Hearst Foundations: Grants for Music

OVERVIEW: The Hearst Foundations have an overarching mission to “build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives.” They seek to achieve this by supporting well-established non-profit organizations that operate in the realms of culture, education, health, and social service.

IP TAKE: Grants from the Hearst Foundations are for already high-achieving organizations; your operating budget must be at least $1 million. Their focus on culture includes a substantial commitment to dance. Like all of their arts funding, this support is skewed towards artist development and outreach to  underservedcommunities.

PROFILE: The goal of the Hearst Foundations, inspired by its founder William Randolph Hearst, is to “ensure that people of all backgrounds have the opportunity to build healthy, productive, and inspiring lives.”  

The foundations are technically comprised of two separate foundations that are managed together. William Randolph Hearst established an east coast foundation in 1945 and a west coast foundation in 1948. Their missions were (and still remain) the same, as are the granting stipulations. Whether your organization resides east or west of the Mississippi River is the only difference.

These foundations are staunchly committed to supporting culture, including the arts, specifically as it relates to developing artists and exposing  underserved communities to both artistic output and artistic training. Support of music is well-established amongst the foundations' cultural giving.

The Hearst Foundations are also looking for music organizations that differentiate themselves from their peers—not just in an approach to programming, but also in terms of results. The foundations also place importance on results by expecting “evidence of sustainability” for programs beyond their own support of them.

Enough of the theoretical. Here is a snapshot of music organizations that recently received support from the Hearst Foundations:

  • $750,000 to Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York, NY "toward the expansion of educational programming in the U.S. to reach more young people in poor and underserved communities;"
  • $300,000 (over three years) to Opera Carolina in Charlotte, NC "toward audience-building and sustainable outreach initiatives;"
  • $250,000 to the Brooklyn Academy of Music in Brooklyn, NY "to launch the Hearst Curatorial Program for the development of high-impact artistic presentations, and to expand arts education programming for youth;"
  • $150,000 to the Pittsburgh Civic Lights Opera in Pittsburgh, PA for its "new Gallery of Heroes musicals and related arts education programming;
  • $100,000 to the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, PA "to support Underground Residencies, a new programming model that supports local arts organizations and attracts new audiences;"
  • $75,000 to the St. Louis Symphony Orchestra in St. Louis, MO in support of its free community outreach programs; 
  • $50,000 to Center for Traditional Music and Dance in New York, NY for general support; 
  • $50,000 to Boston Children's Chorus in Boston, MA for general operations;
  • $50,000 to Lyric Opera in Chicago, IL for education and community programs;
  • $50,000 to OPERA America in New York, NY for its Online Resource Center for Teachers; 
  • $50,000 to the MacPhail Center for Music in Minneapolis, MN "toward the Learning With Music Program to train teachers and parents to use music as a learning tool for preschoolers;"
  • $35,000 to the Jazz District Renaissance Corporation in Kansas City, MO "to support the creation of the American Jazz Musicians Walk of Fame;"
  • $25,000 to Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY “to provide outreach and financial assistance to artists from underrepresented communities.”

Remarkably for a funder working on such a large playing field, the Hearst Foundations has an open online application process. In terms of culture giving, they do, however, alert potential new applicants that 80 percent of their culture funding goes to previous recipients. On the flipside of this daunting statistic, if you do make the cut for initial music funding through the Hearst Foundations, the odds are in your favor that you’ll continue receiving it. 

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