Ameriprise Financial: Grants for Theater

OVERVIEW: Ameriprise Financial commits to grantmaking that creates “positive change” in communities across the U.S. This includes not only meeting “basic needs” but also supporting “community vitality.”

IP TAKE: Ameriprise Financial’s philanthropy prioritizes opportunities that support and improve U.S. communities. Performing arts funding, including that for theater, is a well-regarded aspect of this giving because of the importance the corporation places on cultural enrichment.

PROFILE: Founded in 1894, Ameriprise Financial, the U.S. financial services company, seeks to “create brilliant moments in [its] communities and help people thrive” by giving back to the communities in which it operates, or as it states on its website, “where we live and work.” Ameriprise Financial views the arts as an integral aspect of bettering a community.

Ameriprise imposes geographic restrictions on its grantmaking: the best bet for grant seekers looking for a grant from Ameriprise Financial is to create music experiences within 30 miles of Boston, Chicago, Green Bay (WI), Las Vegas, Minneapolis, New York, Phoenix, Portland (OR), or Providence (RI). Projects and organizations outside one of those geographic zones are not necessarily excluded (see some recent theater grants below), but it does make it all the more critical to create a project that aligns with Ameriprise Financial’s arts-giving mission.

Ameriprise Financial’s community betterment has two principle areas of focus: Meeting Basic Needs and Supporting Community Vitality. It further breaks down Community Vitality into two program areas: Community Development and Cultural Enrichment. Within Cultural Enrichment—which is where theater resides—Ameriprise Financial prioritizes: Arts education, Access for underserved populations, and “Diverse artists and performances that spark topical community conversations.”

Past theater programs that have received Ameriprise Financial grants include The Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, DC) to subsidize its “Free for All” program, the community's only free, full-scale theatre production in D.C. and to Intiman Theatre (Seattle, WA) to create new outreach programs and connect with “nontraditional audiences” for its production of Abe Lincoln in Illinois. Other theater programs that have recieved Ameriprise Financial grants are heavily slanted towards Minneapolis, including the Guthrie Theater, Minneapolis Children's Theatre Company, Stages Theatre Company, and Theater Latte Da.

Ameriprise does not support performances, festivals, exhibits, or individual artists.

Additionally, an extra word about audience engagement, which is critical to the theater-making community already: grant seekers should remember that Ameriprise Financial prioritizes “applications where there is active volunteer engagement of Ameriprise advisors and employees.” So, grant seekers might consider giving Ameriprise Financial employees complimentary tickets to a production in order to facilitate an introduction.

Ameriprise Financial grant application deadlines are mid-January and mid-May of each year. Grant seekers can contact Ameriprise with questions at communityrelations@ampf.com.

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