Jerome’s commitment to “the long game”

Dec 08, 2020

This is as a critical moment for the arts and for our nation. As artists and organizations respond to the COVID crisis and work to dismantle racism in our country, we see some artists and organizations working diligently simply to survive and resume their practice; we see others engaged in reinventing and restructuring the ways they think and operate; we see still others in the very earliest stages of organizing to create entirely new pathways that will expand how, for whom and with whom the arts community as a whole will operate.

These efforts and the challenges that inspire them are likely to consume the arts for the greater part of a decade—or longer. We worry that, just as many special recession-linked initiatives and extraordinary giving in 2008 disappeared before that crisis was fully over, many of today’s extraordinary relief programs may end before the arts sector has fully recovered. As a result, we have been spending time in conversations with artists, arts organizations, our Board and grantmaking colleagues about the role we should play both in the immediate crises and for the long term.

Today, we are making a commitment to “the long game.”

To date, we have repurposed more than $4.15 million of committed grants to general operating purposes and extended the period of grant commitments in our Organizational program, provided more than $125,000 in emergency grant funding to funded first round Fellows and Film, Video and Digital Production grantees, increased direct payment awards to first round Fellows by more than $470,000 and awarded $150,000 to four consortia offering emergency support to artists and organizations in Minnesota and New York City—a strong response for us as a Foundation whose annual giving budget is less than $4M. We are especially grateful to our Board and to the organizers of those relief efforts for their speed of responsiveness and thoughtfulness of approach.


Now we are ambitiously increasing our giving and will commit a minimum of an additional $8 million to the arts—an amount above and beyond our legally required 5% distribution levels.

Today, we are not only confirming $3M of our ongoing core giving for sixty $50,000 Fellowships to artists (whose names will be announced in early 2021), but designating $950,000 of this extraordinary $8M to also award smaller grants to alternates and finalists in our Fellowships and Support for Organizations programs.

While we will use some of these funds in the upcoming year, we will deliberately commit the bulk of the $8M between 2022-2025 to address emerging needs and the anticipated funding gap that will arise as other short-term emergency initiatives disappear.

Looking ahead, we are committed to the following:


We will maintain our focus on early career artists and the organizations who serve and present them.

We will continue to award multi-year grants to both artists and arts organizations, offering recipients maximum flexibility in determining how those funds might best be used.

And we will continue to embrace our long-standing values of diversity, innovation and humility in our grants review, leaning more deeply into those artists, organizations and communities who are working to dismantle racism and promote greater social cohesion.


We will continue to invest in early career film and new media directors through our Minnesota and New York City Film/Media programs, loosening eligibility requirements and giving artists greater flexibility in how funds are used over extended periods of time. New guidelines will be available in early February 2021.

We will continue our support for early career artists in all disciplines through the Jerome Hill Artist Fellows program. Guidelines will be available and applications will open for the next round in February 2022.

Individual artists will also continue to have access to funding through many of the programs funded through our organizational initiatives. Artists should investigate the organizations funded by Jerome to learn more about how and when they may be offering programs for early career artists with Jerome support.

Above and beyond these standing core programs, we will join select national, regional and local collaborative funding efforts to support artists in Minnesota and New York City as they weather these difficult times.


Rather than accepting additional applications in our Support for Organizations program, we will in late spring 2021 instead announce new grants opportunities for organizations. We understand the anxiety in the field at this moment and appreciate your patience as we confirm both our approach, the kinds of organizations this will prioritize and our level of funding for this next initiative.

We will also join select national, regional and local collaborative funding efforts to support arts organizations in Minnesota and New York City as they weather these difficult times.


We will continue to support service organizations and researchers for convenings or studies that will benefit the arts community and stimulate greater learning and progress. These guidelines will remain unchanged for the foreseeable future and are available through this website now.


We recognize that, as a small foundation, we lack the ability to offer the scale of resources that many other foundations can muster. We hope however that our exclusive dedication to the arts, our determination to repeatedly challenge our giving levels, and our commitment to be in this for “the long game” will be of value.

We look forward to being of service to artists and arts organizations both in the coming year and for years to come, and to the work they will undertake to lead our communities and our field forward.