A few years ago, the City Administrator handed the City of Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program (CFP) a mandate to streamline their grant process. That meant finding a new, digital system to accept and evaluate applications for each of its three grant programs.

They first attempted to bring their grant applications online with in-house software, but longtime applicants, many of whom had received funding from the City for over twenty years, hesitated to submit their work electronically. Even worse, once the applications did start rolling in, applicants and program staff alike found the new software glitchy and difficult to use.

After this initial misfire, the CFP turned to Screendoor in 2014 and never looked back.

With the help of Screendoor’s intuitive form-builder and workflow management tools, the CFP streamlined the granting process for both applicants and panelists. As a result of the simplified application process, staff received fewer support emails and phone calls than they had in previous years.

Beyond improving the applicant experience, the new workflow rendered many administrative tasks, like printing and filing applications and tabulating rating averages, obsolete. With Screendoor keeping all of CFP’s data secure and consistent, the applications process requires only one staff person to manage.

Best of all, since panelists could review applications and work samples online beforehand, public review took just a few hours, instead of a full day.

Denise Pate, the Cultural Funding Coordinator, couldn’t be happier.

“[Screendoor] was like having another staff person,” says Denise. “The rating system is easy to use and saves us so much time during the actual panel day. We spend only ten minutes per application during public review. At the end of the day, we rank the scores and assign the allocation.”

With Screendoor’s robust workflow tools, Denise can focus on the task at hand—supporting Oakland’s vibrant art community—rather than looking for misplaced files or coordinating panelists.

About the Program

The City of Oakland’s Cultural Funding Program (CFP) supports Oakland-based art and cultural activities with general operating support for arts organizations and project-based grants for individual artists, neighborhood arts, and arts education.


less time spent processing applications in Screendoor
applications received for all programs

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Screendoor was like having another staff person. The rating system is easy to use and saves us so much time during the day.”
Photo of Denise Pate Denise Pate Cultural Funding Coordinator, City of Oakland

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Testimonial photo used under a CC-BY 2.0 license.