The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation: Grants for Theater

OVERVIEW: The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation awards grants to organizations where its grants “can make a big difference.” Giving emphases are the arts, the environment, health, housing and education.

IP TAKE: The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation is an interesting blend of elusive and accessible. It does not have a mission statement, and it does not declare its areas of interest, instead stating it would rather keep its funding open to organizations that make the most compelling cases for its support. But it is open to all 501(c)(3) organizations who can make that case and has an open application with no geographic restrictions.

PROFILE: The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation was established in 1965 upon the death of Max Dreyfus, a pre-eminent publisher of American music for composers like Jerome Kern, George Gershwin, Cole Porter, Rogers and Hammerstein, and Lerner and Loewe. Dreyfus was also a founding member of ASCAP. The foundation seeks to award “grants to organizations for whom a small amount of money can make a big difference.”

The foundation does not declare a mission statement or a particular funding focus. In fact, it is intentionally vague in this respect, stating that it “does not establish funding priorities on an annual basis, but rather supports worthwhile activities for which an organization has made a compelling case to receive funding.”

A key element of grant seekers’ “compelling case” should be to establish why support from The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation will make a big difference. The foundation views its grants as small ones (the typical range is $1,000 - $10,000) but it still wants to have a big impact on grant seekers’ ability to execute.

The foundation is also open-minded about how its funds can be used, and it will provide general operating support and contribute to capital campaigns in addition to giving program support—to organizations anywhere in the U.S., so long as they are a 501(c)(3).

Past Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation’s theater grantees include: $20,000 to the Shakespeare Theatre Company (Washington, DC) for its Free For All program; $12,500 to the Gala Hispanic Theatre (Washington, DC) for season program support; $10,000 to The Keegan Theatre (Washington, DC) for its capital campaign; $5,000 to Adventure Theatre MTC (Glen Echo, MD) for general operating support; $5,000 to the Cherry Lane Theatre (New York, NY) for its Mentor Project; $5,000 to Coeur D'Alene Summer Theatre (Coeur D'Alene, ID) for its CST on the Road program; $5,000 to the Town Hall Foundation (New York, NY) for its Broadway's Rising Stars Concert; $5,000 to UnsungMusicalsCo. (New York, NY) for its developmental reading series; $5,000 to Ruth Eckerd Hall (Clearwater, FL) for its Technical Theater Career Training program; $3,200 to Wiggins School District (Wiggins, CO) for children's theatre presentations.

The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation has an open application process with two deadlines, May and November.

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