2024 Strengthening the Sector Grants


Strengthening the Sector grants will provide initiative-based support to organizations catalyzing systemic change at the policy level. 

Successful applications will identify the system an organization seeks to impact, demonstrate why the organization is well-positioned to take on this system change, explain why the work is a priority for the field, and share achievements and/or progress including policy accomplishments. 

We anticipate grants will support activities such as:

      1. advocacy training and tools that build the capacity of individuals to understand and proactively influence issues impacting arts and community vitality, and/or
      2. research collection and action plan designed at a scale which have the capacity to impact policy and field-wide practices.

Examples of past recipients include:
* Arts Ed Data Project – using data to understand student access and participation in arts education
* Create CA – advocating for high quality arts education statewide
* Californians for the Arts – advocating for policies that cultivate and promote thriving cultural sectors statewide
* OPERA America – creating a national advocacy network of opera company trustees and administrators
* National Guild for Community Arts Education – launching a comprehensive arts education advocacy initiative

The Music Man Foundation will make grants in varying amounts for initiatives with varying timelines. We are eager to hear from organizations acting as agents of change, to learn about their aspirations and new projects with potential for greater impact. Grant amounts will take into consideration the organizational budget, scope of initiative, and the organization’s alignment with The Music Man Foundation’s mission. Grants will be one-time grants without any commitment made to future funding by the Foundation.  However, recipient organizations may reapply after all grant funds are expended and any required reporting has been submitted to the Foundation.

Applications must be completed in the Foundation’s online grant platform.  Before being provided access to the application, interested organizations must successfully verify their eligibility (requirements listed below) and submit a brief overview of the initiative for which they seek funding. If the initiative overview is in line with this grant opportunity, the organization will be invited to participate in an organizational interview with Foundation staff.

Eligibility Requirements 

In order to be considered for funding, an organization must:

  • Reflect music within the organization’s efforts,
  • Operate as a non-profit organization,
  • Have been conducting mission-aligned programming since March 2022 or before,
  • Have had at least one paid employee since March 1, 2023 or before,
  • Not have a structural deficit, and
  • Have a service jurisdiction that includes either Los Angeles County, California (statewide), or the United States of America (nationwide). Programs focused on a state that is not California will not be eligible.
  • For organizations that have previously received a grant from The Music Man Foundation, the organization must be in good standing with the Foundation before applying for the Award.


The application will include:

  • Executive summary that includes brief discussion of approach, milestones, and timeline.
  • Narrative portion that includes details of the progress the organization aims to inspire, greater detail about its initiatives and beneficiaries, the staff and governance structure, how the organization is committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.
  • Financial section that includes a budget for the initiative for which support is being requested, two years of organizational budgets and audited financial statements or formal financial statements for the most recent fiscal year. If lobbying is part of the initiative, an allocated budget must be presented with lobbying and non-lobbying activities.

Selection Criteria

  • Demonstrated accomplishments in systems change and the capacity for the organization’s programming to create sustainable impacts.
  • Demonstrated understanding of the system the organization seeks to impact and insight as to why the organization is well-positioned to take on this system change.
  • Clear connection between the organization’s initiative(s) and how these lead to system change.
  • Clear description of the organization’s initiative(s) with the initiative’s (intended) participants and timeline.
  • Organization has a clear vision of its future intentions. Organization has capacity to identify and track progress towards key milestones for the organization and the system the organization is impacting.
  • Music is a primary component of the initiative’s efforts.
  • Strategic collaborations and/or partnerships exist and reflect an intentional collaboration that showcase intentional efforts to influence system dynamics.


  • March 1, 2024: Application opens
  • March – August: Organizational interviews take place with prospective applicants
  • August 30, 2024: Final day for organizations to verify eligibility and start submission process
  • September 13, 2024: Applications due
  • November 2024: Grants announced


Organizations whose work aligns with The Music Man Foundation’s interests should be in touch via email at [email protected].

Instructions for Using the Foundation’s Grant Portal 

For details about setting up your organization’s account and for additional tips on how to successfully submit the Strengthening the Sector application, please find instructions here.