OVERVIEW: The U.S. Bancorp Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the financial services company, and provides grants in arts and culture in the areas where its bank has a presence.
IP TAKE: The U.S Bancorp Foundation is a vibrant grantor to dance organizations—particularly performance groups—within its focus on arts and culture, viewing this support as part of a larger context of community development and uplift. This funding includes the potential for general operating costs, and it’s an open application process. But keep in mind that your project must take place in one of the 25 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. But be aware that formally speaking (including by IRS designation), the foundation we’re discussing is the U.C. Bancorp Foundation.
No matter what you call it, through its "Play" funding priority within its "Community Possible Grant Program", this foundation is committed to giving grants to arts organizations, with directives to develop audiences (particularly in underserved populations), bring “select and limited civic amenities” to rural communities, and to promote arts education.
Dance is a featured aspect of this granting area, viewed by the foundation as a key to its granting mandate is to support uplift and development for communities in need—within the 25 states where its banking occurs: 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 places a heavy emphasis on ballet performance organizations (though perhaps they are also applying more than other dance groups). But in a nice change of pace, these dance organizations are working and producing within a range of communities—big, small, urban, and rural.
Across all types and focus areas of giving, the foundation’s watchwords are “innovative” and “effectiveness.” It doesn’t define either adjective further, but they are certainly descriptors to be mindful of when you approach U.S. Bancorp Foundation for a grant.
Functionally speaking, you can apply for a grant on the foundation's website.
A recent sampling of dance grants dispensed by U.S. Bancorp Foundation include:
- $25,000 to the Minnesota Shubert Center for Dance and Music (Minneapolis, MN)
- $12,000 to the Pacific Northwest Ballet (Seattle, WA)
- $7,500 to Ballet Arizona (Phoenix, AZ)
- $6,000 to the Oberlin Dance Collective (San Francisco, CA)
- $3,000 to the National Dance Institute New Mexico (Santa Fe, NM)
- $2,500 to the International Dance and Music Festival (Rexburg, ID)
- $2,000 to Dancing People Company (Madison, WI)
On the corporate side of the equation, 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 if you're a very big player, you can try to pursue this avenue as well.
And on a final note, U.S. Bancorp Foundation earmarks grants for general operating support as well as program support (and capital projects too, under stricter circumstances).
- Dan Bernert, Assistant Vice President, Corporate Sponsorships