The Stern Grove Festival is one of the oldest admission-free events in the United States. Since 1938, the event has featured performing artists through series at Sigmund Stern Grove in San Francisco. Since the Stern Grove Festival earns no revenue from ticket sales, it relies on the generosity of attendees to cover the costs of the concerts and outreach programs featured each year. While the organization that presents the event accepts general donations, it has also created a unique system through which individuals can directly donate to the segments of the festival that they wish to support.
The Local Artist Fund helps to cover artist fees and production expenses for performers based in and around San Francisco. The Youth Arts Fund provides materials and educational initiatives that bring art to more than 3,000 children each summer. The Classical Fund enables renowned classical performers to be accessible to all. The fund covers artist fees and associated expenses, while the Festival Fund goes toward the operating costs that keep the festival running smoothly each year.
For individuals who want to provide hands-on support, the event heavily relies on the generosity of volunteers.