Building Bridges Program

Goals & Strategies

Since 2007, grants through the Building Bridges Program have supported planning and implementation of programs or projects that engage U.S.-based Muslim and non-Muslim populations in literary-, media-, and/or performing arts-based experiences that foster relationships, increase understanding, and reduce bias between communities. Through this approach, the program’s larger aim is to contribute toward a more just civil society and greater well-being among peoples.

Building Bridges grantees’ projects have included, literary-, media-, and performing arts-based experiences, performances and related educational programming as well as materials and/or discussions to contextualize exhibitions for audiences. Through a collective appraisal of self-evaluations conducted by the program’s past grantees, the foundation has observed that a deeper understanding of Muslim cultures is most effectively forged when audiences are able to immerse themselves in the experience and directly interact, collaborate or communicate with the artists and other participants. Programs with significant impact have been those that created more avenues of access between audiences and the arts (whether with the art itself, the art makers and/or the media platforms).

* The Building Bridges Program is currently undergoing a strategic review of its past funding to determine its future grant-making activities. The program will continue to make grants under its current strategy throughout this process.   

Criteria for Support

The Building Bridges Program uses the following criteria when considering grant requests (see Grants Awarded for examples of projects that have received funding):

  • Focus: The program supports projects that primarily center on literary-, media-, and performing arts with roots in Muslim regions and Diaspora.
  • Target Communities: The program supports projects that define a specific, clearly identified population and demonstrate understanding of their behaviors and preferences.
  • Goals for Achieving Success: The program prioritizes initiatives that can clearly define how they will advance understanding and relationships between Muslim and non-Muslim communities.
  • Management Capacity: The program supports organizations with the capacity to manage the projects and programs for which they seek funding, and whose efforts align with the organization's mission and goals.

Funding Initiatives

The Building Bridges Program will award grants in 2017 primarily through the Building Bridges 2016-2017 Grants Program.