OVERVIEW: The Delmas Foundation might not be a household name, but it has a fairly focused grant-making strategy, and one of its largest programs is dialed in exclusively on the humanities. Each year, Delmas provides more than 100 grants, generally ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, to humanities scholars across the country, in just about any subject in the field. The foundation also has programs that support research libraries as well as efforts related to virtually all aspects of Venetian history and culture.
IP TAKE: Funding from Delmas is on a smaller scale, but the application process is straightforward and the foundation is a valuable, consistent patron for humanities scholarship.
PROFILE: The Delmas Foundation describes its strategy as “furthering the humanities along a broad front, supporting projects which address the concerns of the historical studia humanitatis.” Colleges and universities have consistently received support from the foundation, which holds to the vision set forth by its founders, Gladys and Jean Paul Delmas.
In terms of its Humanities program, a wide range of projects are supported. In the past, grantees have been associated with history, archaeology, literature and just about every other field that falls under the humanities umbrella. In addition to higher ed institutions, funding in this realm is also available for "humanistic enterprises such as learned societies, museums, and major editorial projects."
One strategy that could help set grantseekers apart would be to propose projects that are interdisciplinary in scope; the foundation states that it "welcomes projects that cross the boundaries between humanistic disciplines and explore the connection between the humanities and other areas of scholarship."
The foundation’s Research Libraries program is another potential funding source for post-secondary institutions. Here’s how the program is described:
Wherever possible, grants to libraries seek to promote cooperative cataloging projects, with an emphasis on access to archival, manuscript, and other unique sources; some elements of interpretation and exhibition; scholarly library publications; bibliographical and publishing projects of interest to research libraries; and preservation/conservation work and research.
For the most part, the foundation offers grants from $5,000 to $25,000, with a small portion coming in above that level. Yet the foundation has consistently made more than 100 grants every year in the recent past.
There are also grants available through the Venetian Programs. These awards provide funding for three areas: research into the history of Venice and the Veneto in Italy (including fieldwork and library research); support for publications that "disseminate the work" of Delmas-awarded Venetian researchers; and nonprofits (universities included) that "support of Venetian scholarship and culture" through publications, exhibits, or other similar efforts.
Outside the scope of the humanities, an additional program at Delmas is focused on supporting the performing arts, specifically in terms of “dance, music and theater.” However, this program is limited to recipients based in New York City, and higher ed does not appear to be a priority in this program's giving.
The foundation’s application process and guidelines are fairly direct and straightforward. Other than grants to individuals and publishers through the Venetian program, funding is available for non-profit organizations only, and (again excluding Venetian researchers and publishers) applications are accepted year-round in the form of a two-page letter describing the project (as well as proof of non-profit status). Note that first-time applicants must mail their documents in hard copy (after that applications can be submitted via email), and that the foundation estimates a three-to-four month turnaround to respond to an application.
Pele Bauch, Foundation Administrator