The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation was established in 1965 upon the death of Max Dreyfus, a pre-eminent publisher of American music. If you don’t know his name, you likely know some of the composers he partnered with—Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, and Lerner and Loewe, for starters.
The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation's giving history clearly shows it supports education. But the foundation shares no marketing language or rhetoric as to the “why”—notably, this foundation does not declare a mission statement, nor any statements of focus for its giving. In fact, it purposefully leaves the door wide open, stating that it “does not establish funding priorities on an annual basis, but rather supports worthwhile activities for which an organization has made a compelling case to receive funding.” In terms of education, the K-12 age group has received more support as of late, but there have also been notable grants to early education organizations.
In order to capitalize on the possibliity, go back to the phrase “compelling case.” The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation wants to make a big difference in the work it supports. The foundation views its grants as small ones (the typical range is $1,000 - $10,000) but it still wants to have a big impact on your ability to execute your early education endeavor, so present your need and scale accordingly.
The foundation is open-minded about how its funds could be used, and will provide general operating support and contribute to capital campaigns in addition to giving program support—to organizations anywhere in the United States, so long as they're IRS-qualified non-profits.
The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation’s recent early education grantees include The Family Place (Washington, DC) with a grant of $17,980 for computer equipment, as well as $5,000 to the Long Island Children's Museum's Together to Kindergarten Program.
It's also worth noting that the foundation heartily supports arts education, so if your early education program integrates the arts, that could make for an especially strong pitch.
The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation has an open application process with two deadlines, May and November.