Surdna Foundation: Grants for Dance

OVERVIEW: Through its Thriving Cultures Program, Surdna awards grants to a wide range of arts and culture organizations, and especially "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."

IP TAKE: If your organization can tie your proposal to one of Surdna's other two program areas of "Sustainable Environments" or "Strong Local Economies," it may have that much better a chance of gaining close consideration for support. Note that Surdna accepts unsolicited letters of inquiries, but you must be invited to submit a full proposal.

PROFILE: The Surdna Foundation has been around since 1917, but it did not begin its arts program until 1994. The big dance programs and centers may get a lot of attention from Surdna, but they aren't the only ones that are funded. In the past, smaller dance programs have received grants from Surdna. To access a list of past grantees, click here.

To be eligible to apply for a Surdna Thriving Culture grant, you must be based in the U.S. Also, the foundation does not fund individuals, capital campaigns or building construction projects. Surdna has several programs within its Thriving Culture initiative: Teens' Artistic Cultural Advancement, Community Engaged Design, Artists and Economic Development, and Artists Engaged in Social Change. Look over these program areas to see where your dance organization fits. Here's the breakdown:

  • Teens' Artistic and Cultural Advancement: This area focuses on "artistic training programs that help teens explore their cultural identity and equip them with the life-enhancing skills they need to achieve their educational and career goals."
  • Community Engaged Design: This area focuses on involving members of the community such as artists, architects, and designers "in decisions that will result in community benefit and social impact."
  • Artists and Economic Development: This area seeks to provide artists with business training and financial resources that "enable them to be, and create, valuable economic assets for their communities."
  • Artists Engaging in Social Change: This area supports "the potential of artists to be catalysts for social change and to promote the cultural traditions of their communities."

Letters of Inquiry are accepted on an ongoing basis and grantseekers should expect to hear back from the foundation in about 90 days.

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