Annenberg Foundation: Grants for Theater

OVERVIEW: Annenberg's grantmaking prioritizes leadership, a commitment to diversity, innovation, and organizational strength. It gives highest priority to the five counties in the Greater Los Angeles area. Though its grants are not explicitly restricted to organizations residing within this area, Annenberg will not consider a program if it does not have a connection to the greater L.A. region.

IP TAKE: While Annenberg makes a number of large grants each year, the foundation is fairly democratic in its distribution of funds and makes a number of grants on a much smaller scale as well.

PROFILE: The Annenberg Foundation was founded by Walter Annenberg who, upon the occasion of his death in late 2002, gave $1 billion to the Metropolitan Museum of art and another $375 million to found the foundation. It seeks to encourage “the development of effective ways to share ideas and knowledge,” and the foundation is “committed to core values of responsiveness, accessibility, fairness and involvement.” Annenberg supports theater through its Arts & Culture initiative.

On its grantmaking page, Annenberg expresses a forgiving attitude unique among many foundations. The foundation describes itself as "willing to take measured risks with a tolerance for occasional failure," if that is what it takes to find the truly worthy grantees. Also worth noting is that Annenberg states that it prioritizes "nonprofit organizations serving Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino Counties."

Grant seekers can find more information about grantmaking guidelines here. Generally, grants are for one year, and range between $10,000 and $100,000.

Annenberg gives the majority of its big grantmaking funding to large institutions with buildings that will (eventually) bear the Annenberg name. For instance, the foundation awarded the University of Southern California a total of $100 million in two grants — $50 million for the Annenberg Academic Building that will house classes in journalism and media to "foster creativity" and another $50 million to support the construction of the Annenberg Academic Building. The foundation awarded a smaller grant of $5 million a few years ago for the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts.

Some past recipients of Annenberg Foundation funds include $25,000 to the Delta Blues Foundation for artist stipends as part of their Arts and Education Program; $10,000 to the Angels Gate Cultural Center for "capacity building efforts, including a board retreat focusing on board development and strategic planning"; $10,000 to the 18th Street Arts Complex for a staff and board retreat; and $100,000 to the Norris Center for the Performing Arts for the construction of their Education Building, a facility that enables the expansion of their education department.

There are no deadlines for proposals, which are submitted online. The step-by-step application process, along with templates for the required supporting documents, can be viewed here.

No grants are made to individuals under any of Annenberg's programs. Any questions about its guidelines or application can be emailed here. It says all inquiries are answered within three business days.

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