Arts LeadersFuture of Culture

The $2B Arts Funding List

By April 3, 2017 No Comments

If you work in cultural fundraising, you already know about Grantmakers in the Arts, led by President and influential blogger-in-chief, Janet Brown. The Winter 2017 GIA Reader features the Foundation Center’s latest survey of arts funding trends, based on 2014 data, and it’s essential reading for cultural strategists.

Here’s our quick take on the main headlines, along with an easy reference guide to the top 25 U.S. funders for arts and culture:

  • Overall, arts and culture giving is a small slice of the philanthropic pie: In 2014, arts and culture giving accounted for 8% of all philanthropic giving, compared to health (25%), education (21%), and other causes.
  • Our pie slice is getting smaller: The proportion of arts and culture giving has declined steadily since 2005, when it was closer to 12% of all philanthropic giving.
  • But it’s still a whole lot of money: Arts and culture giving in 2014 was nearly $2B, for 16,545 grants.
  • Arts and culture grant sizing hasn’t really changed since the 1990’s: the median arts and culture grant in 2014 was $25,000—the same as nearly 20 years ago. 80% of all arts and culture grants given in 2014 were for $99,999 and below.
  • At the same time, million-dollar cultural funders do exist: In 2014, there were 349 gifts of $1M+ to arts and culture causes, totaling $905M.
  • Museums (37%) and performing arts (34%) received the lion’s share: Other types of arts and culture organizations competed hard for the remaining 29% of arts and culture dollars.
  • General operating support is real: 26% of funding dollars went for general operating support (GOS) in 2014, compared to only 16% supporting GOS for non-arts organizations.
  • Capital and program support also commanded attention: 21% of funding dollars went for program support and 19% for capital projects in 2014.
  • And finally, the top 25 culture funders gave 37% of the funds: Do you know who exactly they are?

America’s Top 25 Funders of Arts and Culture (with 2014 arts giving)

  1. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation (NY): $162,484,190
  2. Silicon Valley Community Foundation (CA): $42,838,923
  3. Hess Foundation (NJ): $37,821,630
  4. Brown Foundation (TX): $36,211,255
  5. Minneapolis Foundation (MN): $35,129,240
  6. Windgate Charitable Foundation (AR): $30,908,750
  7. Gilder Foundation (NY): $27,150,000
  8. The Kresge Foundation (MI): $26,899,850
  9. Greater Kansas City Community Foundation (MO): $25,910,403
  10. Freedom Forum (DC): $25,469,510
  11. Johnson Art and Education Foundation (NJ): $24,278, 549
  12. Eli and Edythe Broad Foundation (CA): $23,091,500
  13. The Shubert Foundation (NY): $21,990,000
  14. Colburn Foundation (CA): $21,465,000
  15. Ford Foundation (NY): $21,313,342
  16. Annenberg Foundation (CA): $20,685,813
  17. William Penn Foundation (PA): $19,642,871
  18. Dallas Foundation (TX): $19,097,430
  19. Lilly Endowment (IN): $17,746,567
  20. Robert W. Woodruff Foundation (GA): $14,600,000
  21. William and Flora Hewlett Foundation (CA): $14,465,250
  22. Doris Duke Charitable Foundation (NY): $14,108,373
  23. Ahmanson Foundation (CA): $14,050,100
  24. The James Irvine Foundation (CA): $13,512,100
  25. Bank of America Charitable Foundation (NC): $13,199,878

SOURCE: Foundation Center, Foundation Grants to Arts and Culture, 2014: A One-Year Snapshot, by Reina Mukai

Bonus Listing: If you’ve read this far and you don’t know about The Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s Million Dollar List, bookmark this page. It’s an essential resource.

By Emma Dunch, President