Colburn Foundation: Los Angeles Grants

OVERVIEW: Endowed by the late Richard D. Colburn, the Colburn Foundation supports the classical music community in Southern California. 

FUNDING AREAS: Classical music, classical music education 

IP TAKE: This foundation has a very narrow focus and 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). 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 foundation seeks  “to promote a healthy and vibrant classical music community, primarily 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.”

All funding is centered on classical music and classical music education. 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 the Renaissance Arts Academy, Segerstom Center for the Arts, and the Philharmonic Society of Orange County.

Most grants are under $100,000, but a few occasionally exceed that amount. The foundation typically restricts grantmaking to Southern California, specifically Los Angeles. It prioritizes established organizations over smaller ones. Colburn has a process of inviting returning grantseekers to reapply for funding and a reaching out to a very limited number of new organizations to potentially support.

The foundation discourages unsolicited requests; however, it accepts emails through the foundation administrator, Felix Racelis, at fracelis@colburnfoundation.org. The Colburn Foundation is now steered by a small board and staff, which includes several Colburn family members. Contact the foundation at admin@colburnfoundation.org or 323-464-4640 with general questions.

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