Compton Foundation: Grants for Creative Writing

OVERVIEW:  The Compton Foundation supports creative writing that prioritizes the intersection of art and social and environmental change. It is open to creative journalistic approaches, new ways of sharing data, and training organizations in strategic ways to tell their stories.

IP TAKE:  This is not a funder for grantseekers to approach about writing a romance novel. However, work that addresses social or environmental change could have some success with Compton.

PROFILE: The Compton Foundation, based in San Francisco, seeks to “support transformative leadership and courageous storytelling, inspiring action toward a peaceful, just, sustainable future.” It funds creative writing through its Storytelling Grants program.

Compton provides both general support and funding for specific projects. Grantseekers should make sure that creative writing ideas focus on intersections of art and social or environmental change. Practically speaking, that could mean any of the following: directly supporting professional artists working toward social or environmental change, funding organizations that bridge artistic disciplines and activism, or groups exploring art as an organizing methodology. In terms of writing format, Compton is open to creative journalistic approaches, new ways of sharing data, and also training organizations in strategic ways to tell their stories.

However, grantseekers should keep in mind that traditional journalistic pursuits are not supported here. Also, this is not the funder to go to for healing or empowerment storytelling or for telling the stories of a single organization.

Past writing grants have been around $20,000 each and can be viewed here. In past years, the foundation awarded approximately $4.6 million in grants. It has also reported over $56 million in assets.

Although Compton does not accept unsolicited proposals, it does have an open inquiry process for prospective creative writing grantseekers. This funder often sustains long-term grantees with ongoing support, so new opportunities are limited. New inquiries should be submitted online. Compton has five or six grant dockets of 10 to 15 grants each per year. It does a docket about every two months, starting with applications due in January.

The foundation is run by a staff of six and a board of directors. General questions can be directed to the San Francisco-based staff at 415-391-9001 or via email at Keep up with the foundation's activities and interests on its “Updates from the Foundation” news page.


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