U.S. Bancorp Foundation: Grants for Music

OVERVIEW: The U.S. Bancorp Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the financial services company and supports education, workforce development, economic development, affordable housing, and arts and culture in the areas where its bank has a presence.

IP TAKE: The U.S Bancorp Foundation is a significant supporter of music organizations—particularly performance groups—within its focus on arts and culture. The foundation views this support as part of a larger context of community development and uplift. This funding is an open application process and includes the potential for general operating costs. But keep in mind that funded music projects must take place in one of the 28 states where its corporate side does its banking.   

PROFILE: The U.S. Bancorp Foundation is the philanthropic arm of U.S. Bancorp, the financial services company based in Minneapolis. A word here about corporate nomenclature: The company U.S. Bancorp is often referred to as U.S. Bank, which is the signage their bank storefronts (and commercial website) use. By extension, U.S. Bancorp Foundation is often referred to as U.S. Bank Foundation—on its own website, the two names are used somewhat interchangeably. But be aware that formally speaking (including by IRS designation) the foundation discussed here is the U.S. Bancorp Foundation.

Regardless of some flexibility in its naming, this foundation supports grantmaking to arts organizations. In past years, the foundation provided $26.2 million in grant funding, and more than 15 percent of that went to its focus on Cultural and Artistic Enrichment, with directives to develop audiences (particularly in underserved populations), bring “select and limited civic amenities” to rural communities, and to promote arts education.

Music is a primary aspect of this granting area. The foundation views support, uplift, and development for communities in need—within the 25 states where its banking occurs—as key to its granting mandate: Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Dakota, Ohio, Oregon, South Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming.

Unlike many of its corporate granting peers who give to arts organizations, U.S. Bancorp Foundation earmarks grants for general operating support as well as program support (and capital projects too, under stricter circumstances).

In the world of music, U.S. Bancorp Foundation prioritizes classical music performance organizations working and producing within a range of communities—big, small, urban, and rural. Across all funding areas, the foundation’s watchwords are “innovative” and “effectiveness.” It doesn’t define either adjective further, but they are certainly descriptors for grantseekers to be mindful of when approaching U.S. Bancorp Foundation for a grant. Applications are online.

Past grantees include: $242,500 to the Minnesota Orchestra (Minneapolis, MN), $25,000 to Los Angeles Opera Company (Los Angeles, CA), $15,000 to the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra (Little Rock, AR), $15,000 to the McPhail Center for Music (Minneapolis, MN), $15,000 to Portland Opera (Portland, OR), $13,000 to the Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra (Madison, WI), $6,000 to the La Crosse Symphony Orchestra (La Crosse, WI), $5,000 to the Billings Symphony (Billings, MT), $5,000 to the San Francisco Jazz Organization (San Francisco, CA), $4,000 to the Shasta County Community Concert Association (Anderson, CA), $3,500 to Jazz Arts Group of Columbus (Columbus, OH), $3,500 to the Cleveland Institute of Music (Cleveland, OH), $2,500 to the International Dance and Music Festival (Rexburg, ID), $1,500 to the Astoria Music Festival (Astoria, OR), and $1,000 to the Boulder Symphony Orchestra (Boulder, CO).

On the corporate side, U.S. Bancorp has a Corporate Sponsorship program that supports a small and select group of “leading arts and cultural organizations.” Music is not prevalent within this very short list, but it is another avenue for grantseekers to pursue.

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