Focus ON FUNDERS: THE ANDREW W. MELLON FOUNDATION

Article excerpt

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is named after the noted American financier and industrialist (1855-1937) who served as Secretary of the Treasury under three presidents. Founded in 1969 with the consolidation of the Old Dominion Foundation (founded by Andrew W. Mellon's son, Paul Mellon) and the Avalon Foundation (founded by Mellon's daughter, Ailsa Mellon Bruce), the Foundation's purpose is to "aid and promote such religious, charitable, scientific, literary and educational purposes as may be in the furtherance of the public welfare or tend to promote the well-doing or well-being of mankind." Under this broad charter, the Foundation currently makes grants on a selective basis to institutions in higher education; cultural affairs and the performing arts; population; conservation and the environment; and public affairs.

The Foundation's support for the performing arts has been consistent and substantial. Although the Foundation does not confine its support to large organizations with national visibility, it does seek to support leading institutions, those that contribute to the preservation and development of their art form, provide creative leadership in solving problems or addressing issues unique to the field and represent the highest level of institutional performance. Primary attention is given to strengthening institutions over time, encouraging effective partnerships, providing superior professional training, enhancing the quality of performances and encouraging the development of new works while preserving older ones of artistic merit. …