Before we go any further…
Please review the below information to assess your eligibility and fit. We encourage you to contact us to discuss your program ideas or application. While it is not a requirement, we have found that most successful applicants are in close communication with Foundation members.
Unlike other foundations, we don’t have many requirements. That’s not to say our review process isn’t rigorous – just that, like us, it isn’t traditional.
We give awards, typically in amounts between $100 and $5,000, to individuals and small organizations, typically with an annual operating budget of less than $250,000, on a rolling basis. Our awards specifically support arts, culture, and community growth projects in Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois.
There’s just one other requirement and we’re emphasizing it here because it’s unusual. The project being proposed to our Foundation has to have been rejected by at least one other funding agency. The truth about funding, for arts and culture in particular, is that there are more good ideas than there are funds to support them. During Ryan’s career, only about half of the grant applications he ever prepared were funded. That doesn’t mean that the other half of his ideas were bad. Sure, some of them were, but there were some real gems in there, too, that didn’t receive funding because resources were too scarce or his companies weren’t well known enough or the ideas themselves were too unusual for traditional funding agencies to take seriously.
Those are the ideas we really want to hear. We don’t care how popular your brand is or isn’t or how good you are at navigating the traditional grants process. We’re interested in supporting the right people with the right ideas.
We also know that support doesn’t always mean dollars. Dollars certainly help, but sometimes what you really need is someone with some experience to talk about your plan or to look over you budget or to explain what the heck an LLC even is. We do that, too! When money is the best support we can provide, we do, but when improving organizational capacity will put you in a position to attract more dollars over a longer period of time, the eminently qualified arts and culture professionals in our family head into the trenches with you and try to sort it out. Sometimes that gift is worth more than any single grant award.
LETTER OF INQUIRY
If you meet the eligibility criteria above, we encourage you to send us a Letter of Inquiry (LOI). In this brief, 1-2-page narrative document, tell us everything you think we need to know about your idea. This is your chance to convince our Foundation members that your idea is just crazy enough to work. Don’t worry – if we like it you’ll have a chance to provide more detail. This should be an overview with enough detail for us to assess whether it makes sense to investigate further. LOIs may be submitted at any time and are reviewed on a rolling basis. You should be notified within two to four weeks whether we are able to invite a proposal. Instructions for the proposal itself will be provided with the invitation, but don’t worry too much about that either. Like we said, we’re much more interested in your idea than we are in how good you are at writing and assembling a grant application.
For fastest consideration, email your Letter of Inquiry to firstname.lastname@example.org.