American philanthropy has long recognized that arts and culture are vital to thriving societies, and yet are difficult to sustain fully through the market economy. More than a century of work in this domain has included the creation of physical facilities, sponsorship of international exchanges and fellowships for artists, and capacity building for non-profit arts organizations, among many diverse strategies to encourage creative expression and to promote the economic viability of the sector.

Recently Published

Photo Essay: John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and the Design of The Met Cloisters

How an American philanthropist’s love of medieval art created an immersive Old World experience at The Cloisters museum in New York City.

Arts & Culture

The Met Cloisters: An Unlikely Pair Makes a Home for Medieval Art in New York City

Does philanthropy always require a perfect partnership to create something great? Peering behind the facade of The Met Cloisters museum reveals that the answer is sometimes “no.”

Arts & Culture

American Choreographers: Funding the Creative Process

How grant makers and grantees cooperated to craft a unique program in dance.

Arts & Culture

Rebuilding a Cathedral: The Media, American Money, and French Heritage

Stepping in to save French monuments without stepping on French pride.

Issues in Philanthropy

The Fairy Godmothers of Women’s Studies

Moving scholarship by and about women from margin to center.

Issues in Philanthropy

How Philanthropy Helped History Go Public

What began as an attempt to find more job opportunities for historians went further and launched a new field.

Arts & Culture

Programming for the People: Diversity in Early Public Television

How philanthropy helped carve out a public space for the expression of race, culture, and critical perspectives.

Explore Further

Arts & Culture

Philanthropy Helps Save the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island

More than 700 major organizations and countless smaller individual donors helped restore a symbol of history and culture.

Arts & Culture

In Brief: The West Africa Museums Programme

The staying power of a massive preservation project thanks to a focus on museum staff and museums’ communities.

Arts & Culture

In Brief: The Rockefeller Foundation Supports Renowned Urbanist Jane Jacobs

One small grant gave enduring voice to one of the most famous critiques of postwar urban renewal.

Arts & Culture

Timeline: Foundations and the Walker Art Center

Decades of foundation involvement has helped this American cultural organization to grow, thrive, and innovate.

Race & Social Justice

In Brief: James Baldwin’s Creative Writer’s Fellowship

How a foundation provided the final ingredient to an era-defining novel.