U.S. Bancorp Foundation: Grants for Dance

OVERVIEW: The U.S. Bancorp Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the financial services company. It provides grants in arts and culture in areas where its bank has a presence.

IP TAKE: The U.S Bancorp Foundation is a significant supporter of dance organizations, particularly performance groups, within its focus on arts and culture. This funding is an open application process and includes the potential for general operating costs. But keep in mind that funded dance projects must take place in one of the 28 states where its corporate side does its banking.

PROFILE: The U.S. Bancorp Foundation is the philanthropic arm of U.S. Bancorp, the financial services company based in Minneapolis. A word here about corporate nomenclature: The company U.S. Bancorp is often referred to as U.S. Bank, which is the signage their bank storefronts (and commercial website) use. By extension, U.S. Bancorp Foundation is often referred to as U.S. Bank Foundation—on its own website, the two names are used somewhat interchangeably. However, formally speaking (including by IRS designation), the foundation discussed here is the U.S. Bancorp Foundation.

Regardless of the flexibility in its naming, this foundation supports grantmaking to the arts. In past years, the foundation conducted $26.2 million in grant funding, more than 15 percent of that was dedicated to Cultural and Artistic Enrichment. Arts grantmaking here seeks to develop audiences (particularly in underserved populations), bring “select and limited civic amenities” to rural communities, and to promote arts education.

Dance is a primary aspect of this granting area. The foundation views support, uplift, and development for communities in need, within the 25 states where its banking occurs, as key to its granting mandate: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

In the world of dance, U.S. Bancorp Foundation prioritizes ballet performance groups. Across all funding areas, the foundation’s watchwords are “innovative” and “effectiveness.” It does not define either adjective further, but they are certainly descriptors for grant seekers to be mindful of when approaching U.S. Bancorp Foundation for a grant. Applications are online. Unlike many of its corporate granting peers who give to arts organizations, U.S. Bancorp Foundation earmarks grants for general operating support as well as program support (and capital projects too, under stricter circumstances). Past grantees include the Minnesota Shubert Center for Dance and Music and the Pacific Northwest Ballet, among various others.

On the corporate side, U.S. Bancorp has a Corporate Sponsorship program that supports a small and select group of “leading arts and cultural organizations.” Dance is not prevalent within this very short list, but it is another avenue for grant seekers to pursue.

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