Arts and Culture

The Driehaus Foundation believes that the arts play an essential role in the cultural life of Chicago. They provide entertainment, stimulate our imagination, challenge our perceptions, and encourage us to reflect upon our distinct traditions and our shared humanity.

We support organizations that support the arts. We make grants that cultivate a robust and diverse arts ecosystem, encouraging collaboration, advocacy, and knowledge sharing. Specifically, we provide general operating grants to arts service and other organizations whose core mission is to provide guidance, technical assistance, and stewardship to Chicago’s artists and arts and culture nonprofits. In addition, we occasionally support projects and initiatives that will contribute to Chicago’s role as a cultural leader on a regional, national, or international scale.

  • The vast majority of our arts and culture grantees are Chicago-based. National organizations may be considered for funding for a particular initiative or event if the purpose is to engage Chicago audiences, artists, and/or the arts and culture community. 
  • General operating grants are available only to Chicago-based arts service organizations with a core mission to serve artists and arts organizations in the city. Organizations whose mission centers on increasing the capacity or collective impact of other arts and culture organizations may also be considered for general operating support. 
  • Project grants occasionally support events or initiatives that, by virtue of their unique character, have the potential to elevate Chicago’s profile as an arts and cultural leader. These project grants tend to support late-stage completion and implementation rather than research or preproduction.

 The Driehaus Foundation does not provide:

  • Funding for arts education, arts outreach, or community theater.
  • Project support for research, development, or preproduction expenses of a creative endeavor.
  • General operating support for arts organizations whose primary mission is public performance or presentation. (See the MacArthur Funds for Arts and Culture at The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation program, which does provide such support.)

In addition to our funding for Arts and Culture, the Foundation also partners with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation to provide general operating support to arts and cultural organizations in Chicago with annual budgets up to $500,000. To review the guidelines for this separate Arts and Culture program, please click here. In most cases, organizations that are funded under the Foundation’s own Arts and Culture program cannot also be funded by the MacArthur-Driehaus Funds. Please review the guidelines for both programs to determine which is the best fit for your organization.

For more information, contact Suellen Burns, Senior Program Officer, at, or call (312) 641-5772.