Calling All Bay Area Choreographers: Hewlett and Gerbode Have $50,000 for You

The Hewlett Foundation has been one of the biggest dancer funders in the Bay Area for quite awhile now. But since 2000, Hewlett has teamed up with another major Bay Area arts funder, the Gerbode Foundation, to make an even bigger impact.

The two foundations shift their focus from music to theater to dance each year, but the grant amounts are pretty comparable across disciplines.

What’s on the table now? Six choreography grants of $50,000 each are up for grabs. Although the foundations will consider proposed commissions in all forms of dance, certain types of dance programs usually emerge as the big winners. 

Past Hewlett/Gerbode choreography grantees have developed programs to support dancers with physical disabilities, celebrate under-valued cultures, combine multimedia features with dance, and pay tribute to past local choreographers. Gerbode previously granted choreographer commissioning awards in 2011, 2008, 2005, and 2000.

“Our partnership with the Hewlett Foundation provides an opportunity to support a variety of dance forms. We view these commissions not only as supporting the very best choreographers working today, but also as an investment in the future vitality of the dance field,” said Stacie Ma’a, president of the Gerbode Foundation.

Although the advisory panel that reviews grant proposals includes dance experts from all across the country, only Bay Area choreography groups are eligible for these grants. More specifically, your nonprofit dance group must be operating in the counties of Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Monterey, Napa, San Francisco, San Mateo, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Solano, or Sonoma, with at least three years of activity. Your nonprofit must also include a minimum choreography commission fee of $12,500 in the project budget.

These awards don’t cover works in progress, student ensembles, works-in-progress, or capital projects. Alternatively, these are grants for new productions, open to the public and the press, with performances planned between December 2015 and June 2017.

To apply for a Hewlett/Gerbode choreography grant this year, head over to Gerbode’s website and download the 2014 Guidelines and Application. Completed applications should be emailed and are due August 7th at 4:00 pm.

Although the Gerbode foundation has historically supported programs in arts and culture, environment, reproductive rights and health, and citizen participation, no other open grant initiatives or deadlines look to be advertised on the Gerbode website at this time. Not surprisingly, Hewlett’s performing arts program is a bit more established, and we expect to see ten new Hewlett grants going to Bay Area artistic expression and public engagement programs this year too.

The Hewlett foundation hands the administrative duties over to Gerbode for this choreography grantmaking program, so general questions can be directed to Olivia Malabuyo Tablante, Manager of Special Awards, at or Molly Barrons, Administrative Manager, at