Herb Alpert Foundation: Grants for Music

OVERVIEW: The Herb Alpert Foundation focuses mainly on support for arts education, jazz, and support to professionals in the music community, as well as organizations whose programs promote "compassion and well being." Their grant amounts vary wildly and are given to organizations both large and small.

IP TAKE: Grants from the Herb Alpert Foundation are by invitation only, and the foundation does not accept unsolicited proposals for review, so this could be a hard nut to crack.

PROFILE: The Herb Alpert Foundation has been going strong with its philanthropic work for over 20 years now. According to their website, the Foundation's grantees have "run the gamut from small organizations working at the local level, perhaps in the earliest stages of their development, to larger and more mature organizations that may have a regional or even a national scope and perspective."

Most of the Foundation's support is given in the form of "seed monies to move innovative founders forward in their work, or as incremental support to a more established organization that is ready to take on activities at a new level of complexity or commitment."

The Foundation focuses on three core areas in the arts: Arts Education, Focus on Jazz, and Support to Professionals. The area of Arts Education includes "programs that seek to use the arts to help meet the needs of underserved and at-risk youth and to help build competencies that will enable them to become successful adults." But in the field of music, Focus on Jazz and Support to Professionals are the areas that give the most support directly to musicians and musical organizations.

Focus on Jazz deals with identifying and training the "next generation of great jazz musicians." The programs that are funded in this area are meant to help students "respond creatively to elements of music and apply what they learn to writing and other projects," as well as to encourage their creative self-expression and "desire to take a productive role in society."

Support for Professionals includes unrestricted grants to "artists who have shown remarkable talent in their mid-careers," as well as support for resources and "attention to human service issues within the music industry through organizations like MusiCares."

Some recent grants by the foundation include, at the high end, $500,000 to Community Arts Partnership, $350,000 to the Harlem School of the Arts, and $300,000 to Modest Needs Foundation, and on the lower end, $14,000 to Friends of Big Band Jazz, $4,000 to Grantmakers in the Arts, and $25,000 to the International Trumpet.

The unfortunate catch to all this is that all grants from the Herb Alpert Foundation are by invitation only and no unsolicited proposals are accepted at any time. But given that the Foundation grants anywhere from $5 million to upwards of $10 million a year to organizations both large and small, it might be worth digging in and seeing if your organization is worth some notice. The best advice we can give currently is to browse the full list of recent grantees on the website and find some that may be similar to yours, then perhaps get in contact with someone there and see if they can give you some advice on how to proceed. Otherwise, the doors are fairly closed as far as contacting the Herb Alpert Foundation directly, but we'll be sure to post updates as we learn more about them. (Insightful tips are always welcome.)

There is also the separate Alpert Award in the Arts for music, dance, film/video, theatre, and visual arts that may be worth investigating for some, though candidates for this award are nominated by other artists.


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