BNSF Railway Foundation: Grants for Music

OVERVIEW: The BNSF Railway Foundation prioritizes local and regional orchestras and symphonies.

IP TAKE: While this is an approachable funder, the grant process at BNSF can take anywhere from three months to a year.  Applicants should plan accordingly well in advance. 

PROFILE: Since 1996, the BNSF Railway Foundation has been the charitable arm of BNSF Railway. It grew out of a merger between the Burlington Northern and Santa Fe railroads. The foundation seeks to "support and improve the general welfare and quality of life in communities served by BNSF." BNSF's key programs prioritize civic society, culture, education, health and human services, youth organizations, federated organizations, among others. It also funds a variety of scholarships. 

BNSF makes its music-related grants through its "cultural" priority. It largely supports local and regional orchestras and symphonies. BSNF prioritizes projects that  help expose underserved children to the world of art. Grants range from $2,500 to $500,000. However, most awards range between $1,000 to $10,000. The foundation geographically focuses on the 28 states in which the railways have main lines with a strong operational and employee presence.

Although BNSF tends to prioritize past grantees, plenty of grantmaking room remains for new organizations. The foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications throughout the year, and applications can be accessed through its website.

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