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Arts Loan Fund

The Arts Loan Fund has loaned over $23 million in the past thirty years as a way to boost the sustainability and growth of nonprofit art and cultural organizations.


The Arts Loan Fund (ALF) was created by art funders to alleviate short term cash-flow issues for arts organizations. The fund has provided quick-turnaround loans for over thirty years and aids organizations in sound financial habits that advance their mission.

To learn more about the Arts Loan Fund, visit the website by clicking below.

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Why We Do It

Arts organizations face unique cash-flow challenges, including delayed grant awards, seasonal earned and contributed income, and complexity in projecting program tuition and ticket sales.

While large nonprofit institutions and businesses are able to access credit through commercial lenders, community arts groups are generally ineligible or are subject to high interest rates. The ALF works to fill this gap and to provide a useful financial tool for small and mid-sized arts organizations. Since 1986 the Arts Loan Fund has provided over $23 million in loans, advancing the sustainability and growth of non-profit art and cultural organizations across Northern California.

Who We Are

The Fund is housed with Northern California Grantmakers, a regional association of grantmakers, and independently funded and governed by a Steering Committee comprised of foundations, corporations and local government agencies.

What We Do

The Arts Loan Fund provides many different loan products to cater to unique nonprofit needs. ALF loans can help with: Bridging payment of funds from school districts, government or foundations grants; Providing upfront capital for a fundraising event; Providing upfront costs to producing a performance, including paying artists and paying facility costs; Aiding in renovating a facility; Consolidating debt.

Loan Products

  • Arts Education Loan: Used to pay artists and cover program-related expenses for art education programs, before receiving payment from a school, government agency or funder. 
  • Secured Bridge Loan: Used to help with cash flow needs or cover program related expenses before a related grant or contract is received.
  • Earned Revenue Loan: Used for upfront capital to plan and hold a fundraising event, produce a performance, or host an event or annual program. 
  • New Revenue Loan: Used to purchase technology, equipment, etc. in pursuit of a new revenue stream. 
  • Quick Qualifier Loan: Same as a bridge loan, except loans are up to $10,000 and the application has fewer requirements. 
  • Emergency Loan: Used to cover any immediate and unexpected cash flow need identified by the borrower.  
  • Unsecured Cash-Flow: Can be used for any cash flow need(s) as identified by the applicant, including implementing a cost-savings plan, capital purchases, and renovations.
  • Facility Loan: Used for help with facilities and facility improvement-related projects.


Ron Muriera

Arts Industry Support Director
City of San Jose, Office of Cultural Affairs

Denise Pate

Community Investments, Director
San Francisco Arts Commission



Viridiana Romero headshot

Viridiana Romero, Manager of Strategic Initiatives, Northern California Grantmakers

For support in applying for the Arts Loan Fund contact:

Margaret Southerland headshot

Margaret Southerland, Principal, Padma Consulting & Arts Loan Fund Consultant

For support in applying for the Arts Loan Fund contact: