Reflecting founder Joyce Mertz Gilmore's passion for dance, the Mertz Gilmore Foundation has an extensive history of supporting dance in New York City. Mertz Gilmore was one of the first foundations to recognize the key role that presenters play in the dance field — providing artists with technical and promotional support, commissioning pieces, staging works-in-progress, mounting full performance seasons, educating audiences through outreach programs, and developing a vital distribution network for live performance. The foundation continues to fund contemporary dance presenters located throughout the city's five boroughs.
The foundation's dance grants fall into two categories: Presenters and Advocacy/Support Services
1) Presenters: The foundation provides general operating support grants to presenters of small to mid-sized dance companies in New York City. A presenter is an organization, or department or program of a larger organization, that facilitates exchanges between New York City's artists and audiences through creative performance opportunities. Grants are available only to groups that present contemporary dance (exclusively or as part of a multi-disciplinary program). Grants generally will be for two years. To qualify for a Presenter grant, applicants must demonstrate a current and continuous three-year history of presenting high-quality contemporary dance and a substantial annual budget dedicated to dance; sound organizational financial capacity and stable management (documented by the organization's most recent audit and operating budget); ongoing performance activity (with multiple dance presentations each year); and efforts to increase and diversify the audience for dance. In addition, the dance budget should include annual expenses related to dance presentations; residency and commissioning programs; technical assistance services to dance artists; and rehearsal space and time.
2) Advocacy/Support Services: On a limited basis and for opportunities that meet strategic concerns of the foundation, organizations may submit proposals for discrete advocacy/support services projects aimed at advancing the dance field by improving conditions for individual dance artists.
The foundation does not make grants to individual artists or companies, or to organizations based outside New York City.
In 2017, grants ranged between $20,000 and $120,000.
Letters of Inquiry must be received no later than January 19, 2018. Upon review, selected applicants will be invited to submit a complete application in April.
For complete program guidelines, information about previously awarded grants, and application procedures, see the Mertz Gilmore website.