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COVID-19 update


As the performing arts shift back toward pre-Covid production schedules and budgets, in 2022-23 the Samuels Foundation will take steps to restore its traditional grant guidelines.  We will continue to focus on general operating support for not-for-profit dance, music and theatre companies in New York City, while also monitoring local and national field conditions that could affect funding priorities as we move ahead.


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 a very 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, 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.


We are currently transitioning to an online application format.

If you are submitting a proposal for the June 1, 2023 deadline, you will receive an email in early April with more information about accessing our grant portal.

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, 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 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 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 that 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 Program Associate Colette Lui [] prior to filing, to confirm that their request will match our guidelines. 


For 2022-23 the Foundation has restored its traditional open door policy for requests, 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 2022-23 funding is unlikely for groups not already on our performing arts roster, we are always interested in learning about additional endeavors that match our priorities.  The Foundation looks forward to a time when we will be able to expand our roster of performing arts grantees in New York City.


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 2022-23, the Committee will participate in three grant review cycles that will begin on December 1, 2022, March 1, 2023 and June 1, 2023.   For a grant application to be eligible for consideration at a specific meeting of the Committee, a complete application packet [see below] must be submitted to the Foundation no later than 5PM on one of the above dates. 


All performing arts organizations that received grants in FY22 have been sent an email that assigns one of the dates above as their application filing deadline for 2022-23.  Applicant organizations that did not receive a Samuels grant in FY22 or are applying to us for the first time may select one of the three dates above for their submission. 


Please be aware that our performing arts budget continues to be tight.  Grant increases will be unlikely for most returning grantees.  For the same reason, very few arts organizations of any kind will be added to our roster in 2022-23.


The receipt of each application received by the Foundation will be confirmed by return email.  Within approximately eight weeks of the 2022-23 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 recent application. 


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 being faced.

            *  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 2021-22 and 2022-23 seasons, a) the number of productions “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 theatre in both 2021-22 and 2022-23.


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 (or 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.  (NOTE:  The Foundation is unable to approve grants to applicants that are unable to 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, video or sound clips, annual reports, etc. are welcome but not required, and may be included with your application.

To ensure you are receiving all communications from the Samuels Foundation, please keep us informed of any changes to development personnel.



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. 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 in future seasons.

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