The grants include a five-year, $10 million challenge grant from the Ford Foundation and contributions of $1 million each from the Doris Duke Charitable, Knight, and Rockefeller foundations, as well as an unspecified amount from individual donors, toward a $20 million campaign goal. The funds will serve as an operational endowment for the organization's staffing and grants administration needs, the cultivation of nominators, and conferences. The unrestricted grants of $50,000 the organization awards to artists will continue to be financed separately.
Launched in 2006 with $22 million in seed funding from the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential foundations, USA has awarded more than $21 million to nearly four hundred and fifty artists to date in the fields of architecture and design, crafts, dance, literature, media, music, theater and performance, traditional arts, and visual arts.
"The award is an unrestricted grant given to the most accomplished artists," said USA chief executive Carolina Garcia Jayaram. "The process of identifying and adjudicating nearly fifty artists every year is a rigorous process that involves a board of trustees and administration. An operations endowment is incredibly freeing because it allows us to be more creative with the programming, stabilizes the organization, and enables us to find more deserving artists from all disciplines across all fifty states."