OVERVIEW: The Delmas Foundation might not be a household name, but it has a fairly focused grantmaking strategy. Each year, Delmas provides more than 100 grants (generally $5,000 to $25,000 each) to fund humanities scholars, academics focusing on the study of Venetian history and culture, and research libraries. The foundation also supports non-academic performing arts organizations in New York City.
IP TAKE: Funding from Delmas is generally on a smaller scale, but the foundation has a straightforward application process and is a valuable, consistent patron for the scholarship it supports.
PROFILE: The Delmas Foundation says its strategy is focused on “furthering the humanities along a broad front, supporting projects which address the concerns of the historical studia humanitatis.” Colleges and universities have consistently received support from the foundation, which holds to the vision set forth by its founders, Gladys and Jean Paul Helmas.
A wide range of projects are supported within the humanities program. In the past, grantees have been associated with history, archaeology, literature and just about every other field that falls under the humanities umbrella. In addition to higher ed institutions, funding here is also available for "humanistic enterprises such as learned societies, museums, and major editorial projects."
A strategy that might set grantseekers apart is to propose projects that are interdisciplinary in scope: the foundation states that it "welcomes projects that cross the boundaries between humanistic disciplines and explore the connection between the humanities and other areas of scholarship."
The foundation’s research libraries program is another potential funding source for post-secondary institutions. Here’s how the program is described:
Wherever possible, grants to libraries seek to promote cooperative cataloging projects, with an emphasis on access to archival, manuscript, and other unique sources; some elements of interpretation and exhibition; scholarly library publications; bibliographical and publishing projects of interest to research libraries; and preservation/conservation work and research.
For the most part, the foundation offers modest grants from $5,000 to $25,000, with a smattering of grants above that range. Yet in recent years, the foundation has consistently made more than 100 awards every year.
Outside these two programs, individual grants are available through the Venetian programs, which provide funding for research into the history of Venice and the Veneto in Italy. These grants support fieldwork in Venice, as well as library research throughout Europe, dealing with Venetian history and culture. These comprise a small number of grants that support scholarship on the subject, which are available through the general program.
Outside the scope of the humanities, an additional program at Delmas is focused on supporting the performing arts, specifically “dance, music and theater” in New York City.
The foundation’s application process and guidelines are fairly direct and straightforward. Other than the Venetian program, funding is available for nonprofit organizations only, and (again, excluding the Venetian program) applications are accepted year-round in the form of a two-page letter describing the project as well as proof of nonprofit status. First-time applicants must mail their documents in hard copy; after that, applications can be submitted via email. The foundation estimates that it will take between three and four months to respond to an application.
Pele Bauch, Foundation Administrator