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Funders Forum

Jerome Foundation

March 2011

Jerome Foundation In order to accomplish its goal of contributing to a dynamic and evolving culture, the Saint Paul, Minnesota-based Jerome Foundation supports the creation, development, and production of new works by emerging artists in Minnesota and New York City. The foundation provides funding to individual artists as well as to nonprofit arts organizations. The Foundation Center asked Jerome's president, Cynthia Gehrig, to discuss the foundation's grantmaking philosophy in greater detail:

QuestionAccording to its statement of values, the Jerome Foundation "welcomes the opportunity to be pushed beyond its own boundaries of understanding and experience" and "encourages artistic exploration and risk-taking." What originally led you to adopt this philosophy, and what recommendations can you share with other grantmakers based on your experience in embracing this approach?

Answer"Supporting creativity has always been central to arts and culture grantmaking, but it truly resides in all fields of activity from new ideas to new connective tissue among existing ideas. The Foundation sees a compelling current of exploration and risk-taking in the emerging creative artists it supports. Making a commitment to diverse cultural perspectives and embracing what we don't know in terms of how we understand cultural expression has been a growing part of the Foundation's grantmaking over the past three decades. Although Board and staff are diverse, the size of the Foundation is such that governance and management will never be fully representative of the rich range of cultural perspectives that exist in the Foundation's two geographic areas of New York City and Minnesota. It has to implement strategies such as utilizing diverse review panels, holding informational meetings in cooperation with organizations serving culturally specific artists, convening focus groups, and bringing criticism from under-served communities to the Board of Directors. When the Foundation encounters different cultural perspectives, experiences, and expressions, it is enriched and its program becomes stronger.

"Being pushed beyond boundaries of understanding and experience also has a generational component. In the field of new media, in particular, the Foundation is learning so much about the concerns and forms of expression of younger generations of creative artists through its grants to artists who work in new interactive forms. The Foundation searches for younger leaders to serve as guides. Experimenting with new approaches, forms, and delivery mechanisms forces growth and may be a deliberate grantmaking strategy to support experiments that may or may not continue. We learn from both ambitious failures and successes."

Funder's Forum: Donor Profiles

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September 2014

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Teagle Foundation
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Robert R. McCormick Foundation
June 2014

Bush Foundation
May 2014

The Kresge Foundation
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The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation
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Rauch Foundation
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Stavros Niarchos Foundation
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The Louis Calder Foundation
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The Bella Vista Foundation
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The Skillman Foundation
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Rosenberg Foundation
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The Pittsburgh Foundation
August 2013

Saint Luke's Foundation
July 2013

The Sobrato Family Foundation
June 2013

W.K. Kellogg Foundation
March 2013

Trustees' Philanthropy Fund, Fidelity Charitable
February 2013

The Duke Endowment
January 2013

The Beazley Foundation
October 2012

The Colcom Foundation
September 2012

The Clark Foundation
August 2012

The Hyde and Watson Foundation
July 2012

Annie E. Casey Foundation
June 2012

Robert W. Woodruff Foundation
May 2012

Markle Foundation
March 2012

The Commonwealth Fund
February 2012

The Burroughs Wellcome Fund
January 2012

Posner-Wallace Foundation
December 2011

Public Welfare Foundation
November 2011

Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies
October 2011

Walter & Elise Haas Fund
September 2011

Alcoa Foundation
August 2011

Eugene and Agnes E. Meyer Foundation
July 2011

The Cleveland Foundation
June 2011

Fannie E. Rippel Foundation
May 2011

The California Wellness Foundation
April 2011

Jerome Foundation
March 2011

Lumina Foundation
for Education

February 2011

Charles Stewart
Mott Foundation

January 2011

Conrad N. Hilton Foundation
December 2010

M. J. Murdock
Charitable Trust

December 2010

Surdna Foundation
October 2010

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