The Foundation

Our Vision

We envision a thriving and equitable performing arts ecosystem for the city of New York, with reliable and ample philanthropic support.

We envision a city where all performance traditions, disciplines, and conversations are cultivated, cared for, and revered.

We envision a landscape where everyone can access and afford this vibrant ecosystem, and where arts organizations connect deeply and authentically with community.

Our Mission

Howard Gilman believed in the power of the arts to transform lives. In honoring his legacy, the Foundation provides funding and support to New York City-based performing arts organizations that are reflective of our City’s vibrant cultural community.

Our Core Values

We ground this work in specific values and guiding principles, which are both practical and aspirational. Collectively, Gilman’s staff and board:

  • Approach our work with integrity and respect for artists and arts workers. We appreciate the significant time it takes to pursue funding. We acknowledge the inherent power dynamics and in response, strive to be candid about our processes, and create relationships based on transparency and trust.
  • Defer to our applicants as the experts about their work. Our staff is made up of former and current practicing artists and arts workers, and we approach our grantmaking with that lived experience. At the same time, we recognize the limits of our knowledge.
  • Take the time to interact with our applicants and grantees beyond the written application by engaging in conversations that provide insight into specific needs. We prioritize attending performances and other programming as often as possible.
  • Recognize the inequities that institutional philanthropy has created and perpetuated. We commit to supporting organizations that have been traditionally undercapitalized due to systemic racism and other discriminatory practices.
  • Support and encourage the creativity of our grantees and seek to embody creative approaches in our grantmaking. We know that no two organizations are alike, and no two grants are alike either. We celebrate the uniqueness of each organization and do not fund with predetermined formulas. Instead, we tailor our grantmaking to reflect the distinctive needs of each grantee.
  • Value collaboration, both internally and externally. We approach our grantmaking collectively and by consensus. We encourage resource-sharing and partnerships amongst the organizations we support and amongst our peer funders.
  • Commit to continuously learning and seeking feedback from applicants, grantees, and the field. We welcome research in order to understand the issues impacting our grantees, and we shift our processes as we learn.
  • Encourage flexibility and recognize that change and adaptation are necessary parts of both our work and the work of our grantees. Our mission is more important than our systems.