Grants Program Manager

Click here to download this job description as a PDF.

Job Summary: We’re looking for a skilled Grants Program Manager – someone with a heart for the arts and people and a head for the business of art. The successful candidate will manage and implement the Council’s Grants Program, which provides general operating support and capacity building to arts organizations and project support and professional development for individual artists. The Grants Program Manager also develops and coordinates the Arts Council Associates, a regular meeting of the community of arts organizations and artists, and is the first point of contact for our Fiscal Sponsorship Program. Perhaps the most critical component of this position is nurturing strong values-based relationships with organizations and artists countywide, particularly in historically under-resourced and underinvested communities. Related duties include bilingual communications, program planning, and data management. This position manages an annual grantmaking budget between $300,000 – $350,000 and a 100-120 grants portfolio.


Schedule: 40 hours/week. Flexible schedule, requiring occasional evenings and weekends.  

Locations: Main office at 1070 River Street, Santa Cruz, and occasionally at Watsonville office at 118 First Street, Watsonville. Arts Council Santa Cruz County has a work-from-home policy that allows staff to work off-site as appropriate and based on COVID-19 County-recommended safety protocols.

Reporting: This position reports to the Deputy Director

Supervisory Responsibilities: Operations & Grants Associate

Salary & Benefits:

  • Salary range $60,000 – $70,000, full-time, exempt 
  • We believe in work-life balance and are committed to keeping the workload in alignment with the true hours worked
  • 10 vacation days, 12 sick days, 11 paid holidays, additional paid vacation during annual closure between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and a flexible, family-friendly schedule
  • We provide medical, dental, and vision insurance with the Arts Council covering 100% of the costs of the insurance package for employees and 30% dependent coverage

About us: For 40+ years, Arts Council Santa Cruz County has led the charge to support the unique, ever-evolving Santa Cruz County arts community. We’re passionate advocates for the arts and the organizations and people who make art happen. We believe in the power of the arts to transform our community, and our daily work of art reflects that belief. Our staff and board are deeply committed to and fired up about our mission to generate creativity, vibrancy, and connection in Santa Cruz County.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities: 

Planning & Strategy (30%)

  • Develops and implements Grants Program work plan in alignment with organizational strategy and equity work plans.
  • Evaluate and facilitate program process improvements and set priorities, in collaboration with the Grants Committee; available thought-partnership from leadership staff.
  • Conduct research on best practices and participate in professional development opportunities; participate in discussions in the field about equitable grantmaking and funding.
  • Contribute to the overall health and vitality of the Council through active participation in strategic discussions and providing thought leadership.
  • Manage special projects as needed and as they relate to our organization’s strategic focus of community investment.

Grants Management (65%)

  • Promote the Grants Program to the community
  • Conduct targeted outreach with artists and organizations, particularly in communities of color, to support the program’s racial equity goals 
  • Provide communications staff with timely program dates and materials to support program marketing
  • Review, evaluate, and update all grant programs and processes annually  
  • Supervise maintenance of online grants management system, in Spanish and English languages
  • Manage the entire grantmaking process from initial application to final reporting
  • Maintain updated records of grant program metrics; provide data as needed to support program development and fundraising
  • Recruit, train, and manage volunteer grant review panelists
  • Staff Grants Committee and recruit and train new members
  • Provide an equity review of applicant pools for the Grants Committee
  • Review and score proposals, draft recommendations, and present recommendations to the Board of Directors
  • Develop and deliver bilingual grant orientation sessions and training
  • Support artists and organizations through the grantmaking process with support from the Operations & Grants Associate
  • Coordinate translation support and bilingual communications, where needed
  • Provide ongoing support to current grantees
  • Conduct grantee site visits and attend events to build relationships and better understand needs
  • Participate in professional development opportunities

Arts Council Associates (<5%)

  • Plan and coordinate 4-5 annual meetings in collaboration with the Associates’ Chair and Operations & Grants Associate
  • Promote the Associates to the community

Fiscal Sponsorship (<5%)

  • Serve as applicants’ initial point of contact for the program and educate them about the program
  • Serve as a thought partner for applicants through the application process and steward proposal through the approval phase


Education: BA or BS degree or equivalent experience 

Knowledge, Skills, & Experience: 

  • Experience working in a nonprofit setting, preferably in the arts
  • Familiarity providing technical assistance to nonprofits and artists 
  • Experience with and understanding of grantmaking practices and a commitment to racial equity and equitable grantmaking
  • Keen interest in and knowledge about the Santa Cruz creative sector
  • Experience and enjoyment working with creative types
  • Successful facilitator and effective trainer 
  • Able to read and understand financial statements
  • Familiarity with fiscal sponsorship
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Creates a welcoming atmosphere and communicates clear boundaries
  • Able to think big picture and enjoy focusing on the details
  • Ability to work cooperatively and flexibly on a range of projects
  • Ability to lead projects with little supervision
  • Proficient using the latest versions of Google Suite, Microsoft Office products, Adobe Acrobat, and mail merges
  • Experience and facility managing and using web-based systems
  • Ability to synthesize and analyze information and communicate findings
  • Experience managing volunteers 


  • Passion for the arts
  • Committed to growing relationships based on mutual respect
  • High personal standards and ethics
  • A  curious disposition and commitment to learning
  • Enjoys interacting with staff, board members, program constituents and participants, and the community
  • Ask questions, share opinions, and disagree congenially
  • Quick and resourceful problem-solver

What it’s like to work with us: We operate a highly collaborative and supportive workplace where staff is mainly self-directed. We provide opportunities for and expect staff to contribute to their work and the organization’s strategic direction. We work hard, and we have fun. We take responsibility for mistakes and celebrate successes. Arts Council Santa Cruz County is an award-winning, Family-Friendly Workplace, and we love our work.

To apply: Please send your resume and a cover letter in a single PDF to In your cover letter, tell us about your interest in the role and why you would be a great addition to the Arts Council Santa Cruz County team. Please title your email and PDF as follows: Your last name – Grants Program Manager.  We will not review applications missing a cover letter. 

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filled.

If you want to chat a bit about the role before applying, feel free to contact Jim Brown at to arrange a time to talk. We’ll begin interviews the second week of November and hope to hire within the month.

Arts Council Santa Cruz County is an Equal Opportunity Employer: We are committed to providing services and making resources available to every resident of Santa Cruz County without regard to ethnicity, color, creed, religion, age, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, military status, marital status, political opinion, national origin, familial status, mental and physical disability, or source of income. People of color are strongly encouraged to apply.