Our Grantmaking

An artist sketches on paper in a workspace where the walls are covered with printed artworks and other supplies used in a workshop

Guiding Principles

Mellon Foundation believes human possibility thrives within just communities. We make grants to actively support the visionaries and communities that unlock the power in the arts and humanities that helps connect us all.

As we center social justice across the Foundation, we have designed our strategies and grantmaking processes to reflect our active partnerships with our grantees. To learn more about our program areas and grantmaking strategies, please visit the Programs sections of this website—Arts and Culture; Higher LearningHumanities in Place; and Public Knowledge.


How and What We Fund

Mellon actively works with our grantee partners, and we are deeply immersed in the fields in which we invest. Our grants are designed to activate the spirit of learning through the creation and sharing of bold new knowledge, and the inspiration felt in art.

While Mellon does not accept unsolicited proposals, we welcome inquiries from organizations whose work aligns with our current strategies—please visit our Inquiries page for more information. Additionally, we occasionally issue open calls for proposals. Please sign up for our emails to be notified when one of our programs issues an open call.

Mellon makes project support grants and, depending on the type of institution, general operating support grants. Grant amounts and durations vary by program and type of grant. We also consider a limited number of Officer’s Grants of $150,000 or less.

Mellon makes most of its grants to and through organizations in the United States that have been determined by the IRS to be section 501(c)(3) charities, as well as organizations outside the United States that are equivalent to US public charities (see Grantmaking Policies for more details).

As a rule, the Foundation does not fund tuition, K-12 education and programming, fundraising events, or provide direct unrestricted funding for individuals. In addition, the Higher Learning and Public Knowledge programs do not fund capital costs/physical construction costs, scholarships, financial aid, or study abroad opportunities. Please also note that generally, Mellon does not fund indirect costs for colleges and universities.

View the Mellon Foundation’s complete Grantmaking Policies.


Top photo: Courtesy of Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI). Artist-in-residence Nasanin Noroozi works in a printshop at Westbeth Artists Housing and Center for the Arts. Credit: Wesley Kingston.