Leon Levy Foundation: Grants for Fine Arts

OVERVIEW: The Leon Levy Foundation supports several different initiatives at various cultural institutions that are designed to "expand knowledge and encourage artistic efforts at the highest levels." They also provide unrestricted support grants to organizations in the visual, performing, and literary arts and humanities located predominantly in New York City and the immediate surrounding areas. 

IP TAKE: The Leon Levy Foundation is a tough nut to crack, as they don't accept unsolicited proposals or letters of inquiry for their grants. This is all about who you know, so if someone in your network has received a Levy grant in the past, that would be a good connection to pursue.

PROFILE: The Levy Foundation gives 99.9% of their arts grants to arts organizations in the New York City area. They also have a very small staff and do not accept any unsolicited proposals or letters of inquiry for their grants. If this doesn't discourage you (and it shouldn't), then you should know that their grants in the arts and humanities generally hover in the $5,000 to $10,000 range, with occasional grants reaching into the six figures for larger institutions.

Past grants include $10,000 to Young Concerts Artists for general operating support, $16,300 to the Writer's Room for general operating support, $131,000 to the Roundabout Theatre Company for project support, and $5,000 to ART/New York for general operating support. Each year they award a long list of grants to arts and cultural institutions, so their generosity is definitely not lacking in this area. The foundation does not appear to support individual artists.

Some good advice would be to find out if anyone you know has received a Levy grant in the past or knows someone who has and see if they could direct you to someone to contact to talk further. Also, always pay attention to who you're rubbing elbows with at various events and make sure to ask questions if you're in the market for grant money. You never know where it could lead. Lacking an immediate "in," this is probably the best tactic for Levy aside from going and knocking on their door, which would probably be frowned upon.

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