OVERVIEW: The Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation is the only local foundation solely dedicated to supporting arts and culture in the city of Philadelphia. Arts education, community enrichment, and access to the arts are at the heart of this highly-focused funder’s mission.
FUNDING AREAS: Art education, local cultural groups, access to art, art for underserved populations, community art
IP TAKE: This is an excellent funder for small Philly arts groups with limited budgets to get in touch with. But keep in mind that the average grant amount is just $5,000.
PROFILE: George Bartol, the chairman and CEO of Hunt Manufacturing in Philadelphia established a grantmaking foundation in 1984. This is the company that’s made Xacto knives, Boston Staplers, Speedball inks, and other office and art supplies. Throughout his life, he was committed to arts education and always felt like Philadelphia had something different to offer than other cities across America. Philadelphia’s cultural assets and attractiveness to businesses set it apart in his mind. Bartol’s brother, Stockton Rush, was killed in World War II, and Bartol named his foundation after him.
Today, the Stockton Rush Bartol Foundation supports art and cultural groups throughout Philadelphia. Like many local art funders, this foundation looks for organizations that pursue social and community purposes—not just aesthetic ones. The foundation’s main purpose is to support arts education programs that connect local communities to the arts so that everyone has access to what they have to offer. Additionally, the foundation provides teaching artists with free professional development programs in order to build their networks and share their skills with students.
This locally focused grantmaker exclusively funds arts and cultural organizations in the city of Philadelphia, making it a key organization to know for local nonprofits. Requests from organizations outside the five-county Philadelphia area are not considered for grants. Arts groups eligible for consideration include organizations for dance, film, museums, performing arts, theater, visual arts, music, and literature. Recently, the foundation decided not to support organizations that have operating budgets over $2.5 million.
Application deadlines often fall in early May and site visits kick off in the summer of each year. Grants are awarded for amounts between $5,000 and $10,000. At the end of the third quarter in 2013, the foundation reported over $5.6 million in assets and $137,500 in total giving. In 2014, the foundation awarded $140,000 in grants ranging from $5,000 to $7,000 each. The foundation regularly provides both program support and general operating support.
This is also a great local funder for nonprofits to know because it’s gone relatively unnoticed by many potential grantees. In 2014, the foundation received only 46 applications, the fewest in recent history, and 24 organizations received grants that year. Those are pretty good odds!
Five grants were awarded to organizations that were new to the foundation, and almost all grantees had operating budgets under $1 million. In fact, one grantee had a budget of just $43,000 and secured a Bartol grant. So unlike other big arts funders around Philly, Bartol keeps an eye out for the little guy.
Past grantees include the following:
- 1812 Productions: $5,000 for theater residencies
- Art-Reach: $5000 general operating support
- Wagner Free Institute of Science: $5,000 for a science, art and nature program
- Spiral Q Puppet Theater: $5,000 for an in-school education program
- Play On, Philly: $5,000 for general operating support
If you’re interested in applying for a Bartol grant, you’ll need to submit an application via mail or hand delivery, as email and fax applications are not accepted. You’ll find the requirements for the proposal narrative on the foundation website, as well as tips for creating a strong proposal.
The foundation established the George Bartol Arts Education Award in 2001 to recognize outstanding local arts programs. Bartol’s children provide the funding for this $5,000 annual award, which isn’t something that you can apply for directly. The Philadelphia Dance Company (PHILADANCO) won the award in 2014.
“We applaud the dedication of Philadanco who, for more than four decades, has provided dance training at the highest level to those who might not have access otherwise,” said Bartol’s executive director, Beth Feldman Brandt. “The inclusion of life skills training in their programs has benefitted thousands of young people, helping them to become creative and disciplined individuals.”
Bertol conducted a survey of 100 artists in 2015 to get a sense of what they're up to around town. Interested artists can learn more about the asset mapping project and upcoming workshops on the teaching artist page. The foundation also understands that many artists don’t work 9-to-5 gigs and offers online “on demand” workshops about relevant topics like intellectual property and classroom partnerships, as well as documentary films about influential teaching artists.
Bartol is run by a two-person staff consisting of an executive director and program manager. There are currently 15 board members at the foundation as well. You can reach the staff by email or via phone at the Cherry Street office at 267-519-5310. Executive Director Beth Feldman Brandt is your best point of contact for grantseeker questions. To keep up with the Bartol Foundation, sign up for the general newsletter or the teaching artist newsletter mailing list.
- Beth Feldman Brandt, Executive Director
- Michelle Angela Ortiz, Program Manager
- Wendy Osterweil, Board Chair