The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation: Grants for Visual Arts

OVERVIEW: The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation awards grants to organizations where its grants “can make a big difference.” Giving emphases are the arts, the environment, health, housing and education.

IP TAKE: The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation is an interesting blend of elusive and accessible. It doesn’t have a mission statement, and it doesn’t declare its areas of interest, instead stating it would rather keep its coffers open to organizations that make the most compelling cases for its support. But it’s open to all 501(c)(3) outfits who can make that case, with an open application and no geographic restrictions, so long as you’re based in the U.S.

PROFILE: The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation was established in 1965, upon the death of Max Dreyfus, a pre-eminent publisher of American music. If you don't know his name, you likely know at least some of the composers he partnered with: Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, and Lerner and Loewe, for starters.

That rich history in American music provides an intuitive explanation why this foundation supports the arts, including visual arts. But that's about all the “why” you're going to get, because this foundation does not declare a mission statement, nor any particular focus of its giving. In fact, it purposefully leaves the door wide open, stating that it “does not establish funding priorities on an annual basis, but rather supports worthwhile activities for which an organization has made a compelling case to receive funding.”

So a major thrust of your own “compelling case” should be to establish why support from The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation will make a big difference. The foundation views its grants as small ones (the typical range is $1,000 - $20,000) but it still wants to have a big impact on your ability to execute your visual arts endeavor.

The foundation is also open-minded about how its funds could be used, and will provide general operating support and contribute to capital campaigns in addition to giving program support—to organizations anywhere in the United States, so long as you’re a 501(c)(3).

The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation’s recent visual arts grantees include:

The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation has an open application process with two deadlines, May and November.

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