The Arts Loan Fund (ALF), managed by Northern California Grantmakers, has loaned over $19 million in the past thirty years as a way to boost the sustainability and growth of non-profit art and cultural organizations.

While businesses and larger non-profits are able to rely on commercial banking for cash-flow needs, small to mid-sized arts organizations have a harder time accessing capital. The Arts Loan Fund was created by funders to meet this need and alleviate short term cash-flow crunches.

Loans can be a practical financial tool that when used properly, signal proactive financial planning. Funders recognize this and know that cash-flow often lags while incoming grants are pending and that performances often require upfront capital to produce.

To learn more about the criteria to apply, visit our eligibility page. Have questions about where to start? Contact Margaret Southerland at margaret at

To get loan information, news, and other resources for Bay Area arts nonprofits, sign up below. 



Determine eligibility and identify loan product. 

Submit application.

Steering Committee votes on application.

You are contacted by NCG staff within 48 hours with a decision.

If the loan is approved, pick up the check!


Learn more about which loan product you qualify for here

View all 2019 application deadlines here

ALF Loan Helps with:

  • Bridge payment of funds from school districts, government or foundations grants.

  • Upfront capital for a fundraising event.

  • Upfront costs to producing a performance, including paying artists and paying facility costs.

  • Aid in renovating a facility.

  • Debt consolidation.

Quick Facts about the Arts Loan Fund

  • Maximum loan amount is $50,000, however, the approved loan amount is determined by an organization’s capacity to take on debt.

  • Repayment rate remains over 95%, due, in part, to the understanding that pay-back enables the fund to continue supporting the arts community.

  • Current interest rate is 4% for “Secured” loans and 6% for “Unsecured Loans.”

Hear from the Borrowers

Check out the awesome work Circus Center is doing in the community and how an ALF loan helped in a cash-flow crunch.