The Samuels Foundation recognizes and respects the extreme difficulties all grantees and arts organizations are experiencing as a result of the COVID-19 Pandemic.   As the entire field adapts (and the Foundation works from remote locations), please be aware of the following:


*          All Performing Arts grant applications filed for our March 1 deadline are being reviewed as planned.  At the end of April, grant determinations will be communicated by e-mail to the contact person named in each organization’s application.  In the case of approved grants, all letters of acceptance and grant payments will also be sent electronically.


*          Our next deadline for all Performing Arts grant requests will be June 1, 2020, as previously scheduled.  Hard copy applications should NOT be sent to the Samuels Foundation office by mail or messenger delivery, as in the past, but via e-mail to Colette Lui at clui [at] 


            Under current circumstances, our goal is to make the process of submitting an application by June 1st as simple as possible.  The materials we normally request in a grant application are still welcome and appreciated, but we recognize that not all applicants have equal access to electronic copies.  Consequently, we ask that a minimal June 1 submission consist of the following:

  1. A narrative of 1-3 pages detailing the applicant’s current organizational, artistic, and fiscal challenges. 

  2. A copy of the current organizational budget, as well as a project budget if the applicant’s request is not for general operating costs.   [For applicants – primarily theatre companies -- that engage in commercial underwriting/investment co-productions, please include the financial information regarding ‘enhancement money’ that we normally require as part of our Regular Guidelines.]

  3. A copy of the applicant’s most recent audited financial statement.  [The Foundation is unable to approve grants to organizations that cannot provide an independent financial audit.]

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


Each application received by June 1 will be acknowledged by return e-mail, as will all grant determinations, which will be sent in July.  As usual, grants will be for general operating expenses, unless the applicant requests project support.  If you are unable to send your application electronically, please email Colette at the email address above to discuss options, or leave a message on the Foundation’s general voicemail at 212-239-3030 so a staff member may answer your question directly.


 Regular Guidelines




A)  Overview –


The Foundation supports 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 based outside New York City, to individual artists, broadcast programs, spoken word, arts-in-education initiatives, avocational groups 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.  Grantees must offer an appropriate level of artist compensation.


In accordance with the wishes of its founders, the Foundation’s primary endeavor 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 broad 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 provides grants to a very 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 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 that contribute to a greater understanding of New York’s creative sectors and diverse cultures.


Requests for general operating support are welcome, although the Foundation also accepts funding proposals for targeted creative projects, or local season support from New York City 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 call the Foundation prior to filing, to confirm that their request will match our guidelines. 


The Foundation continues to have an open door policy for new requests, and welcomes 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 grant applications are not successful.


The Foundation’s Board of Directors maintains a standing Performing Arts Committee that reviews all grant proposals prior to action by the full Board.  The Committee meets quarterly.  The quarterly review process begins at the start of March, June, September and December each year.  For a grant request to be eligible for consideration at a specific meeting of the Committee, a complete application packet [see below] must be delivered to the Foundation and arrive at our office no later than the end of the 1st business day of the appropriate quarter. 


The receipt of each application received by the Foundation will be confirmed by return postcard.  Within approximately ten weeks of the filing date submission (the 1st business day of March, June, September or December), applicants are informed by mail whether their request for funding has been approved, declined, or postponed for further consideration at a future Committee meeting.  Whether an application is accepted or rejected, organizations may apply only once in any 12-month period. 


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


All performing arts grant proposals must include the following items:


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

  • History and artistic mission

  •  Artistic achievements, recent activities, and future plans

  • The current organizational, artistic and financial challenges being faced

  • The amount of the annual operating budget

  • A description of the activity for which funding is requested

  • For all applicants (primarily theatre companies) that receive production “enhancement” or commercial underwriting/investment of performances or productions, please include for both the previous year and the year of the current grant request,  a) the number of productions or performances “enhanced” by any source, 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 organization in both the previous fiscal year and the year of the proposed grant. 


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)  A current organizational budget.


6)  A copy of the applicant organization’s most recent audited financial statement.  (NOTE:  The Foundation is unable to approve grants to applicants that cannot provide an independent financial audit.)


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


Supplemental materials such as brochures, CD’s DVD’s, flash drives, annual reports, etc. are welcome and may also be submitted.  Please indicate clearly if any of these materials should be returned to the applicant organization.