There are a number of grant and funding resources for school music programs. For school choirs, these resources can help with general expenses, provide funds for regional competitions and pay for better equipment. Some of the grants for choir programs are specifically targeted to choirs and other grant sources can be used for general music categories.
National Endowment for the Arts
The National Endowment for the Arts provides a funding source available as grants for choir programs. In particular, the Learning in the Arts for Children and Youth grant encourages music and artistic expression in schools across the United States. The grants are meant for programs that benefit students between kindergarten and 12th grade, but they are not awarded to specific schools. Instead, school districts can apply for the grants, and the money can be divided among several schools' music programs, choirs and other artistic opportunities. Grants through this program can range from $5,000 to $150,000. To be considered for these grants, schools and organizations must apply online at Grants.gov.
Coming Up Taller Grant
Another option available that offers grants for choir programs is a Coming Up Taller grant from the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities. These grants are designed to spotlight arts and creative programs throughout the United States that have had a particularly beneficial impact on community children and students. Recipients of the award are given a $10,000 grant in addition to a plaque and invitation to the annual Coming Up Taller Leadership Enhancement Conference. To apply, organizations and groups must submit an application package which includes up to a six-page narrative on the group's mission and goals, resumes from staff leaders, photos of the group in action and a letter of recommendation.
Amphion Foundation Grants
Amphion Foundation Grants work well for choir programs but do have very specific music background requirements. The foundations only accepts applications from programs focusing on contemporary concert music and not other formats with no support for any jazz music. While the Foundation does accept applications from choruses, they only focus on children's choruses and don't accept grant applications from any group with amateur or volunteer performers. Choirs applying should look closely at Amphion Foundation guidelines and restrictions. Average grant awards range from $1,000 for smaller organizations to $7,500 for larger groups with larger grants reserved for ambitious projects.
Wells Fargo Grant Application
As part of the Wells Fargo Philanthropic Services Private Foundations, the Frank and Lydia Bergen Foundation offers musical performing arts and musical education grants to non-profit organizations. Submitting a Wells Fargo Grant Application is through their website and focuses on Miss Bergen's support of musical education and classical music. While there are no geographic restrictions, support of programming in New York and New Jersey is a strong focus of the trust. Average grant sizes are $10,000 to $50,000 with an average of 26 grants given each year through year-round applications.
Fender Music Foundation Grants
Another grant option for school choirs has been the Fender Music Foundation grants. Designated for use in after-school, in-school or music-therapy programs, in the past grants have ranged from $500 to $5,000 and can be used for a variety of expenses. These expenses included uniforms, sheet music, music instruments or equipment and a variety of other expenditures that directly benefit the program. To be considered, organizations submitted the Grant Candidate Form located on the Fender Music Foundation’s website. For the 2018-2019 year, the Fender Music Foundation is redefining their mission to work with and offer grants to music programs.
Amanda Younger is a freelance writer based in New York City. She has had her work published in "The Chapel Hill Herald," "Time Out New York" and "Independent Weekly" among other publications. She is also a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's School of Journalism.