ArtsChicago Arts and CultureSpring 2022Venues

$2.1 Million Expedited by Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation

One year after its April 2021 announcement of $3 million in expedited funding, and two years after its April 2020 announcement of nearly $3 million in expedited finding, the Chicago-based Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation (the Foundation) has announced a third wave of support, expediting an additional $2.1 million that includes: $1.6 million in expedited payments to Chicago small arts organizations in the midst of their multi-year award; and $576,000 in general operating renewal grants.

“Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic over the past two years, when to restart live productions continues to be a challenge for so many of our city’s small arts organizations,” said David Farren, Executive Director of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. “The Foundation continues to advocate for funding that helps sustain these beloved non-profit organizations and that alleviates some of the financial stress experienced by the sector. We take our commitment to these organizations very seriously.”

The expedited funds will be released to all organizations on April 15, 2022

The nearly 70-year-old Foundation currently supports small arts nonprofits with an array of ongoing organizational development opportunities in addition to multi-year general operating grants (vs. program-specific). These gen op grants range from $2,500 to $13,500 annually, for Chicago organizations with budgets under $1 million, and $25,000 to arts service organizations. 

The Foundation supports land conservation, artistic vitality, and regional collections for the people of the Chicago region and South Carolina’s Lowcountry, serving these communities in the following ways: supplying multiyear general operating support for the majority of its grants;  providing value in addition to dollars; and establishing multiple touchpoints with grantees throughout the grant cycle. Every Foundation grantee, no matter the grant size, has contact with its program officer at least once a year, usually more often.  Program staff attend cohort meetings, learning sessions, and informal gatherings with various grantee clusters

In September 2020, the Foundation announced the launch of Broadening Narratives, a major new Collections funding initiative to help museums, libraries, and other collecting organizations bring forward new and recovered narratives within the Foundation’s two geographies. Organizations whose collections illustrate BIPOC communities, LGBTQ+ perspectives, working-class narratives, small community experiences, as well as other underrepresented groups and viewpoints are eligible to apply.  Emerging, compelling, underrepresented perspectives reflective of collections in the areas of science, public health and the natural world also are eligible. Any Chicago or Lowcountry based non-profit organization with a relevant collection is encouraged to learn more about the strategy at The next deadlines for applications are April 1, 2022 and July 29, 2022.

Collections traditionally have ensured that stories are preserved, added to, revisited, and reconsidered in context of the past, the present, and the future. Some narratives, however, have been less valued or overlooked because of decisions based—consciously or subconsciously—on race, gender, sexual identity, educational background, economic or social status, or because they are perceived to be unpopular, divisive or outside the conventional thinking of the day. This new funding initiative is designed to be part of a new way forward in collections thinking as it shifts focus from the care and processing of material objects to the telling of broader and more inclusive narratives and perspectives through collections.

For more information on the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, visit