OVERVIEW: The iconic dance choreographer and theatre producer Jerome Robbins, the driving force behind "West Side Story," "The King and I," and "Fiddler on the Roof," created his own foundation to support dance and theater works across the U.S. The foundation awards about $2 million in total annually, a number that has remained steady for several years.
IP TAKE: Dance enthusiasts should not overlook this important funder as the foundation supports both programming at large organizations and individual artists through the Jerome Robbins Award. The proposal process is very specific, but definitely worthwhile for both national and regional programs.
PROFILE: Founded in 1958 and named in honor of Robbin's mother, the Jerome Robbins Foundation funds the performing arts, dance, and theater in particular. Awards range from $1,500 on average to $100,000 for larger organizations. Over the course of his career, Robbins earned five Tony Awards, two Academy Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors, the National Medal of Arts, an Honorary Membership in the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, and many more accolades.
Awarding nearly $2 million in grants each year, recent dance program recipients include the New York City Ballet, the Gibney Dance Center, Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, and the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation. But the foundation extends awards beyond New York City as well. The Houston Ballet, Boston Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Oregon Ballet Theatre have been awarded funds ranging from $5,000 to $25,000 in recent years. To see a full list of grantees, click here.
Grants from the foundation are generally meant to be applied to operating costs. The Robbins Foundation no longer accepts unsolicited proposals; applications are now by invitation only. Visit the foundation's website for the latest information regarding submitting a proposal.
Upon Robbin's request, following the AIDS crisis of the 1980s, the foundation also supports organizations providing health services to those affected by the disease. These include both health care specific organizations such as the Harlem United Community AIDS Center as well as performing arts organizations with AIDS-related initiatives such as The Actors Fund.