Colburn Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: Endowed in 1999 by the late Richard D. Colburn, the Colburn Foundation aims to support the classical music community in Southern California. 

FUNDING AREAS: Music, Music Education 

IP TAKE: Those not working within classical music and music education, needn't apply. The foundation has a strong web presence, but unsolicited requests are not encouraged. Grantseekers interested in getting on this funder's radar should reach out to its grants administrator.

PROFILE: The Colburn Foundation was endowed in 1999 by the late Richard D. Colburn, who steered Consolidated Electrical Distributors (CED). The Colburn family was once on Forbes' Richest American Families list. Colburn was known for keeping a low profile, but apart from business, he also had a deep passion for the arts, particularly music. He was an amateur viola player for most of his life, and also was a lifetime director of the Los Angeles Philharmonic, a benefactor of the annual Colburn Celebrity Recitals, and a cofounder of the Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, among other civic involvements. Colburn also helped finance the Colburn School, a performing arts school in downtown Los Angeles that focuses on music and dance. 

The Colburn Foundation is now steered by a small board and staff, which includes several Colburn family members. The foundation is well-endowed with assets (more than $153 million in a recent year) and has given away around $6 million annually in recent years. The foundation states that its mission is to "promote a vibrant classical music community, particularly in Southern California, and to make grants to artistically excellent organizations for the performance and presentation of classical music, as well as for music education and the training of musicians." 

The Colburn Foundation continues to direct millions to the Colburn School, which has received tens of millions through the years. Other big winners include Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, Los Angeles Opera Company, and LA Philharmonic. Some of the foundation's other grantees in the Los Angeles area have included:

Most grants are under $100,000 but a few exceed that number. Grantseekers should be aware that the foundation discourages unsolicited requests. The first step for anyone looking to get on this funder's radar is to email the grants administrator, Felix Racelis, at


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