The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation: Grants for Visual Arts

OVERVIEW: The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation supports organizations where its grants “can make a big difference.” Funding priorities include 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 does not have a mission statement, and it does not 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 is open to all 501(c)(3) organizations who can make that case and has an open application with no geographic restrictions.

PROFILE: The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation was established in 1965 upon the death of Max Dreyfus, a pre-eminent publisher of American music for composers like Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, and Lerner and Loewe. Dreyfus was also a founding member of ASCAP. The foundation seeks to award “grants to organizations for whom a small amount of money can make a big difference.”

That rich history in American music provides an intuitive explanation why this foundation supports the arts, including visual arts. The foundation does not declare a mission statement or a particular funding focus. In fact, it is intentionally vague in this respect, 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.”

A key element of grant seekers’ “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 - $10,000) but it still seeks to have a big impact on grant seekers’ ability to execute.

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 U.S., so long as they are a 501(c)(3).

The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation’s past visual arts grantees include: $10,000 to the Norman Rockwell Museum (Stockbridge, MA) for its Mort Kunstler exhibition; $10,000 to A Studio in the Woods (New Orleans, LA) for program support; $10,000 to the National Gallery of Art (Washington, DC) for its Art Around the Corner program; $7,500 to the Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, OH) for its Sparking Imaginations program; $5,000 to the Long Island Museum of American Art, History, and Carriages (Stony Brook, NY) for general operating support; $5,000 to the Winterthur Museum (Winterthur, DE) for general operating support; $5,000 to the School of Visual Arts (New York, NY) for its Critical Theory and the Arts program.

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

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