BNSF Railway Foundation: Grants for Theater

OVERVIEW: The BNSF Railway Foundation typically awards grants to smaller local and regional theaters and related programs.

IP TAKE: The grant process can take from three months to a year. This is not a funder for those who need emergency funding.

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 supports theater grants through its culture program. It supports a variety of arts organizations, which include performance, visual, and fine arts organization. In addition, museums are eligible for funding. BNSF prioritizes giving to organizations that expose underserved children to the world of art.

Grants range from $2,500 to $500,000. However, most awards generally fall between $1,000 and $10,000. Grants largely support smaller organizations in the 28 states where its railways have main lines with a strong operational and employee presence. Despite prioritizing past grantees, the foundation supports many new organizations.  

The foundation accepts unsolicited grant applications throughout the year. Applications can be accessed through its website.


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