top of page
COVID-19 update


The Foundation’s core mission in the performing arts is to support New York City’s not-for-profit producing and presenting organizations that deliver the highest quality work on stage in the fields of dance, music, opera and theatre.  The Foundation also supports an extremely limited number of pre-professional conservatory and development programs in New York City for early-career artists.  Our current grant guidelines do not include support for primary and secondary level arts-in-education programs, broadcasting, spoken word, workshop endeavors, or media/visual arts projects that might relate to live performance.  In some years, if funds become available, special project grants might be awarded to address issues such as audience access, preservation, or other topics of importance to the field.  In accordance with the wishes of its founders, the Foundation sustains historic levels of support for select constituent organizations of Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.


As performing arts organizations climb back to pre-Covid production schedules and budgets, the Samuels Foundation will also take steps during 2023-24 to reestablish its traditional grant guidelines and procedures.  Our fundamental mission will not change, as we continue to focus on general operating support for not-for-profit dance, music, theatre and presenting organizations in New York City, while also monitoring local and national field conditions that continue to affect funding priorities as we all move ahead. 


After three years of emergency responses to the pandemic and temporary changes to our application process, we are finally able to restore the Foundation’s pre-Covid grantmaking calendar, with four possible ‘due dates’ for the submission of grant applications.  


September 5, 2023

December 1, 2023

March 1, 2024


June 3, 2024


[Any performing arts applicant funded by the Samuels Foundation in 2022-23 that did not receive an e-mail by August 4, 2023 with an assigned FY24 application due date, should contact the Foundation’s Manager of Program Administration, Colette Lui (]


If you have any questions, please email Colette Lui at

A)  Overview –


The Foundation supports only not-for-profit performing arts organizations based in New York City, principally (but not exclusively) in the Borough of Manhattan.  It does not give grants to organizations outside New York City, to individual artists, broadcast programs, spoken word, arts-in-education initiatives, workshop endeavors, or media/visual arts projects related to stage performance.  Only publicly supported organizations described in Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code may submit applications.  The Foundation does not make grants to fiscal agents for the benefit of individual artists, special initiatives, start-up projects, or emerging organizations that are not already publicly supported and tax-exempt.  Requests for special development campaigns, building projects, or endowment support are not considered.


In accordance with the wishes of its founders, the Foundation’s primary mission is to support New York City’s large-scale dance, music, opera and theatre companies of national and international importance.  Continuing that legacy, the Foundation provides major funding to many of the constituent organizations based at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.  In addition, the Foundation also sustains commitments to a broader range of New York City’s not-for-profit performing arts producing and presenting organizations.  This support is directed primarily at established institutions of any size that have the expertise, knowledge, capacity, and artistic judgment to offer traditional work, new creations, or a varied repertoire that enhances the aesthetic and intellectual life of New York City. 


The Foundation also provides grants to an extremely limited number of conservatory and development programs in New York City dedicated to young professionals seeking full-time careers in the performing arts.  Applications are not accepted for support of arts-in-education programs at the primary and secondary school level.


The Foundation generally directs funding towards a roster of established local arts institutions whose grants are usually sustained from year to year.  When funds are available to expand the roster, an important part of the Foundation’s mission is to also support noteworthy emerging organizations in New York City that stage performances regularly and contribute to a greater understanding of New York’s creative sectors and diverse cultures.


Most performing arts requests to the Samuels Foundation are for general operating support, although we also accept proposals for targeted creative projects, or local season support from New York City performing arts organizations that might otherwise be on tour.  Application review meetings with Foundation staff are not required, but arts organizations that have not previously applied are encouraged to send a brief email inquiry to the Samuels Foundation Manager of Program Administration, Colette Lui [], prior to filing, to confirm that their request will match our guidelines. 

The Foundation maintains an open door policy for inquiries, and welcomes new applications that fit within our guidelines from the diverse sectors of New York’s performing arts community.  However, it is important that all applicants be aware that the Foundation receives many more requests for support than it could ever fund, and for that reason most first-time grant applications are not successful.  Even though 2023-24 funding is unlikely for groups not already on our performing arts roster, we are always interested in learning about additional organizations that match our priorities. 


The Foundation’s Board of Directors maintains a standing Performing Arts Committee that reviews all grant proposals prior to action by the full Board.  During 2023-24, the Committee will participate in four grant review cycles that will begin on September 5, 2023, December 1, 2023, March 1, 2024 and June 3, 2024.  For a grant application to be eligible for consideration at a specific meeting of the Committee, a complete application [see below] must be submitted to the Foundation via its electronic grants portal no later than 5PM on one of the above dates. 


All performing arts organizations that received grants in FY23 have been sent an e-mail that assigns one of the dates above as their application filing deadline for 2023-24.  Applicant organizations that did not receive a Samuels grant in FY23 or are applying to us for the first time may select one of the four dates above for their submission.  In those instances, please email Colette Lui ( for information about accessing the Foundation’s electronic grants portal.


Please be aware that our performing arts budget remains tight.  Grant increases will be unlikely for most returning grantees, and we expect that few additional organizations will be added to our roster in 2023-24.


The receipt of each application received by the Foundation will be confirmed by return e-mail.  Within approximately eight weeks of the 2023-24 September, December, March or June filing date, applicants will be informed by e-mail whether their grant application has been approved, declined, or postponed for further consideration at a future Committee meeting.  Whether an application is ultimately accepted or rejected, organizations may apply only once within any 12-month period, beginning on the date of their most recently assigned application date. 


B)  Materials to be submitted in all application packets, whether for new or renewed grants --


All performing arts grant applications must include EACH of the following items:


1)  A narrative description, not exceeding three pages, that succinctly covers the applicant organization’s

            *  Current organizational, artistic and financial challenges.  

                        [-- Please note that our understanding the ongoing institutional issues faced by each applicant is of

                        particular importance.]

            *  History and artistic mission.

            *  Artistic achievements, recent activities, and future plans.

            *  The amount of the annual operating budget.

            *  A description of the activity for which general operating or project funding is requested.

            *  For all theatre companies:   If the applicant theatre has received or expects to receive production “enhancement” or commercial underwriting/investment of productions, please include for both the 2022- 23 and 2023-24 seasons, a) the number of productions “enhanced” by any source in 2022-23 and 2023-24, whether corporate or individual, with regard to future rights, income and commercial intent; and b) the total amount of “enhancement money” received by the applicant theatre in both 2022-23 and 2023-24.


2)  A list of the applicant organization’s principal individual and institutional funders.


3)  A list of the names and affiliations of the applicant organization’s Board members.


4)  Brief biographies of the applicant organization’s principal artistic and managerial staff.


5)  The organizational budgets (plus the project budget, if applicable) for both the current                                     and previous fiscal year.


6)  A copy of the applicant organization’s most recent audited financial statement or review.  (NOTE:  The Foundation is unable to accept applications that do not include an independent financial audit or review.  Submitting an IRS 990 tax form is NOT a valid substitute.)


7)  A copy of the applicant organization’s 501(c)(3) tax exemption letter from the Internal Revenue Service.


Supplemental materials such as brochures, video, sound clips, or published annual reports, etc. are welcome but not required, and may be submitted with your application. 


To ensure that you are receiving all communications from the Foundation, please keep us informed of any contact changes regarding your development staff.




As we have said for many years, all of us at Samuels know how hard people in the arts work and how much is sacrificed in pursuit of artistic mission – never more than during the pandemic crisis and its subsequent seasons. This has been a time of extraordinary challenges for everyone in the field, and the Samuels Foundation respects the intensity of shifting efforts and commitments demanded by each passing week.  Despite the hardship, losses – and successes – ahead, we look forward to seeing our community thrive.

bottom of page