PHOTO: Congo Square Theatre Company’s first rehearsal for the upcoming production of
“What To Send Up When it Goes Down,”
March 31-May 1, 2022 Photo by John Boehm

CHICAGO [March 16, 2022]—One year after its April 2021 announcement of $3 million in expedited funding, and two years after its April 2020 announcement of nearly $3 million in expedited finding, the Chicago-based Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation (the Foundation) is proud to announce a third wave of support, expediting an additional $2.1 million that includes: $1.6 million in expedited payments to Chicago small arts organizations in the midst of their multi-year award; and $576,000 in general operating renewal grants.


“Due to the uncertainty of the pandemic over the past two years, when to restart live productions continues to be a challenge for so many of our city’s small arts organizations,” said David Farren, Executive Director of the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. “The Foundation continues to advocate for funding that helps sustain these beloved non-profit organizations and that alleviates some of the financial stress experienced by the sector. We take our commitment to these organizations very seriously.”

The expedited funds will be released to all organizations on April 15, 2022.

About Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation & How it Serves


The nearly 70-year-old Foundation currently supports small arts nonprofits with an array of ongoing organizational development opportunities in addition to multi-year general operating grants (vs. program-specific). These gen op grants range from $2,500 to $13,500 annually, for Chicago organizations with budgets under $1 million, and $25,000 to arts service organizations.

The Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation supports land conservation, artistic vitality, and regional collections for the people of the Chicago region and South Carolina’s Lowcountry.  The Foundation serves these communities in the following ways:

  • Supplying multiyear general operating support for the majority of its grants. Anecdotally, multiyear general operating support is the “gold standard” most valued by grantees.  It supports organizational stability, provides flexibility, and helps build further trust in relationships between funders and grantees
  • Providing value in addition to dollars. The Foundation’s strength is in the overall “value proposition” of its grants — the award dollars, plus technical assistance support, sponsoring convenings, providing informal coaching, and underwriting scholarships for conferences and other organizational development opportunities.
  • Establishing multiple touchpoints with grantees throughout the grant cycle. Every Foundation grantee, no matter the grant size, has contact with its program officer at least once a year, usually more often. Program staff attend cohort meetings, learning sessions, and informal gatherings with various grantee clusters.

About Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation’s New
“Broadening Narratives” Collections Strategy


In September 2020, the Foundation announced the launch of Broadening Narratives, a major new Collections funding initiative to help museums, libraries, and other collecting organizations bring forward new and recovered narratives within the Foundation’s two geographies. Organizations whose collections illustrate BIPOC communities, LGBTQ+ perspectives, working-class narratives, small community experiences, as well as other underrepresented groups and viewpoints are eligible to apply.  Emerging, compelling, underrepresented perspectives reflective of collections in the areas of science, public health and the natural world also are eligible. Any Chicago or Lowcountry based non-profit organization with a relevant collection is encouraged to learn more about the strategy at
The next deadlines for applications are April 1, 2022 and July 29, 2022.

Collections traditionally have ensured that stories are preserved, added to, revisited, and reconsidered in context of the past, the present, and the future. Some narratives, however, have been less valued or overlooked because of decisions based—consciously or subconsciously—on race, gender, sexual identity, educational background, economic or social status, or because they are perceived to be unpopular, divisive or outside the conventional thinking of the day. This new funding initiative is designed to be part of a new way forward in collections thinking as it shifts focus from the care and processing of material objects to the telling of broader and more inclusive narratives and perspectives through collections.

For more information on the Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation, visit


Press Contact:

Amanda Berrios/Elizabeth Neukirch
The Silverman Group, Inc.
847-421-8517 (cell)

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