Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Oleksiuk - Grants Research

Day 1) After searching through and reading many web pages and various websites on grants, I realized the challenge to narrow down prospective funding sources is not easy. My initial round of research led me to look at about 20 different websites, some of which were singular funding sources (potential grant givers) and others were clearinghouse type sites that listed many funders and opportunities. Having a plethora of resources sounded great initially, but I was immediately swamped by the complexity of the task at hand. Each web site looked different. I was kind of hoping for a big button with a glowing green $$$ icon that would cause money to rain down on me just by clicking it. Not the case. Some of the funders' websites were fairly straightforward, but in those cases, my project was ruled out by one or two clicks. I was surprised by the number of sites that specifically did NOT fund student work. Slightly depressed, I decided to give it another round on another day.

Day 2) Armed with my newly found cynicism, I approached the task again with a slightly different approach. Instead of the shotgun method of trying to visit bjillion websites all at once, I decided to take a slower approach. The first funder match I found was the Daniel Langlois Foundation. Not surprisingly, this was listed by Sabrina under "specific links to big grants." So there you go: it certainly helps when the faculty does the bulk of the research for you. What I found interesting about this website is that it was specifically geared for new media, with names like David Rokeby, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, and Lynn Hershman Leeson squarely plastered on the front page. further digging found information on Dan Sandin, among others. What I like about this foundation is it is a treasure trove of information on topics such as conserving technology-based art, as well as information on the individual artists and works. This foundation seems to be truly involved in new media in all phases (funding, exhibiting, critical dialog, and preservation). Having said that, concerning grant application funding, the website states "As of January 2008, grants for the Foundation’s programs have been allocated until the end of 2008 and their beneficiaries have been notified. The Foundation will not consider further grant requests before 2009." And it gives an address. So I am going to interpret that as a free form application process and simply contact them. I also signed up for their e-newsletter.

My second find was from the Donors Forum. I used their FunderSource. I found this database very interesting and efficient (in the way that looking at 20+ websites all at once is not). Here I was able to get through multiple listings relatively quickly. Once you get the hang of it, you can see the potential pitfalls here. A lot of the foundations do not grant to individuals or non 501(c)(3)s. Despite the fact that these are not strict rules for this particular project, I decided to tkae a look at someone who would simply und a project by an artist. Some of the hits I got actually had contradictory information (Abbot Foundation listing in the DonorSource lists that the Foundation does give to individuals, but ther website says they specifically do not). After a couple more searches and getting used to the database listings (which dont all have equal information) I hit upon the following: William F. O'Connor Foundation, who is listed as a funder of "Media Arts", which was my criteria. The foundation also accepts unsolicited proposals, and there are no deadlines. The application procedure is: Letter request with copy of tax return and financial statements. There is nothing on the listing that tells me they wouldn't fund my project. Total assets (2006): $42,924,233.

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