Building Bridges 2014-15 Grants Program

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Program Description
Organizational Eligibility
Application Process
Letters of Interest
Key Dates
Projects and Areas Not Funded

Program Description

The Building Bridges 2014-15 Grants Program will support nonprofit organizations in their work to plan and implement cultural programs or projects intended to increase public knowledge and understanding of current day Muslim societies through arts or media-based experiences.

The program will support projects that create immersive, interactive, collaborative and/or engaging experiences tailored to the needs and interests of target audience(s).

  •  A total of $1,500,000 will be awarded for projects and programs that begin in March 2015.

  • Grants in the amounts of $25,000 to $300,000 will be awarded for projects and programs over one to three years, depending on the need of the project. Grants may support up to 75 percent of the total program or project budget. The total grant requested may not exceed 25 percent of the organization’s annual expenses.

  • Nonprofit organizations with operating expense budgets greater than $250,000 are eligible to apply. 

  • Grantees will be selected through a competitive, panel review process.

  • The application process will include three steps: an intent to apply electronic postcard to notify the foundation that you will submit a letter of interest (LOI); a letter of interest (LOI); and a full proposal from organizations selected by the LOI review panel. (Details, criteria and schedule below.)

There are many ways organizations might design, structure and implement programs or projects that increase public understanding and knowledge through experiencing arts and media of programs of present-day  Muslim societies. Organizations are encouraged to draw upon their core capabilities, audience knowledge and resources in the creation of their proposals. Competitive projects may include, but are not limited to, development of new programs informed by past experience with successful international artistic programming or with expansion of existing programs that increase understanding of today’s Muslim societies.

For more information about the DDFIA Building Bridges Program, please review the Goals and Initiatives page.

How to Apply

Organizational Eligibility

  • 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status and publicly supported.

  • Annual operating expenses greater than $250,000, of which at least $50,000 is for professional arts or media programming.

  • At least three years of experience providing arts and/or media-based programs.

  • Projects must take place within the United States.

  • Organizations may submit only one application. Organizations that received a grant in the 2013 funding round are eligible to apply again in this round. If selected in this second round, the two cumulative grants will not exceed more than $300,000.

Application Process 

The application process includes three steps. Each step needs to be completed in order to progress to the next:

1. An intent to apply electronic postcard to notify the foundation that your organization will submit a letter of interest (LOI). The intent to apply electronic postcard is not a screening mechanism for applicants. Knowing the number of potential applicants is helpful to managing the grant-making cycle of the foundation.
2. A brief preliminary proposal as a letter of interest (LOI);
3. A full proposal from organizations selected by the LOI review panel.

Electronic Postcard

Organizations interested in applying must first submit an intent to apply electronic postcard. This is not a screening mechanism and is only meant to help the foundation gain an understanding of the number of potential applicants. With that said, submitting the electronic postcard must be completed in order to advance to the next step in the application process.  Applicants will need their organization’s Tax ID number to begin the submission process.

Once this step has been completed, the foundation will email a link to the online Letter of Interest (LOI) form. Applicants will be asked to state the grant amount requested but are not required to provide a detailed budget at this time.

All applicants will have an opportunity to learn more about the program and the application process as well as ask questions they may have through informational webinars to be held at two separate times before the Letters of Interest are due.

Informational webinars will be held two times for all applicants in Wednesday, July 16 and Wednesday, August 6, 2014. Applicants are encouraged to attend at least one webinar, as each will be an opportunity to learn about the Building Bridges grants program and the application process in more detail and to answer any questions about the application process.


Click here to view the informational slides from the webinar.

Click here to view a presentation from current grantee, Andy Ackerman.

Letters of Interest

Project descriptions provided through the online Letter of Interest form should address the following questions (1,000 word maximum):

  • What is the proposed project? Who would be involved in its planning and implementation, including possible partner organizations, community groups, etc.?
  • What is your proposed project’s desired impact and how would this impact be achieved?
  • Who is the target audience(s)/population(s) for the proposed project?
  • How would the project involve the arts and/or media? How would artists, organizations or media resources be identified?
  • How does your proposed project approach “Muslim societies”— a broad term encompassing people around the world as well as in the United States?

A committee will review the LOIs and subsequently, a subset of applicants will be invited to submit full proposals by October 6, 2014.

Full Proposals

The full proposals will be reviewed by an expert panel, which will make funding recommendations to the foundation board.  Panelists will consider the concept of the project, intended impact, quality of the arts activity and/or artists, experience of the organization, and the ability of the organization to successfully complete the project. The panel will be charged with identifying a culturally and organizationally diverse portfolio of projects.

Applicants invited to submit full proposals may attend online workshops that will provide additional opportunities to learn more about the elements of the full proposal, to gain assistance in preparing their proposals and to ask any remaining questions they may have before the full proposals are due.

The online informational workshop for invited applicants will be held on October 30, 2014.

Click here to view the informational slides from the webinar.

Click here to view a recording of the webinar.

Key Dates

  • Electronic Postcards providing organization name and type, and probable arts discipline(s) of project are due by June 27, 2014 at 4pm EDT
  • Letters of Interest (LOI) are due August 15, 2014 at 4pm EDT
  • Results of the LOI review committee will be announced and invitations to submit full proposals will be issued to finalists during the week of October 6, 2014.
  • Informational webinars on July 16 and August 6, 2014.
  • Online workshops for full proposal invitees on October 16 and 30, 2014.
  • Final proposals are due December 12, 2014 at 4 pm EDT.
  • After the expert panel completes an in-depth review, grants will be awarded in February 2015.
  • Anticipated start date for funded projects is March 1, 2015 or later.

Questions about the program or the selection process may be addressed to Zeyba Rahman, senior program officer, at or 212-974-7104.

Questions about the logistics, including deadline dates, online submissions or any technical issues may be addressed to Lillian Osei-Boateng, program associate, at or 212-974-7109.

Projects and Areas Not Funded

  • Requests from individuals. U.S.-based nonprofit organizations are eligible.

  • Projects that support a performance by a single artist or single performance production will generally not be competitive.  Funding opportunities for single artists in the fields of contemporary dance, jazz, theater and multi-disciplinary performing arts are available through the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation’s Arts Program.  To learn more please click here.

  • Film production or distribution of a single film will generally not be competitive.

  • The development, publication or distribution of books or reports.

  • Initiatives based exclusively on scholarly research or scholarly presentations. 

  • Initiatives that focus solely on historical, as opposed to contemporary Muslim arts and cultures.

  • The program will not support direct costs for the development and installation of exhibits. Public programs associated with exhibitions are eligible.

The majority of grants awarded in 2015 will be made under these guidelines. 

Download Full Guidelines