The arts are essential to strong, vibrant communities. A dynamic cultural sector is a catalyst for growth, attracting and retaining businesses and visitors. They strengthen neighborhoods and communities by preserving the culture and memories of specific places and have a positive impact on health and well-being. The arts provide spaces to allow people from different backgrounds to engage with one another and opportunities to build community. Perhaps most importantly, they offer personal enjoyment to individuals, groups, and families, and give voice to the human condition.
The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation focuses its arts grantmaking on efforts that strengthen arts organizations and nurture artistic talent. This program focuses on adult artists. Please see the K-12 Education grant program for guidelines for projects that engage school-aged participants.
The Mary Duke Biddle Foundation (MDBF) has a long-standing commitment to a diverse and thriving cultural sector in Chatham, Durham, Orange, and Wake Counties in North Carolina, one that provides meaningful artistic experiences for communities throughout the Triangle region. MDBF strikes a balance between supporting the region’s established institutions and newer and emerging organizations that reflect the full breadth of our cultures and neighborhoods.
In 2021, about 65% of MDBF Arts grants were awarded to organizations with operating budgets less than $500,000, 9% to organizations with budgets between $500,000-$1,000,000, and 24% to organizations with budgets greater than $1,000,000.
MDBF is a strong proponent of arts education, which is funded through the K-12 Education program.
MDBF focuses its arts grantmaking on strengthening arts organizations and nurturing artistic talent. Grants support a broad range of creative disciplines and practices—music, dance, theater, visual, digital/photography/filmmaking, literary, and audio (such as audio dramas).
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Access: MDBF views our arts grantmaking through an equity lens. We are particularly interested in supporting organizations led by people of color, that incorporate arts accessibility into their work, and whose boards and staff reflect the diversity of the Triangle. By accessibility, we mean opportunities to encounter, appreciate, and participate in the arts. We support organizations that embrace and advance DEI practices and work towards equitable access and engagement in the arts.
In 2021, MDBF shifted most of its grantmaking from project-based support to operating support for organizations that align with our Arts Grant Program funding goals. MDBF offers two grant types described below that are awarded through an open and competitive grant process. There are separate and distinct eligibility and application processes for these grants.
We offer a two-year grant of $10,000 each year for a total grant of $20,000. These grants will be made to organizations with which MDBF has an existing funding relationship, defined as having had at least one grant between 2012-2021. We anticipate making 10 two-year grants.
Eligibility for 2-year Operating Support grants
Evaluation criteria for 2-year Grants
We offer a one-year $5,000 grant targeted to organizations that have never received a grant from MDBF or to those that haven't received a grant since 2012. This grant provides an opportunity for MDBF to get to know new organizations. We anticipate making 5 one-year grants.
Eligibility for 1-year Opportunity Grants:
Evaluation criteria for 1-year Grants