Annenberg Foundation: Grants for Visual Art

OVERVIEW: Annenberg's main criteria for all its grantmaking, and how it considers each applicant, revolves around leadership, a commitment to diversity, innovation and organizational strength.

IP TAKE: While Annenberg makes a number of large gifts each year, the foundation is fairly democratic in its distribution of funds and also makes a number of grants on a much smaller scale as well.

PROFILE: Upon the occasion of his death in late 2002, Walter Annenberg gave $1 billion to the Metropolitan Museum of art and another $375 million to found the Annenberg Foundation.

In the past, Annenberg has supported "Expressionism: The Graphic Impulse," an exhibition on German Expressionist printmaking, with $300,000. The same year, the Museum of Jurassic Technology received $100,000 from Annenberg to extend an exhibition of work by artists at the Culver City, California-based Roger Brown Residency Project.

Annenberg likes to give the majority of its big grantmaking dollars to large institutions with buildings that will (eventually) bear the Annenberg name. For instance, a few years back the foundation awarded the University of Southern California a total of $100 million in two grants — $50 million for the Annenberg Academic Building that will house classes in journalism and media to "foster creativity" and another $50 million to support the construction of the Annenberg Academic Building. A smaller grant of $5 million was awarded a few years ago for the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Such big grantmaking numbers may cause one to believe that the Annenberg Foundation will only make grants to projects that it can slap its name on. Thankfully, that isn't true. The foundation awards arts grants each year, large and small. What's better is that its artistic interests are very widespread. Here's a look:

On its grantmaking page, Annenberg expresses a forgiving attitude unique among many foundations. The foundation describes itself as "willing to take measured risks with a tolerance for occasional failure," if that is what it takes to find the truly worthy grantees. Also worth noting is that Annenberg states that prioritizes "nonprofit organizations serving Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties." You can find more information including the grantmaking guidelines here. Grants are for one year, and range between $10,000 and $100,000. Annenberg supports the visual arts in particular through its Arts & Culture initiative.

Remember, the foundation does not shy away from taking "measured risks." Even if you think your organization's artistic endeavors are a bit too far "out there," that may not necessarily be the case, making it worth taking a run at Annenberg.


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