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Jim Henson Foundation Grants

Grants to USA Nonprofits and Artists to Produce
Creative Theater Performances in Eligible Genres

Agency Type:

Foundation / Corporation

Funding Source:

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The Jim Henson Foundation

LOI Date:


Deadline Date:

09/07/20 Receipt


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Grants to USA nonprofit organizations and artists for creative theater performances in eligible genres. A letter of intent must be submitted prior to the full proposal. Funding is intended for projects that develop and produce new high quality works to be performed during the coming year. Requests will be accepted for performances in the genre of live puppet theater.

The Jim Henson Foundation awards grants each year for the creation and development of innovative excellent works of puppet theater. The Jim Henson Foundation offers three types of grants: 

    1. Production Grants are awarded for the production of new works ready to be presented in the coming year. 
    2. Workshop Grants are for the development and workshopping of these pieces. 
    3. Family Grants fund the development of new and innovative work specifically for children, families, and teenagers. Family Grants will be evaluated by the same high artistic standards as works for adults.

Workshop Grants and Production Grants can be combined over a two-year period for the greatest benefit to the piece; however, a Production Grant does not need to be proceeded by a Workshop grant and a Workshop Grant in no way ensures a future Production Grant.

Live puppet performance needs to be an integral element of any proposed project. While productions that utilize other media and genres will be considered for funding, a major portion of the piece must feature puppetry that is well-executed in both design and performance. 

The mission of the Foundation it to fund excellence in puppet theater.  Funding decisions are based on the quality of the puppetry. The Foundation is happy to consider proposals for work that crosses or combines artistic genres as long as puppetry is integral to the entire piece. 

The Foundation will prioritize work that can continue beyond a premiere. They look for shows that will live on through multiple performances with the potential to tour nationally and even internationally.

GrantWatch ID#:

GrantWatch ID#: 178153

Estimated Size of Grant:

- Production Grants: $7,000
- Workshop Grants: $3,000
- Family Grants: $4,000

Term of Contract:

Workshop Grants and Production Grants can be combined over a two year period.

Grants cannot be applied retroactively; substantial portions of a proposed project must take place after the funds are awarded.

Additional Eligibility Criteria:

Awards can be made only to IRS tax-exempt organizations.

The Foundation welcomes applications from individual artists, but those without 501(c)(3) status must apply through a fiscal sponsor.

Applications for international collaborations are accepted, but the primary artist and fiscal sponsor must be a US citizen. Projects that will only take place outside of the Unites States are not eligible for funding.

Grants are made only for the development of new works; the Foundation does not award funds for the presentation or remounting of existing work.

The Foundation does not fund:

- Publications
- Parades
- Pageants
- Exhibitions
- Spectacle
- Festivals
- Film or television projects
- Projects for school credit
- Workshops
- Education or outreach activities
- Purely digital performance.

Pre-Application Information:

2021 Granting Cycle, Calendar:

- March 9, 2020: Letter of intent online submission deadline
- June 1, 2020: Notification of application status
- September 7, 2020: Full proposal online submission deadline
- December 7, 2020: Final notification

If you would like to be considered for a grant, the first step is to submit a letter of intent on or before March 9, 2020.

If you are invited to submit a full proposal, your application must be received on or before September 7, 2020. An online grant application link will be emailed to you from our Foundation Manager. Please use this link to submit your application. Applications will be reviewed at the Fall board meeting, and applicants will be notified of the board's decision by December 7, 2020.

Artists who received a grant in the previous year are not eligible to submit a proposal in the current year.

Artists who received a Workshop Grant in the previous year are eligible to apply in the current year, but only for a Production Grant to further develop the previously funded piece.


Contact Information:

Before starting your grant application, please review the funding source's website listed below for updates/changes/addendums/conferences/LOIs.

To submit the LOI online:

Applicants may contact the Foundation at 212.439.7504 or for questions or information.

Lindsey "Z." Briggs, Foundation Manager
The Jim Henson Foundation
37-18 Northern Blvd., Suite 400
Long Island City, NY 11101

URL for Full Text (RFP):

Geographic Focus:

USA: Alabama;   Alaska;   Arizona;   Arkansas;   California;   Colorado;   Connecticut;   Delaware;   Florida;   Georgia;   Hawaii;   Idaho;   Illinois;   Indiana;   Iowa;   Kansas;   Kentucky;   Louisiana;   Maine;   Maryland;   Massachusetts;   Michigan;   Minnesota;   Mississippi;   Missouri;   Montana;   Nebraska;   Nevada;   New Hampshire;   New Jersey;   New Mexico;   New York City;   New York;   North Carolina;   North Dakota;   Ohio;   Oklahoma;   Oregon;   Pennsylvania;   Rhode Island;   South Carolina;   South Dakota;   Tennessee;   Texas;   Utah;   Vermont;   Virginia;   Washington, DC;   Washington;   West Virginia;   Wisconsin;   Wyoming

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