Driehaus Foundation Receives $12,500,000 from the MacArthur Foundation to Support Chicago’s Small Arts and Culture Organizations

April, 2018

The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation has been awarded a new five-year grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, extending a partnership that has supported Chicago’s smallest arts and culture organizations for the past 17 years. The funds will be used to support small arts organizations throughout Chicago.

The program, the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at the Driehaus Foundation, distributes approximately $1.8 million annually to 200 small performing arts organizations across the spectrum of artistic work, including theater, dance, music, museums, and festivals, as well as service organization that support these organizations and the broader arts ecosystem.

“This partnership between the Driehaus and MacArthur foundations began in 2000,” said Richard Driehaus, founder and president of the Driehaus Foundation. “At the time, there was little funding available to the growing number of emerging small theater and dance companies. MacArthur and Driehaus both believed that multi-year general operating support was the best way to help sustain these organizations and provide room for growth and creative innovation. There was no model for a partnership like this one. What we created was completely new.”

“The organizations supported through the MacArthur Funds at Driehaus are often where new talent is incubated, where artists hone their craft, and where people who live in Chicago neighborhoods go for theater, dance, and music,” said Kim Coventry, executive director of the Driehaus Foundation. “Many organizations have received their first foundation grant through this Fund, which has, in turn, leveraged additional funding. We are enormously grateful that the MacArthur Foundation has reinvested in this partnership.”

The grants are designed specifically to address the needs of small professional arts and cultural organizations. The goal is to encourage and advance the richness and variety of programming in Chicago’s vibrant and diverse arts community.

“Our support for Chicago’s creative sector is designed to help arts organizations create meaningful performances, exhibits, and experiences, and the flexibility to innovate and experiment,” MacArthur President Julia Stasch said. “We know the arts improve the quality of life and strengthen the fabric of communities. They fuel individual expression, help develop identity and potential, and allow people to connect to each other.”

To date, more than $20 million has been distributed to more than 430 organizations. A full list of recent grantees is available at

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