OVERVIEW: Philanthropy at Macy’s Inc. is directed toward arts and culture, education, the environment, HIV/AIDS, women’s health, and domestic violence. Giving flows through the Macy’s Foundation for programs operating on a national scale, and through the corporation for local-level programming.
IP TAKE: Macy’s makes substantial and widespread contributions in the area of arts and culture, and music is a substantial part of this giving. Some of this happens through the foundation , but much more of it occurs through the corporation for local music organizations—and this is a very good thing, because only the latter that has an open application process.
PROFILE: Macy’s Inc. (which these days, due to corporate consolidation, includes Bloomingdales department stores) is a big player in the world of corporate philanthropy, both through a formal foundation (the Macy’s Foundation) and through the company itself (a program called My Macy's District Grants).
In some ways the foundation versus corporation giving is a moot point, because both sides have the same five areas of philanthropic focus: Arts and culture, education, the environment, HIV/AIDS and “women’s issues” (with primary focus on women’s health and domestic violence).
Of course you’re reading this in order to find money for your music program or organization, but it’s always useful to keep these other giving priorities in mind; if your music initiative intersects with additional areas of Macy’s focus, that can only be value-added.
The My Macy’s District Grants program was established in 2010. In 2015, it gave out $3.5 million to more than 1,200 organizations across its five areas of focus.
The My Macy’s District Grants not only give a lot, they give flexibly. Organizations can apply via either an “Event” application or a “Program” application. Both are useful for dance organizations. Macy’s defines the Event category to include performances; the Program category is for “ongoing program or general operations support.”
Other corporate grantors speak often about their support of arts and culture in terms of audience outreach, diversity of storytelling and performers, and commitment to community; Macy’s, by contrast, doesn’t address any social contract at all, nor does it delve into what it looks for aesthetically from its arts and culture grantees.
That said, a corporation is looking to positively impact community—that’s why it grants at a community level. So if your music project promotes audience development and community engagement, you’re coming out ahead. It’s also safe to presume that Macy’s is looking to support music organizations that have a track record of success in the multiple ways you could define success within the performing arts. And it’s a requirement that your music program is a 501(c)(3) that operates in or is engaged with a community in which Macy’s and/or Bloomingdales has a presence. (It’s a good thing they’re virtually everywhere in the country, except Alaska, Arkansas, Iowa, Mississippi and Nebraska.)
For the 2013 Fiscal Year, Macy’s Inc. support of music organizations/program and those that were music-inclusive spanned $300 to $290,000 in giving. In other words, there is a range of possibility here. Here is a sampling of that giving, through both My Macy’s District Grants and the Macy’s Foundation:
- $290,000 to Artswave (Cincinnati, OH)
- $50,000 to the San Francisco Symphony (San Francisco, CA)
- $25,000 to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (Pittsburgh, PA)
- $25,000 to The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington, D.C.)
- $15,000 to the Colorado Symphony (Denver, CO)
- $15,000 to the National Chorale (New York, NY)
- $11,000 to the San Francisco Jazz Organization (San Francisco, CA)
- $10,000 to the Brooklyn Academy of Music (Brooklyn, NY)
- $10,000 to Denver Center for the Performing Arts (Denver, CO)
- $8,500 to the Oregon Symphony (Portland, OR)
- $7,500 to the Houston Symphony (Houston, TX)
- $5,000 to the San Francisco Boys Chorus (San Francsico, CA)
- $2,500 to the Lima Symphony Orchestra (Lima, OH)
- $2,325 to the Peninsula Music Festival (Ephraim, WI)
- $2,000 to Los Angeles Opera (Los Angeles, CA)
- $2,000 to Asbury Park Musical Heritage (Asbury Park, NJ)
- $1,500 to Opera Theatre of St. Louis (MO)
- $1,000 to the Omaha Performing Arts Society (Omaha, NE)
- $300 to the Richard Tucker Music Foundation (New York, NY)
Grant applications for My Macy’s District Grants are accepted year round, and are addressed on a rolling basis; granting made by the Macy’s Foundation is by invitation only.
- Jim Sluzewski, Senior Vice President, Corporate Communicataion and External Affairs of Corporate Giving Macy’, Inc.