United States Artists Gets $20 Million From Ford Foundation

Substantial support for the grant-making group.

United States Artists CEO Carolina García Jayaram. ©USA

United States Artists, an organization that gives grants to artists, has been awarded $20 million by the Ford Foundation and other charitable organizations.

According to a statement from United States Artists, the $20 million operations endowment comprises an initial five-year $10 million challenge grant from the Ford Foundation, million dollar grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. Additional contributions were made by private donors.

The grants were announced in Miami Beach last night (April 18) at the New World Center, during the 2016 USA Artists Assembly, the organization’s annual celebration and alumni gathering.

The funds are earmarked for an operational endowment to support the organization’s staffing, conferences, and securing nominators and grant administration. The gift will cover everything except the actual grants to the artists, which are financed separately.

“Artists can drive social change by inspiring our imaginations and challenging us all to work toward a better world,” said Ford Foundation president Darren Walker in a statement. “We are proud to join this effort that will give visionary artists the opportunity to flourish and engage our minds and hearts.”

United States Artists CEO Caroline García Jayaram said the support comes “at an integral moment in USA’s development. This endowment ensures our growth into the future and sustains our commitment to supporting the diversity of artists nationwide.”

United States Artists was founded in 2005 by the Ford, Rockefeller, Rasmuson, and Prudential Foundations with $22 million in seed funding. Through its fellowship program, USA has distributed over $21 million in support of roughly 450 artists. The organization moved to Chicago in 2014.

Past recipients of its fellowships include Kara Walker, Theaster Gates, and Catherine Opie.


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