The Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation was founded in 1995, and is primarily committed to providing grants and programmatic support for:

  • Access to art for a broad audience
  • Art in the service of social justice
  • Art in the service of social change and discourse
  • Under-recognized artistic practice
The Foundation supports arts and cultural organizations through grants to catalyze collective action, promote equality, contribute to advocacy and policy change and develop capacity for greater civic engagement.  The Foundation is also interested in supporting organizations outside of the arts whose programs seek to engage communities through cultural activities.

Part 1: The Social Mirror, 1983. Mierle Laderman Ukeles at 2016 grantee Queens Museum.


Through its Art and Social Justice mission the Shelley & Donald Rubin Foundation fosters dialogue, encourages diversity, promotes education, and nurtures and empowers communities. Through an annual grants program it supports ethical artistic practice that aims to broaden access in the five boroughs of New York City.

Past grants have ranged from $2,500 to $100,000; the foundation is open to reviewing requests on a variety of scales, but will not be the sole funder of an organization or project.


©Julie Lemberger, Courtesy of Franklin Furnace

Eligible Applications
Only organizations with tax-exempt status under US Internal Revenue Code, or those with qualifying fiscal sponsors, will be considered. Organizations must be active in the five boroughs of New York City. Potential grantees must be organizations that supply one or more of the following to audiences:
  • Arts education*
  • Public art
  • Art in community and service centers
  • Artistic activism
  • Community-based museums
  • Art in the service of social justice or change
  • Promotion of under-recognized artistic practice

Ineligible Applications
Funding will not be provided for the following:

  • Grants to individuals
  • Capital (building) projects
  • Endowment funds
  • Scholarships or fellowships
  • Fundraising activities
*The Foundation’s grants to educational institutions are for direct program expenses only; as such, no part of such a grant can be used for overhead or indirect costs.

Socrates Sculpture Park’s 2015 Folly competition winner IK Studio designed Torqueing Spheres, which encourages social interaction with its intertwining and undulating sculpted forms.


Open Call
On August 17, 2015, the Foundation’s first open call was launched, soliciting requests from eligible nonprofit organizations. Any organization fitting the criteria set down in the Guidelines section of this website can apply for funding. The Foundation’s staff and advisors will review grant requests. The deadline for application in 2017 is September 15.
A selection of grants are made at the discretion of the Trustees. Discretionary grants are by invitation only. We do not accept unsolicited grant proposals outside of the parameters of our open call.

Park visitors explore the contours of Heide Fasnacht’s Suspect Terrain during the May 17th spring season opening.


  • The annual open call for Applications will go live on April 1, 2017.
  • Application forms for grants will be available online from that point on.
  • The deadline for receipt of applications in 2017 will be September 15.
  • Applicants will be notified about the Foundation’s decision by January 2018.


Before submitting your application online, please read the following information:

  • Read the guidelines to check that your organization qualifies for funding
  • Provide any relevant supporting material
  • Resumes/qualifications of key personnel
  • Enclose a detailed budget with your application
  • Attach an IRS tax determination letter with your EIN Number
  • Accepted formats are Word documents and PDFs for text and jpg for images
  • If your organization received funding in 2017, you are required to submit an interim report when applying for funding awarded in 2018. Please submit your report as a pdf attachment including a narrative report, assessment of impact of the funded project, visual documentation, and a budgetary report indicating actual costs compared with your proposed project budget.


Please look in April this year for news about funding in 2018.


Once grants are approved, grantees will be paid upon completion of a written contract provided by the Foundation. Foundation staff are available to consult with grantees by telephone and correspondence and will conduct site visits at the discretion of the foundation. On completion of funded projects grantees are required to write a report evaluating the project’s accomplishments.
With the understanding that not all artistic and cultural programs can be evaluated in comparable ways, should provide the metrics through which they plan to evaluate their success as a part of the grant application;

  • The number of participants, audience, and attendees
  • Communities served (indicating demographics and geographic location)
  • Itemized actual budget with list of sources of income secured (public, private, and/or earned income) and a list of relevant costs incurred