How do I apply for a grant?

For our General Grants for Nonprofits and Publication Grants, Thoma Foundation accepts Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) on a quarterly basis from 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations. We fund programs that provide promising new insights into the fields of art in which we collect: Digital & Electronic ArtArt of the Spanish AmericasPost-War Painting & Sculpture, and Japanese Bamboo.

Your initial letter of inquiry should provide general information about the project such as the start and end dates, requested amount, and total budget, as well as a 200- to 300-word synopsis of the project outlining the main goals of the project and its significance. We review LOIs on a quarterly basis (see the General Grants for Nonprofits page for the next deadline). If we are interested in learning more about your project, you will hear from us within approximately thirty days of the quarterly deadline with an invitation to submit a Complete Proposal. The grants team will work with your organization to establish a realistic timeline for a Complete Proposal, but generally we ask that organizations aim to submit thirty days from receiving an invitation. Please keep in mind that the Foundation prefers twelve months’ notice before the start of a project.

As of late 2020, our Digital Changemaker Grants and Equity Grants are both in their pilot phases. For the most up-to-date information about the application procedures for each of these programs, please refer to the individual pages for each of these grants to learn more.

Questions about our grant opportunities should be sent to grants@thomafoundation.org. All grant requests must be submitted through our online grants portal.

What does the Foundation fund? What does the Foundation not fund?

Our General Grants for Nonprofits and Publications Grants support 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations whose innovative projects and original ideas will advance scholarship in the fields of art in which we collect. We encourage early-stage projects where significant seed funds are critical to the endeavor and where the Foundation can be a formative partner. We give strong preference to projects that highlight one or more artists from our collections. Additionally, we prefer to fund projects organized by small and midsize institutions, and those from organizations within from our areas of geographic interest—in the U.S., Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Texas; and internationally, South America Read more about our criteria for these grants here:

Criteria for Nonprofit Grants

Our new Digital Changemaker Grant and Equity Grant have their own missions and eligibility requirements that build on the Thoma Foundation’s historic strengths and interests while also increasing the scope of our grantmaking. Please visit the individual pages both of these new grants to learn more about the new directions we are exploring.

The Foundation is unable to provide funding to organizations that fall under the scope of external fiscal sponsorship. The Foundation does not fund or support general operational costs, debt reduction, political campaigns, legislative lobbying, art supplies, individuals’ art projects, projects that promote or proselytize any religion, or organizations that discriminate on any basis.


Does the Foundation provide grants to individuals?

The Foundation does not accept unsolicited grant proposals from individuals. Aside from our Fellowships and Awards programs, the Foundation only provides grants to 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations.

What is your policy on reimbursing overhead?

We have reimbursed overhead of up to 20% of direct project costs in the past, but because different organizations have different needs, we prefer for this to be the start of a conversation rather than a strict rule. When working with university or higher education partners, we prefer NOT to fund indirect costs for administration or other overhead. If your organization requires a signed letter articulating this policy, please see our Grantee Resources page for a pdf download. Contact our grants team at grants@thomafoundation.org if you have a specific question. 

How does the Foundation decide which artworks to collect?

The Foundation has an active acquisitions program to grow our distinct collection areas. We focus on purchasing artworks by mid-career and established artists whose work has shifted the fabric of the field in which they create and has contributed to major moments across the history of art, culture, and human innovation. The Foundation does not accept unsolicited artist submissions.

How can I visit the Foundation’s collection?

The Foundation has two exhibition spaces dedicated to sharing artworks from the collection: Art House in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and Orange Door in Chicago, Illinois. Art House is open by appointment. Orange Door is a private exhibition venue and is open by appointment; private tours are available pending scheduling and availability. We welcome visits from school and educational groups at both of our venues, and we ask that you please contact us in advance to arrange a tour.

Additionally, the Foundation’s collection is lent to exhibition venues around the United States and the world, much like a lending library of art. For a complete list of venues exhibiting art from our collection, please visit Our Collections on Tour.

Can I borrow artwork from the Foundation?

The Foundation accepts loan requests from organizations for exhibitions, long-term loans in a permanent exhibition, and educational loans that provide promising new insights into the fields of art in which we collect. We encourage exhibitions and research that coincide with ground-shifting concepts and will make every effort to accommodate loan requests. As a standard practice, the Foundation does not loan objects to individuals or to galleries or museums unable to meet standard American Association of Museums guidelines.

All artwork loan requests must meet the following criteria:

  • advance the Foundation’s mission to challenge and shift perceptions, spark creativity, and connect people across cultures;
  • share innovative new research and approaches in one of our art collection areas;
  • establish effective presentation, messaging, and communications around the project (exhibitions with a companion publication are encouraged); and
  • demonstrate professional standards and planning by making your request a minimum of six months in advance, meeting facility standards set forth by the American Association of Museums, and having a proposed time on view exceeding ninety days.

To submit an official request, please do so via the Artwork Loans Request form.

What are the costs involved with borrowing an artwork from the Foundation?

There is no rental fee to borrow artworks from the Foundation. We follow standard industry practice that borrowers pay for outgoing and return shipping and packing.

Can my organization both borrow artwork and receive a grant for the same project?

The Foundation is able to support innovative exhibitions with both an artwork loan and a grant. Preference is given to projects featuring a companion publication and/or requesting multiple artwork loans. We encourage prospective applicants to reach out to us via email prior to submitting a Letter of Inquiry or an Artwork Loan Request.

Can I reproduce an image for a book, essay, or academic paper?

The Foundation is pleased to make digital images of artworks from our collection available to scholars and educators. We will only consider requests to use or reproduce images for scholarly and educational purposes. Requests for images will be considered on a case-by-case basis; we regret that sometimes we may not be able to accommodate a request. Requests for commercial use such as advertising will not be approved on any grounds. 

Before submitting a request, scholars should familiarize themselves with the Foundation’s terms and conditions of use. Requests for images should be submitted via the Image and Research Request Form on our website. Upon making a request, please allow a minimum of two weeks for processing.

How can I stay up-to-date with Thoma Foundation news?

The best way to stay up-to-date with Foundation news is to sign up for our monthly e-mail newsletter by entering your email address at the bottom of this page. We will deliver news of our most relevant activities to your inbox every month.

Additionally, we post news on our website, and we share information across our social media accounts: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Vimeo.

Please do not hesitate to contact info@thomafoundation.org with any questions. We look forward to hearing from you.