Andrew W. Mellon Foundation: Grants for Theater

OVERVIEW: The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation makes grants in five program areas, one of which is "arts and cultural heritage." It funds efforts in performance, art history, and conservation. It also especially supports increased public access to the arts, research, and collaborative efforts.

IP TAKE: Mellon makes grants ranging from several thousand dollars to several million, and supports organizations of all sizes (but not individuals). The thing to know is it doesn't accept unsolicited proposals, so if you are interested, you have to submit an inquiry email.

PROFILE: From its website, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation "endeavors to strengthen, promote, and, where necessary, defend the contributions of the humanities and the arts to human flourishing and to the well-being of diverse and democratic societies." Theater-related grants fall under its Arts and Cultural Heritage program. If you are interested in applying for one, you must first send an inquiry email.

Mellon's overall preference regarding the type and size of grantmaking is varied. Its given grants in the past to theater companies and theater programs at large universities such as the Penumbra Theater Company which received $575,000 and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign which received $1,000,000 for its Arts program. Grants have also been made to smaller theater companies as well. To see the full grants database, click here.

In addition to the direct grants it awards, it also distributes funds to service organizations that then re-grant the funds.

Note: it does not fund direct grants to individuals, capital and equipment costs, overhead, indirect costs, endowment management fees, one-off conferences, conservation treatment, K–12 arts education, or digitization of collections.


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