order to join the SF-GIPA.

Who is Eligible?

You must be:

An adult (18 years of age or older) resident of San Francisco in an eligible zip code

An artist whose artistic practice is rooted in a historically marginalized community.
For this program, an artist is someone who actively engages with the community through music, dance,
creative writing, visual art, performance art, installation, photography, theater, or film.
Teaching artists, arts educators, and culturally-based craft workers and makers are also encouraged to apply.

Facing loss of income due to the COVID-19 pandemic

Income qualifying

Calculate this using the table below
For this program, an applicant is “income qualifying” if their household income falls under the qualifying income limit.

How many people, including yourself, relied on your income in 2020? (Household Income)Qualifying Income Limit*
*Determined by the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Very Low Income limit for San Francisco

Pilot Dates

March 25 — Application opens

April 15 — Application closes

April 20 — Eligible applicants are notified they have been selected

May 4 — Deadline for selected applicants to confirm participation

May 11 — All applicants will be notified regarding the status of their application

May 21 — First cash payment

June 4 — Second cash payment

October 1 — Final cash payment

Though the SF-GIPA is focused on all artists facing financial insecurity resulting from the pandemic, we are building a comprehensive and community-centered outreach strategy that ensures we reach those hardest hit, including our BIPOC, Immigrant, Disabled, and LGBTQ+ artist communities. This outreach strategy reflects San Francisco’s Cultural Equity Endowment Legislation and the Grantmakers in the Arts’ Racial Equity in Arts Funding Statement of Purpose.

Learnings from the SF-GIPA will help us to understand how guaranteed income impacts artists’ ability to focus on creative output and reinvest in their communities. YBCA is proud to serve as the implementer for the first ever Guaranteed Income Pilot for artists and understands that this is only one step towards building a sustainable economic floor for the artists in our communities.