FirstEnergy Foundation: Grants for Dance

OVERVIEW: The FirstEnergy Foundation prioritizes arts and culture, civic projects, and education through its support of community-driven programs.

IP TAKE: The FirstEnergy Foundation gives modest amounts to a long list of organizations, so while this funder will not cover all funding needs, it will pay attention. The FirstEnergy Foundation is an avid supporter of dance organizations and programming in communities that receive FirstEnergy services, though in recent years it has been less active in this category than other realms of the performing arts. It largely supports local, grassroots work rather than international or national work. The foundation prefers grant seekers that have created additional partnerships and cultivated other funding resources to assure their program’s financial health. The foundation asks applicants to discuss these partnerships and funding sources on the grant application.

PROFILE: The FirstEnergy Foundation is the philanthropic offshoot of FirstEnergy, a “diversified energy company” headquartered in Akron, OH. The foundation seeks to contribute “to local nonprofit organizations” to “help strengthen the social and economic fabric of our communities.” It does this by giving to civic and economic development, education initiatives, and arts and culture in the communities in which it has offices and provides services. The foundation’s dance programming support falls within its “vitality of our communities” category.

The FirstEnergy Foundation funds modestly, typically arts and culture amounts range from $500 to $2,500. However, depending on grant seekers’ needs, the foundation is open to increasing that amount an extra $50 or, on much rarer occasions, an extra $250,000 to help a project reach the next level. The foundation geographically restricts grants to the communities to which its corporate arm provides services. This includes swaths Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Ohio, and New Jersey, as well as portions of Maryland and Virginia. The foundation also supports music programming where it has additional business operations in Illinois and Michigan. Past dance grantees include GoggleWorks Center for the Arts and the Cuyahoga Valley Youth Ballet in Cuyahoga Falls, among others.

The FirstEnergy Foundation does not formally accept unsolicited grant applications. However, the foundation encourages grant seekers to make contact with local FirstEnergy management and to reach out to the staff of its Community Involvement Department. Meanwhile, grant seekers should familiarize themselves with the grant application they will eventually fill out.

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