Hearst Foundation Distributes $900,000 in Grants. Who Were the Winners?

Last time we met the Hearst Foundation, it awarded a $200,000 grant to the Film Society of Lincoln Center to fund the launch of CineKids, an education initiative focused on bringing film into the classroom. This should come as no surprise to followers of the foundation. It's  keen on funding organizations that roll out innovative educational programs.

Hearst has a few major funding priorities—culture, education, health, and social services—and its most recent give, totalling $900,000, neatly falls within this framework. Here are the big winners:

  • The Exploratorium of the Fine Arts Museum in San Francisco gets $300,000 to support programs for English-language learners, plus an additional $250,000 to fund its popular "Friday Nights at the de Young" program of live performances and art happenings.
  • The San Francisco Art Institute will get $125,000 to fund scholarships for students who are the first in their families to attend college.
  • The American Cancer Society netted $75,000 for programs in Sacramento.
  • Reading Partners received $100,000 to help increase reading proficiency for fourth-graders.
  • New Door Ventures of San Francisco will receive $50,000 to expand its youth workforce development program.

Avid math fans will quickly see that the arts made out pretty well during this cycle. A whopping 75 percent of the total funding—$675,000 for those of you keeping track at home—went to the Exploratorium of Fine Arts Museum and the San Francisco Art Institute.

No surprise there. The Exploratorium has an impressive track record of not just promoting the arts, but using the arts to educate kids, especially English-language learners. Therefore, it's worthwhile to view Hearst's funding priorities as a fluid framework. Cultural offerings can often serve both educational and social services-related purposes.

For further proof, check out the Exploratorium's "Friday Nights at the de Young." Billed as after-hours art "happenings" that include a mix of live music, dance and theater performances, film screenings, and hands-on art activities, local artists conduct workshops, debut new commissions, and take part in conversations about the creative process.

Click here for a thorough IP analysis on the Hearst Foundation's grants for visual arts.