Given that the world of dance philanthropy remains relatively small, securing grants for dance organizations or programs can be challenging. However, various major and modest foundations fund dance at significant levels, and new funders are coming on the scene as wealthy dance enthusiasts turn to philanthropy. Also, a number of local foundations in large cities give generously to dance in an unpopulated area of giving, so more regional and state grantmakers appear than those that give nationally.
We're keeping up with what dance funders are doing in the field, and everything we're learning is contained in this guide, which is updated and expanded regularly. Only paid subscribers can access this resource (subscribe here).
The 3M Foundation invests in a variety of local dance companies.
AAS funds fellowships that improve the American people’s understanding of pre-twentieth century history.
The AAUW funds women academics and supports women and girls through activism and empowerment. It also provides fellowships related to dance and the arts.
Ameriprise supports issues in U.S. communities. Supports performing arts, including dance, because of their importance in cultural enrichment.
The Anderson Center is an artist community in rural Minnesota that provides opportunities for residencies and retreats. It supports the arts in the upper Midwest.
The Arizona Commission on the Arts supports arts projects and organizations within the state. Though it does not conduct grantmaking nationally, the commission facilitates crucial arts funding in an unpopulated area of giving.
This foundation has funded dance companies from underrepresented populations, and supports dance education and advocacy.
ArtsKC supports arts projects and organizations within a five county region that includes Missouri and Kansas.
Backs presenting organizations in the Midwest that bring in touring dancers. But the touring artists and groups can come from anywhere in the world.
Astraea funds grants for lesbians and queer women, trans and gender non-conforming people, intersex people, and people of color. The foundation also supports rights organizations that advance racial, economic, and gender-related justice.
The Awesome Foundation is a collection of autonomous chapters, each tasked with promoting the cause of awesome.
Support for dance falls under the Ayrshire Foundation’s Community Culture giving, which the foundation prioritizes with a mission of "supporting local arts and historical institutions to enhance the vibrancy of our communities.”
The Bogliasco Foundation, near Genoa, provides short residencies to scholars and creative artists from all over the world.
The Brown Foundation prioritizes supports both large and small arts organizations in Texas, but conducts some work across the United States.
Capezio backs groups that increase awareness and appreciation for dance in all its forms, and that encourage emerging talents.
This funder makes grants to promote and strengthen Tarrant County, Texas, which includes Fort Worth, but also funds nationwide.
DFA seeks to promote and preserve dance on film and video.
Dizzy Feet funds dance education, primarily for students from low-income families.
The foundation was created upon the death of famed music publisher Max Dreyfus, who worked with American greats like George Gershwin and Cole Porter, providing smaller grants that can make a big difference.
One of the better-known dance grantmakers, Doris Duke gives grants that range in size from $20,000 to $2 million. It typically funds nonprofit organizations but also has an initiative to grant funds to individual contemporary dancers.
The Fidelity Foundation has made arts and culture, including dance, a primary focus of its philanthropy. It takes a rigorous business-model approach to the projects it funds. Doesn't offer general operating support.
Focuses on arts and culture, civic projects, and education through its support of community-driven programs, and often gives small grants to dance organizations.
Makes substantial investments in arts and culture throughout the U.S. Though not a stated restriction, its recent grants have primarily focused on San Francisco. Does not accept unsolicited requests.
Fordney supports children and young adults who wish to dance competitively. It also offers grants to nonprofits that discover and train dancers.
With more than $11 billion in assets, the Ford Foundation is one of the largest private foundations in the United States. It prioritizes addressing inequality and fostering social change.
FCA funds diverse dance artists and productions, and is not afraid of controversial or risky projects.
The Gilder Foundation broadly supports dance organizations around the United States. It does not name specific dance priorities.
One of the most prestigious awards in its field, the Guggenheim Fellowship is considered a mid-career award for those who are well established in their area of expertise.
The Hambidge Center’s residency program supports science and scholarship, architecture and design, culinary artisans, and artists of all disciplines.
The Yip Harburg Foundation makes grants in support of social and political activism in keeping with its founder’s legacy.
Hearst Foundations backs organizations with operating budgets of at least $1 million through its culture funding priority, which includes a substantial commitment to dance.
The Hellman Foundation supports a variety of causes that reflect the founders’ diverse interests. It prioritizes funding dance in the Bay Area, but funds work across the United States.
This funder is an independent federal government agency that supports projects that highlight the cultural, educational, and intellectual exchange between the United States and Japan.
Jubilation supports grantmaking dedicated to young people's expression of joy through music and dance.
The Kentucky Foundation for Women prioritizes women and feminist artists in Kentucky.
Backs programs ensuring the arts become a key part of disenfranchised communities, and especially supports efforts that increase opportunities and access to low-income folks during revitalization.
The Leeway Foundation broadly supports women and trans artists who create art for social change.
Macy’s makes substantial and widespread contributions in the area of arts and culture; dance (particularly ballet) is a substantial part of this giving. Some of this happens through the foundation for national dance programming, but much more of it occurs locally through the corporation.
MAP Fund offers grants to diverse artists who challenge social and cultural norms.
Makes grants in five program areas, one of which is "arts and cultural heritage." It funds efforts in performance, art history, and conservation. It also supports increased public access to the arts, research, and collaborative efforts.
The Mid-America Alliance makes grants to individual artists and arts organizations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.
This funder is primarily focused on bringing artistic expression into its region, but it wants that artistic work to come from all around the world. Dance performance and community engagement are a primary focus of the foundation's giving through its support of presenting organizations.
Minnesota State Arts Board supports arts projects and organizations within the state in an underfunded grantmaking space not funded widely on a national scale.
The Mississippi Arts Commission supports artists and arts organizations working in the state.
The Missouri Arts Council broadly supports arts projects within the state.
NEA is an independent government organization that funds art projects that celebrate artistic American excellence.
Young Arts focuses on dancers aged 15 to 18 in the areas of ballet, jazz, modern, tap, world dance, and choreography. The NYAF’s goal is to cultivate and develop the next generation of artists with mentorship, scholarships, and other opportunities.
New England Foundation for the Arts actively and generously gives to artists and arts organizations throughout the United States (and sometimes internationally, too). Dance is at the forefront of this giving.
The North Carolina Arts Council supports artists and arts organizations working in the state.
Open Meadows grants support women and girls leading and benefitting from projects that address the relationship between the arts and activism/social justice.
The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage awards grants exclusively to organizations and individuals in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region. It supports artists and organizations with ambitious, imaginative projects.
Awards scholarships and fellowships to individual dancers and choreographers. Nominations must be made by a nonprofit school or dance company.
The Prudential Foundation’s arts and civic infrastructure program invests in organizations that promote arts as an economic driver and quality of life issue.
The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation funds small- and mid-sized visual arts groups and projects.
The Jerome Robbins Foundation supports dance, theater and performing arts. It awards about $2 million in grants annually to support outstanding artistic achievement and new works.
Salesforce maintains a broad approach to funding dance organizations and local and national projects.
The San Francisco Foundation is one of the largest community foundations in the nation and funds a broad range of equity-focused nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area.
Shubert awards grants in only two performing arts fields — theater and dance. Although the foundation tends to favor ballet dance companies, it does support a number of dance disciplines.
The South Arts Fund supports organizations that present touring artists from out of state, with an eye toward enriching the economic, social, cultural, and educational vitality of the South. The fund connects the arts to key state and national policies and advances excellence in the arts.
The Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council supports artists and arts development in the region. Its grantmaking encompasses dance, literary arts, theatre, music, and the visual arts.
The Sprint Foundation invests in small local music organizations. The foundation occasionally supports larger musical institutions.
Through its Thriving Cultures Program, Surdna awards grants to organizations that "support efforts to encourage teens to explore the arts, involve artists in community development projects and foster the growth and success of local artists as economic engines and agents for social change."
Union Pacific Foundation places a consistent emphasis on the arts through its directive to “improve and enrich the general quality of life in the community.” Dance makes up the foundation's smallest sliver of arts support, but it's still there.
United States Artists provides highly competitive, unrestricted $50,000 fellowships to accomplished and innovative artists across several creative disciplines, including dance and choreography.
Makes travel grants to enable U.S.-based music, dance and theater artists to perform at theater festivals and performing arts markets anywhere in the world.
The U.S Bancorp Foundation is a vibrant grantor to dance organizations within its focus on arts and culture—particularly performance groups. It views this support as part of a larger context of community development and uplift.
The foundation funds arts and culture in the 44 states in which it operates, and dance has a real presence within this realm.
The foundation invests in organizations that support and serve dance in the Western United States; however, it funds dance artists and projects across the nation.
The Wyoming Arts Council supports arts projects within the state in an underfunded area of grantmaking not well-supported nationally.
A modest operation, the Ziff Foundation does not have a dance grantmaking program, but has made some significant dance grants that hint at bigger things to come.
Other Regional and Local Dance Funders
The following is a quick list of foundations and endowments that only award dance grants in their local and regional areas:
James Irvine Foundation: The foundation is one of the largest funders of the arts in California. However, since changing its arts grantmaking strategy, funding for dance got a bit tighter, though it still awards grants. If you live in the Golden State, you definitely need to check out Irvine.
The New York Community Trust: Granting over $15 million annually, the New York Community trust awards arts grants across all disciplines to mid-sized organizations with annual operating budgets of between $250,000 and $2 million. The trust accepts grant applications on an ongoing basis, but only reviews them five times per year.
William Penn Foundation: The foundation awards over $30 million in arts and culture grants to Philadelphia-based organizations yearly, giving recent dance grants to Dance/USA. Penn is one of the top 10 foundations for arts and culture grants in the United States, so check out its Creative Community Program and the new grant guidelines.