Fiscal sponsorship for artists: What you need to know

Earlier this month, Catalyst of San Diego & Imperial Counties gathered with local artists, creatives, and culture bearers for an inside look at the promise and particulars of fiscal sponsorship. Convened at You Belong Here, a City Heights-based incubator space for creatives, this program was designed to shed light on a financial support vehicle that offers a variety of benefits for arts practitioners.

Catalyst’s Kamaal Martin and Nic Roc, CEO of You Belong Here, led the panel conversation featuring local leaders in the arts, Christine Jones, Chief of Civic Art Strategies at the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture; Dominic Porter, COO of RISE San Diego, and John Highkin, Executive Director of Fern Street Community Arts. These expert speakers laid out essential concepts for creatives considering operating under a fiscal sponsorship and for funders wanting to learn more about how this structure can make it easier to fund the creative community.


Fiscal sponsorship is a way for donors to fund initiatives that are not set up under tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organizations, including arts and culture. Artists can grow and sustain creative projects through grants and tax-deductible donations under a fiscal sponsor’s tax-exempt status.

How can A fiscal sponsorship benefit creatives?

Fiscal sponsorships can support capacity building and alleviate the burden of administration, tax, legal compliance, and financial management.  Depending upon the specifics of a fiscal sponsorship agreement, arts practitioners can also leverage an established nonprofit’s institutional knowledge and connections.


Fiscal sponsorships come in a variety of forms. They can vary in levels of support and administrative fees, which is why it’s essential to know what you’re looking for before taking the fiscal sponsorship route. Be sure to educate yourself on the different forms of fiscal sponsorship before starting your search for the right partner.

Fiscal sponsorship is not the sole solution to funding challenges, but the right partnership can clear obstacles and elevate your work. To ensure a successful fiscal relationship, artists and funders should do their due diligence to ensure partnerships align with individual missions, visions, values, and capacities.


familiarize yourself with funding pathways for artists and creatives