The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation's Arts and Culture Program contributes to the health and vibrancy of cities and towns throughout the Pacific Northwest by nurturing artistic expression and promoting critical thinking through the creation and presentation of compelling artistic programs. We also support cultural organizations in improving their financial performance through a range of capacity building efforts. We work with nonprofit organizations that are presenting the highest quality of contemporary artistic programming and demonstrating clear purpose, excellent management and involvement in their greater community.
Engagement in the arts provides us with meaning and a sense of community. The arts help us experience and interpret the rapidly changing world, give voice to diverse and under-represented communities, promote cross-cultural understanding, and encourage participation in civic life.
To help arts organizations provide ongoing, high-quality programs throughout our region, the Foundation supports the creation and presentation of work by professional artists, including dance, literature, music, theater, visual arts, multimedia, and interdisciplinary works. We have a particular interest in contemporary works that address current social, political, and cultural issues. Projects that provide rural communities with greater access to professional arts programming are also considered.
Improving Financial Performance
The arts nonprofit sector is undergoing significant transformation as cultural organizations address changes in demographics, the declining availability of arts education, emerging technologies, and unpredictable ticket sales. These factors, coupled with the economic downturn of the last several years, have forced organizations to reexamine how they do business. Organizations that are proactive, nimble, and open to new ways of working are best positioned to thrive.
The Paul G. Allen Family Foundation is committed to helping arts organizations navigate volatile conditions and seize new opportunities that enable them to improve their financial performance. We support projects that strengthen an organization's infrastructure, develop new lines of revenue, provide for more efficient operations and reach new constituents. The Foundation considers consortium projects for the development of shared resources. We also consider a limited number of capital projects, including pre-campaign planning.
The most competitive applications show thorough planning and describe specific strategies that address organizational challenges and demonstrate capacity to implement and sustain the proposed project. Successful projects result in measurable increases in income, efficiencies, and/or audience numbers that improve the bottom line.
Examples of projects under this priority area may include the following:
- Audience development and marketing initiatives to expand reach and earned income
- Resource development to increase and diversify contributed income
- Technology enhancements to improve customer experience and increase operational efficiencies
- New models testing different operating frameworks and adaptive strategies
- Collaborative projects, such as joint marketing, centralizing ticket functions, or consolidating back offices of several organizations
- Major facility projects (leasehold improvements, facility renovations and expansions, and new construction) as a means to expand program capacity and impact; applicants must demonstrate project viability, a minimum of 85% of total campaign funds secured, and positive operational impacts of capital projects. The Foundation will also consider pre-campaign planning projects.
Invited applicants will be asked to provide the following information:
- How the project will result in improved financial performance and sustainability
- Measurable benchmarks for demonstrating the project's success
- Strategies for assessing and reporting on progress in reaching benchmarks
- Plans for sharing what is learned with colleagues
Grant applications for this priority area are by invitation. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted. If you believe your organization and project is aligned with our giving priorities you may complete and submit the contact form.