Mellon, Penn foundations award $8 million to Philly arts organizations

Mellon, Penn foundations award $8 million to Philly arts organizations

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and William Penn Foundation have announced emergency COVID-19 relief grants totaling $8 million to Philadelphia-area arts organizations.

Thirty-seven arts institutions facing significant revenue losses — and the possibility of permanent closure — as a result of the pandemic received one-year grants ranging from $50,000 to $400,000. The recipients include the African American Museum in Philadelphia ($200,000), the Barnes Foundation ($400,000), FringeArts ($200,000), Kulu Mele African American Dance Ensemble ($50,000), Nueva Esperanza/Teatro Esperanza ($200,000), the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society ($200,000), the Philadelphia Folklore Project ($100,000), and the Print Center ($100,000).

In the first collaboration between the William Penn and Mellon foundations — the largest and second-largest funders of arts organizations in Philadelphia — Mellon provided matching funds to Penn grantees.

"Nearly nine months into the pandemic, arts and culture organizations in this great city of Philadelphia, and around the country, are still grappling with extreme financial challenges," said Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander. "We hope these grants not only help these organizations navigate the ongoing COVID-19 crisis, but also galvanize other funders to support the visionary artists and cultural leaders who are helping to illuminate our path forward from this prolonged global emergency."

"We are thrilled that Mellon Foundation, a national funder, has recognized the strength of the Philadelphia arts sector as they match our relief support for arts and culture grantees," said William Penn Foundation board chair Janet Haas. "Since the early months of the pandemic, we have witnessed the ways organizations have continued to serve their communities and adapt programming to the realities brought on by COVID-19. This group of organizations joins many that continue to serve the city and their communities in important ways."

(Photo credit: Nueva Esperanza/Teatro Esperanza)