Mellon Foundation Distributes Groundbreaking $228.4 Million—the Largest Quarterly Grantmaking Total in the Foundation’s History

186 grants totalling $228 million

During Global Pandemic, Mellon Foundation Remains at the Forefront of Philanthropic Giving to Arts, Culture, and Higher Education Institutions Nationwide 

NEW YORK, NY, December 22, 2020 – During its quarterly meeting in December, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation’s board of trustees issued a total of $228.4 million in grants—the largest quarterly total in the Foundation’s 51-year history. Funds were awarded to 186 grantees to support the arts and humanities, bolster higher education, and shore up cultural organizations devastated by the economic fallout out from COVID-19. 

Mellon’s large-scale grantmaking comes during a time of urgent need. Nonprofits across the nation have been whipsawed by the interconnected crises of a global pandemic, a major economic downturn, and the alarming effects of racial injustice. The Foundation’s grantmaking will help fortify infrastructure and reimagined programming in higher education, the arts, and culture. 

Fourth quarter grantmaking highlights:   

  • California Community Foundation: $10,000,000 in COVID-19 emergency response for Los Angeles arts and cultural organizations 
  • The Monuments Project: $9,841,750 in grants added to the Foundation’s ongoing initiative  
  • Prison Education Futures: $9,334,000 to support higher education for currently and formerly incarcerated students 
  • Bubble residencies: $3,785,000 to create safe work environments for 11 dance organizations and 350 artists  
  • COVID-19 relief for Philadelphia: $4,010,000 to support arts and culture organizations 
  • Community college transfers: $3,626,000 to support humanities students transferring from community colleges to research universities 
  • Art Museum Futures Fund II: $3,000,000 to more than a dozen small cultural institutions across the nation 
  • American Library Association: $2,550,000 to fund general operations for the world’s oldest and largest professional association for librarianship 
  • National Historical Publications and Records Commission: $2,350,000 in start-up grants for scholarly editions on African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, and Native American histories 
  • Community-based archives: $1,500,000 for preserving original source materials in all formats, including web-based content, with a focus on materials from historically underrepresented cultures and populations 
  • Flamboyán Foundation: $1,147,500 to support individual fellowships for Puerto Rican writers across genres 

The complete database of grants issued by the Mellon Foundation is available at


About The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation 
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is the nation’s largest supporter of the arts and humanities. Since 1969, the Foundation has been guided by its core belief that the humanities and arts are essential to human understanding. The Foundation believes that the arts and humanities are where we express our complex humanity, and that everyone deserves the beauty, transcendence, and freedom that can be found there. Through our grants, we seek to build just communities enriched by meaning and empowered by critical thinking, where ideas and imagination can thrive. 

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