Ecolab Foundation: Grants for Theater

OVERVIEW: Ecolab Foundation, the philanthropic arm of its corporate namesake, gives to a broad swath of programs and interests, including arts and culture, education, community development, and the environment.

IP TAKE: Ecolab Foundation has a firm commitment to supporting the communities in which it has a corporate presence. The foundation sees supporting performing arts—including theater companies—as a key component to its community involvement. 

PROFILE: Ecolab Foundation was established in 1986 by its corporate namesake, a company that describes itself as a “global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services.” The foundation’s overall giving is approaching the $81 million mark, with a focus on “educational, cultural, environmental, and community development programs that are good for business and good for society.”

Ecolab Foundation’s commitment to theater falls under its Arts and Culture giving area, so first and foremost, it’s important to understand why the foundation supports this broader arena. As Ecolab Foundation frames the support as a quality-of-life issue for its communities, stating:

Through arts, creativity and talent is nurtured. People learn to tap into the power of their imagination, which is where good ideas come from in life and in business. . . The arts also help further understanding among diverse cultures. And from understanding comes the ability to work together for the benefit of all.

Is your theater company a good fit for Ecolab Foundation? Before you ponder any further, first be sure that you’re stage is located in either the in either St. Paul, Minnesota area (where Ecolab is headquartered) or in one of the corporation’s 17 regional communities located throughout the U.S.  (And make sure you’re a 501(c)(3) too.)

When it comes to its support of theater in its communities, Ecolab Foundation tends to support theater companies and their full seasons, rather than backing one-off productions. This flows back to the foundation’s long-term commitment to community, which also explains why it will not give grants to individual theater artists either.

Also keep in mind that as part of its Arts and Culture mission, Ecolab Foundation also supports arts education, so if your theater company has a youth development component, or you can authentically integrate this spirit into your theater company’s programming, you’ll be in a stronger position to receive Ecolab Foundation funding. Recent theater grant recipients from Ecolab Foundation include the Penumbra Theatre, The Actors Theater of Minnesota and the Steppingstone Theatre.

Grants range upward of $5,000. The application process is online, and opens July of each year.


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