Philanthropic giving to filmmaking falls into two general categories: documentary film and narrative film. Grants related to film projects may include screen writing, cinematography, production, and sound, among other considerations. Film related grants frequently support individual work rather than group projects; however, funds exist for both depending on the funder. This said, philanthropy for film remains modest, but highly highly competitive. All the profiles below and in the local sections are updated regularly. Only paid subscribers can access this resource (subscribe here).

FUNDERS

A BLADE OF GRASS

Grants support social change through the arts, as well as out-of-the-box artists who are socially conscious and socially active. The foundation prioritizes artists working in digital and multimedia.

ACADEMY OF MOTION PICTURE ARTS AND SCIENCES

This funder supports projects that encourage filmmaking, promote the film industry, and contribute to an understanding and appreciation of motion pictures.

AMERICAN ANTIQUARIAN SOCIETY

AAS funds fellowships that improve the American people’s understanding of pre-twentieth century history.

THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF UNIVERSITY WOMEN

This funder makes grants to women academics and supports women and girls through activism and empowerment. It supports filmmaking that supports women directors or addresses women’s issues.

THE ANDERSON CENTER

The Anderson Center is an artist community in rural Minnesota that provides opportunities for residencies and retreats. It supports the arts in the upper Midwest.

ARIZONA COMMISSION ON THE ARTS

The Arizona Commission on the Arts supports arts projects and organizations within the state.

ARTSKC REGIONAL ARTS COUNCIL

ArtsKC supports arts projects and organizations within a five county region that includes Missouri and Kansas. Though not a national funder, it’s grantmaking fills an important gap in filmmaking grants in the region, overlooked by other national funders.

ASTRAEA LESBIAN FOUNDATION FOR JUSTICE

Astraea funds grants for lesbians and queer women, trans and gender non-conforming people, intersex people, and people of color. The foundation also supports rights organizations that advance racial, economic, and gender-related justice.

THE AWESOME FOUNDATION

The Awesome Foundation is a collection of autonomous chapters, each tasked with promoting the cause of awesome.

BEZOS FAMILY FOUNDATION

Bezos Family Foundation grantees sometimes funds documentary film projects tackling the issue of education and opportunities for students.

BOGLIASCO FOUNDATION

The Bogliasco Foundation, near Genoa, provides short residencies to scholars and creative artists from all over the world.

BRITDOC FOUNDATION

Britdoc funds documentary filmmakers who spotlight underreported and unreported topics of importance. It also offers awards to creative storytellers.

THE BROWN FOUNDATION

The Brown Foundation prioritizes supports both large and small arts organizations in Texas, but conducts some work across the United States.

BUREAU OF CREATIVE WORKS

This funder's grants support makers of short films and seek to build audiences for short films.

AMON G. CARTER FOUNDATION

This funder makes grants to promote and strengthen Tarrant County, Texas, which includes Fort Worth, and conducts work nationwide.

CATAPULT FILM FUND

Catapult offers grants to documentary filmmakers and provide informal mentorship to filmmakers.

CINEREACH

Cinereach grants are given to small and independent filmmakers involved in creating socially conscious films. They also administer the Reach Film Fellowship program with support from the Ford Foundation. 

COMPTON FOUNDATION

The Compton Foundation recently revamped its mission to include support for projects with "transformative leadership and courageous storytelling" and that inspires action toward a "peaceful, just, sustainable future." Their film grants are given to documentaries.

CREATIVE CAPITAL

Creative Capital grants for film are limited to $50,000, but that’s not all they offer their grantees. Creative Capital grants offer a variety of kinds of support.  

DANCE FILMS ASSOCIATION, INC.

DFA seeks to promote and preserve dance on film and video.

DOBKIN FAMILY FOUNDATION

The Dobkin Family Foundation funds organizations that help produce films and documentaries that reflect upon social change, among other important topics.

DOC SOCIETY

Doc Society, formerly the Britdoc Foundation, offers grants to documentary filmmakers who spotlight unreported and underreported issues; it also offers awards for creative storytellers.

DORSEY & WHITNEY FOUNDATION

This law firm funder describes itself as “an enthusiastic supporter of cultural programs and initiatives" and prioritizes organizations located in one of the firm’s U.S. locations.

MAX AND VICTORIA DREYFUS FOUNDATION

The foundation was created upon the death of famed music publisher Max Dreyfus, who worked with American greats like George Gershwin and Cole Porter. 

LUCIUS AND EVA EASTMAN FUND

This low-profile funder offers modest grants to documentary and narrative film projects.

FILMMAKER FUND

The fund supports documentaries. It also offers filmmakers assistance with distribution strategies and film festivals.  

FILM INDEPENDENT

Film Independent offers grants to creative, independent filmmakers and producers whose work supports diversity and "uniqueness of vision.”

FILMMAKERS WITHOUT BORDERS

Filmmakers Without Borders funds independent filmmakers across the world.

FLEDGLING FUND

With the motto of “helping stories take flight," the Fledgling Fund's aim is to help smaller films, documentary projects, and "creative media" projects with a social justice angle get off the ground and stay aloft.

FLORA FAMILY FOUNDATION

This foundation substantially invests in the arts and culture, supporting a range of film projects and programs throughout the United States.  

FORD FOUNDATION

Ford’s JustFilms Initiative is enormous. With it comes an enormous amount of competition. If your project has a social justice/human rights angle, you will have a better chance at a Ford grant.

FOUNDATION FOR MIDDLE EAST PEACE

The Foundation for Middle East Peace supports educational, humanitarian, public affairs, and civil rights organizations seeking to contribute peaceful solutions to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

DEREK FREESE DOCUMENTARY FUND

The Freese Documentary Fund awards up and coming documentarians up to $35,000 to finish projects. 

HAMBIDGE CENTER

The Hambidge Center’s residency program supports science and scholarship, architecture and design, culinary artisans, and artists of all disciplines.

THE YIP HARBURG FOUNDATION

The Yip Harburg Foundation makes grants in support of social and political activism in keeping with its founder’s legacy.

FROM THE HEART PRODUCTIONS

From the Heart Productions awards grants for short films, low budget independent features, web series, and documentaries.

GOOD PITCH

Good Pitch brings documentary filmmakers together with foundations and other partners in a 7-minute, rapid-fire pitch session. Participants then give feedback and decide whether or not to pledge funding and other support. 

GREENBAUM FOUNDATION

The Greenbaum Foundation funds documentarians whose work may be categorized within one of the foundation’s areas of grantmaking interest.

JOHN SIMON GUGGENHEIM MEMORIAL FOUNDATION

One of the most prestigious awards in its field, the Guggenheim Fellowship is considered a mid-career award for those who are well established in their area of expertise.

IMPACT PARTNERS

Impact Partners supports independent documentary filmmaking that addresses contemporary social issues through grants to filmmakers and through a fellowship program for emerging filmmakers.

INDEPENDENT TELEVISION SERVICE

ITVS is all about documentaries and programs made for cable or public television. However, it does have a Diversity Development fund that offers grants for films on track for widescreen release. ITVS grants tend to range from between $15,000 to $100,000.

INTERNATIONAL DOCUMENTARY ASSOCIATION

Through its grantmaking, the IDA supports documentary filmmakers with their filmmaking, production, and distribution costs.

VIOLET JABRA CHARITABLE TRUST

This funder funds work benefitting the Middle East in a variety of fields, from film to women’s issues.

JAPAN-UNITED STATES FRIENDSHIP COMMISSION

This funder is an independent federal government agency that supports projects that highlight the cultural, educational, and intellectual exchange between the United States and Japan. It supports films and filmmakers who examine this relationship in their work.

JEROME FOUNDATION

The Jerome Foundation supports early career and emerging filmmakers.

THE KENTUCKY FOUNDATION FOR WOMEN

The Kentucky Foundation for Women prioritizes women and feminist artists in Kentucky.

KRESGE FOUNDATION

The Kresge Foundation supports arts and culture organizations working in low-income areas of major cities across the United States.

LEEWAY FOUNDATION

The Leeway Foundation supports women and trans artists who create art for social change.

JONATHAN LOGAN FAMILY FOUNDATION

The Jonathan Logan Family Foundation seeks documentary filmmakers and projects focusing on a variety of social justice causes.

REVA AND DAVID LOGAN FOUNDATION

The Reva and David Logan Foundation broadly awards grant to filmmakers and filmmaking organizations across the United States.

MACARTHUR FOUNDATION

The MacArthur Foundation provides the public with "high-quality, professionally produced documentary films, deep and analytical journalism, and well-produced news and public affairs programming." At present, all of its support for filmmaking is offered through partner organizations.

MID-AMERICA ARTS ALLIANCE

The Mid-America Alliance makes grants to individual artists and arts organizations in Arkansas, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Texas.

MID ATLANTIC ARTS FOUNDATION

While primarily focused on bringing artistic expression into its region, this funder wants that artistic work to come from all around the world. This includes supporting the travel, accommodations, and appearance fees for filmmakers to share their work with the region.

MINNESOTA STATE ARTS BOARD

Minnesota State Arts Board supports arts projects and organizations within the state.

MISSISSIPPI ARTS COMMISSION

The Mississippi Arts Commission supports artists and arts organizations working in the state.

MISSOURI ARTS COUNCIL

The Missouri Arts Council supports arts projects within the state.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE ARTS

NEA is an independent government organization that funds art projects that celebrate artistic American excellence.

NATIONAL ENDOWMENT FOR THE HUMANITIES

NEH is an independent government organization that funds projects to promote research, education, preservation, and public programs in the humanities.

NATIONAL FILM PRESERVATION FOUNDATION

The National Film Preservation Foundation has a specific commitment—to preserve the catalog of American film. If you're saving a historic and orphaned film, this is the foundation for you.

NORTH CAROLINA ARTS COUNCIL

The North Carolina Arts Council supports artists and arts organizations working in the state.

OPEN MEADOWS FOUNDATION

Open Meadows grants support women and girls leading and benefitting from projects that address activism and social justice in film.

OPPENHEIMER CINE RENTAL

Oppenheimer Cine Rental supports film by giving new filmmakers access to professional filmmaking equipment.

PANAVISION

Panavision supports film by giving new filmmakers access to professional filmmaking equipment.

PARK FOUNDATION

Park's film grants go to documentary projects that examine civil society, democracy, the environment and animal welfare. 

PEW CENTER FOR ARTS AND HERITAGE

The Pew Center for Arts and Heritage awards grants exclusively to organizations and individuals in the five-county Southeastern Pennsylvania region. It supports artists and organizations with ambitious, imaginative projects.

PRINCESS GRACE FOUNDATION

The Princess Grace Foundation awards scholarships to undergraduate and graduate film students.

MANUEL RIVERA-ORTIZ FOUNDATION

The foundation established by the celebrated photographer supports human interest documentary filmmaking. 

ROSENTHAL FOUNDATION

Rosenthal takes a broad approach to funding film-related projects and organizations, which allows it to invest in a variety of projects both locally and nationally in the United States. 

SAN FRANCISCO FILM SOCIETY

The San Francisco Film Society offers an array of support to individual filmmakers, screenwriters, and producers through its Filmmaker360 program, including help with project development, residencies, and a number of different grants. 

SAN FRANCISCO FOUNDATION

The San Francisco Foundation is one of the largest community foundations in the nation and funds a broad range of equity-focused nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area.

SCREENCRAFT FILM PRODUCTION FUND

ScreenCraft provides production grants for short films and online series.

SOUTH ARTS FUND

The South Arts Fund supports organizations that present touring artists from out of state, with an eye toward enriching the economic, social, cultural, and educational vitality of the South. The fund connects the arts to key state and national policies and advances excellence in the arts.

SOUTHEASTERN MINNESOTA ARTS COUNCIL

The Southeastern Minnesota Arts Council supports artists and arts development in the region. Its grantmaking encompasses dance, literary arts, theatre, music, and the visual arts.

SUNDANCE INSTITUTE

When it comes to film, Sundance garners more buzz and prestige than any other filmmaking initiative. Getting a nod from them is like being invited into the super-cool kids club.  

SURDNA FOUNDATION

Surdna's film grants go to artists and organizations whose filmmaking promotes cultural and economic development of their communities.

TIME WARNER FOUNDATION

Time Warner Foundation supports diverse filmmaking schools and institutions.

TRIBECA FILM INSTITUTE

Tribeca is Sundance’s twin, with equal buzz and prestige. Tribeca even offers small grants for innovative filmmaking. 

UNITED STATES ARTISTS

United States Artists gives out as many as 50 unrestricted $50,000 grants directly to artistic creators each year. Support for filmmakers is a significant aspect of this giving. It's a competitive grant.  

ARTHUR VINING DAVIS FOUNDATIONS

The Arthur Vining Davis Foundations make grants for film in the area of public broadcasting only.

WALLACE GLOBAL FUND

The Wallace Global Fund supports activities that are either national or global in scope.

WEISSBERG FOUNDATION

The Weissberg Foundation supports film and filmmaking organizations with annual budgets of $2.5 million or less.

WOMEN IN FILM

Women In Film offers scholarships, grants, mentorship, and funds to female filmmakers and producers to finish their films. 

WYOMING ARTS COUNCIL

The Wyoming Arts Council supports arts projects within the state.

Other Notable Funders

Heinz Endowment: Supporting film and video efforts in greater Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and surrounding cities. Grant amounts are far and wide ranging.