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.
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.
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.”
American Choreographers: Funding the Creative Process
Grant makers and grantees cooperated to craft a unique program in dance.
Rebuilding a Cathedral: The Media, American Money, and French Heritage
Stepping in to save French monuments without stepping on French pride.
The Fairy Godmothers of Women’s Studies
Moving scholarship by and about women from margin to center.
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.
Programming for the People: Diversity in Early Public Television
Philanthropy helped carve out a public space for the expression of race, culture, and critical perspectives.
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.
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.
A Hand in Urban Design: Rockefeller Foundation Support for Renowned Urbanist Jane Jacobs and New York’s Lincoln Center
One small grant gave enduring voice to one of the most famous critiques of postwar urban renewal, while another huge grant went to an opposing cause.
Timeline: Foundations and the Walker Art Center
Decades of foundation involvement has helped this American cultural organization to grow, thrive, and innovate.
In Brief: James Baldwin’s Creative Writer’s Fellowship
How a foundation provided the final ingredient to an era-defining novel.