Similar to the list I shared for nonprofits focusing on education, arts and culture tends to be a very popular issue area for American foundations. The large difference is that most funders tend to direct a majority of their arts funding to local and regional organizations. So, while there are a few global and national options below, most are targeted to their communities.
The arts and culture focus areas in this list include performing arts, artists, art education programs, museums, visual arts, and beyond. These organizations are currently offering grant and funding opportunities and/or accepting letters of inquiry or project ideas.
Grant research tip: When searching for grants, using geography is an effective way to target funders. Start small and work your way out. This means look first at foundations that are located in your city and state before searching across the country. As this list makes clear, many foundations tend to primarily fund organizations in their city and/or state. Visit Grantli to learn more about how I do my grant research and how your own organization can find the most appropriate funders and funding opportunities.
Funding Priority: Arts & Culture
- Ford Foundation
- Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
- The Shubert Foundation
- The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts
- The Kresge Foundation
- Knight Foundation
- Highland Street Foundation
- Bernard Osher Foundation
- Oregon Community Foundation
- The Pew Charitable Trusts
- The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee
- Cleveland Foundation
- Rasmuson Foundation
- Moody Foundation
- The Brown Foundation
- Texas Instruments Foundation
- Robert W. Woodruff Foundation
- Howard Gilman Foundation
- Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation
- Daniel & Pamella DeVos Foundation
- Albuquerque Community Foundation
- The Ahmanson Foundation
- RedLine Contemporary Art Center
The Ford Foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals or inquiries; however, they do have a year-round open funding opportunity in the arts, specifically for documentary filmmakers. They support artist-driven film and new media storytelling projects (documentary films) that explore aspects of inequality, as well as the organizations and networks that support these documentary projects. Learn more at the link above.
Areas served: Worldwide
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation seeks to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. Their arts and culture funding goes towards artists, curators, conservators, scholars, and organizations to ensure equitable access to excellent arts and cultural experiences.
Areas served: Worldwide
The Shubert Foundation is dedicated to sustaining and advancing the live performing arts in the United States, providing general operating support. Although their primary emphasis is on theatre, with a secondary focus on dance, they also offer some awards to arts-related organizations and MFA programs that help support their growth and advancement.
Areas served: US
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Art’s grantmaking activity is focused on serving the needs of artists by funding the institutions that support them. Grants are made for scholarly exhibitions at museums, curatorial research, visual arts programming at artist-centered organizations, artist residencies and commissions, arts writing, and efforts to promote the health, welfare, and first amendment rights of artists.
Areas served: US
The Kresge Foundation works to expand opportunities in America’s cities through grantmaking and social investing. The animating principle of Kresge’s Arts & Culture Program is equitable Creative Placemaking, which elevates arts, culture, and community-engaged design as central elements of community development and planning.
Areas served: US
The Knight Foundation believes arts and culture are at the core of community, connecting people to place and to each other. They fund artists and arts organizations that create, present, and provide access to artistic excellence and inspire engagement. Their investments focus on authenticity/inclusion, transformation, and the development of talent and organizations.
Areas served: San Jose, St. Paul, Detroit, Akron, Philadelphia, Charlotte, Macon, Miami
The Highland Street Foundation is committed to addressing the most pressing needs and concerns for children and families in Massachusetts and California. They provide access and opportunities in education, housing, mentorship, health care, environment, and the arts. While they do not accept unsolicited requests for funding, they will accept a letter of inquiry from organizations that align with their priorities.
Areas served: Massachusetts, California
The Bernard Osher Foundation accepts applications from a wide variety of arts and educational organizations, principally in the San Francisco Bay Area and in the state of Maine. Grantees over the years have included performing arts groups, literary programs, educational and environmental groups, and social service organizations.
Areas served: San Francisco (Greater Bay Area), Maine
The Oregon Community Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of all Oregonians through the power of philanthropy. They steward millions of dollars in annual support for essential arts and arts education programs in communities across the state.
Areas served: Oregon
The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage (the Center) is a multidisciplinary grantmaker and hub for knowledge-sharing, funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, dedicated to fostering a vibrant cultural community in Greater Philadelphia. Each year, the Center awards panel-adjudicated project grants in two areas—exhibitions and public interpretation, and performance—as well as 12 fellowships for individual artists. The Pew Charitable Trusts also provides support for special projects that enhance Philadelphia’s cultural vibrancy and improve the city’s broader economic outlook.
Areas served: Philadelphia/Pennsylvania
Nonprofit organizations working to improve the well-being of residents of Middle Tennessee* are eligible and are encouraged to apply for a discretionary grant. Grants will be awarded to nonprofit organizations across Middle Tennessee serving a wide range of causes, including: animal welfare, arts and humanities, conservation and preservation, environment, education, employment and training, health and human services, housing, and economic and community development.
Areas served: Tennessee (*specific counties only – listed on website)
The Cleveland Foundation is the community foundation serving Greater Cleveland, including Cuyahoga, Lake, and Geauga counties. It is made up of more than 1,300 funds representing individuals, families, organizations, and corporations. Its mission is to enhance the lives of all residents of Greater Cleveland, now and for generations to come.
Areas served: Cleveland/Ohio
The Rasmuson Foundation works to promote a better life for Alaskans. Grants are made to Alaska-based nonprofits, individual artists, and nonprofit leaders.
Areas served: Alaska
The Moody Foundation strengthens the future of Texas by investing in charitable projects that exhibit innovative ideas and make long-term improvement in Texas communities. They accept inquiry letters on an ongoing basis.
Areas served: Texas
The Brown Foundation aims to support organizations dedicated to ambitious goals, excellence, and exceptional impact. The foundation supports arts organizations of all sizes—from the performing arts to museums, from flagship institutions to small community-based groups—that bring passion, energy, and creativity to life in Houston and beyond.
Areas served: Houston/Texas
The Texas Instruments Foundation supports arts programs that help make Dallas a vibrant place to live and work. This includes support for premier arts organizations that emphasize diversity in reach and programming, as well as for diverse groups that have the capability to become larger in reach and impact.
Areas served: Dallas/Texas
The Robert W. Woodruff Foundation recognizes the importance of arts and cultural institutions in creating a vibrant community and attracting economic development. Their funding priorities are on the development of major Atlanta arts and cultural institutions as well as capital projects of arts and cultural institutions outside of Atlanta that promote community development in Georgia’s cities.
Areas served: Atlanta/Georgia
The Howard Gilman Foundation supports a cross-section of New York City-based performing arts organizations of varying structure, style, and budget size, including the following: professional performing arts organizations (dance companies, theatre companies, music ensembles), performing arts presenters, and service organizations that provide support for the performing arts and performing artists.
Areas served: New York City
The Muriel McBrien Kauffman Foundation focuses its philanthropic activities on the performing and visual arts, with the majority of grants being awarded to organizations in Kansas City. Funding is provided for general operations, program support, specific productions, fundraising events, and capital campaigns.
Areas served: Kansas City/Missouri
The Daniel & Pamella DeVos Foundation strives to make a positive impact in the greater Grand Rapids community. Art requests should provide opportunities for people to experience, understand, and appreciate how different kinds of artistic expression can enrich their lives. The Foundation considers programs that sustain arts and culture and increase participation in these areas: performing arts, visual arts and museums, arts education, and capital projects.
Areas served: Grand Rapids/Michigan
The Albuquerque Community Foundation’s arts & culture grants focus on two primary funding areas: organizations and programs that provide access to arts and culture for low-income and/or underserved populations and organizations supporting Albuquerque’s creative economy through visual and performing arts. While their current arts & culture 2021 grant window has passed, they do accept rolling applications for their smaller ‘Need To Know’ grants.
Areas served: Albuquerque/New Mexico
The Ahmanson Foundation serves Los Angeles County by funding cultural projects in the arts and humanities. The types of capital support common to these areas include: construction and renovation projects, equipment and furnishings, program vehicles, technology (including infrastructure, hardware, and software), and program supplies.
Areas served: Los Angeles/California
The RedLine Contemporary Art Center fosters education and engagement between artists and communities. “Arts in Society” encourages cross-sector work through the arts by supporting the integration of arts and culture into multiple disciplines critical to the health and well-being of Coloradans. The program provides grants ranging in size from $5,000 to $35,000 for projects that utilize the arts as an integral element in promoting social justice and community welfare.
Areas served: Colorado