Building Bridges

Building Bridges 2016-17 Grants Program

The Building Bridges 2016-2017 Grants Program is now closed for applications. The following information is for reference only.

Program Description
How to Apply
Organizational Eligibility
Key Dates
Applicant Resources and Webinars
Questions and Assistance


Program Description

The Building Bridges 2016-17 Grants Program will support planning and implementation of programs or projects that engage U.S.-based Muslim and non-Muslim populations in arts and culture experiences that advance relationships and understanding. Through this approach, the program's larger aim is to contribute toward a more just civil society and greater well-being among people.

  • A total of $1,750,000 will be awarded for projects and programs that begin in March 2017.
  • Grants in the amounts of $25,000 to $300,000 will be awarded over one to three years, depending on the needs of each funded 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.
  • Organizations that received a grant in the three previous funding cycles from 2013 through 2016 are eligible to apply again in this fourth cycle. However, if selected for funding again, cumulative grants will not exceed $300,000.
  • Nonprofit organizations with operating expense budgets greater than $100,000 and at least $25,000 in arts-related programming are eligible to apply.
  • Projects must take place within the United States.
  • Grants will be selected through a competitive, peer-review process. Reviewers will be comprised of external experts in the field.

Project Characteristics

Proposed projects or programs should offer engaging, immersive and interactive experiences that may be conducted in collaboration with other organizations and are tailored to the needs and interests of the specific intended audience(s). There are many ways organizations might design, structure and implement programs or projects that engage U.S.-based Muslim and non-Muslim populations through literary-, media- and/or performing arts-based experiences to foster relationships and understanding between communities. 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 of successful international artistic programming;
  • Expansion of existing programs that advance Building Bridges Grants Program goals.

Funded projects must have a start date between March 1, 2017 and December 1, 2017. Projects may take place over a period of one to three years from the start date.


How to Apply

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

  1. Submit a brief preliminary proposal as a letter of interest (LOI);
  2. Following a preliminary panel review, by invitation only, submit a full proposal.

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/are the target audience(s)/population(s) for the proposed project?
  • How would the project involve the literary, performing arts and/or media arts? How would artists, organizations or media resources be identified?
  • How does your proposed project help to create more understanding about Muslims and advance relationships between American Muslim and non-Muslim communities?

To return to an application already in progress, click here.

By the week of October 24, 2016, a committee of experts will review the LOIs and a subset of applicants will subsequently be invited to submit full proposals.


Organizational Eligibility

  • Organizations must have 501(c)(3) tax‐exempt status or apply under a fiscal sponsor with tax-exempt status.
  • Organizations may submit only one application in each grant-making round. Organizations that received a grant in the 2013-16 funding rounds are eligible to apply again in this round. If selected for funding in this round, cumulative grants will not exceed $300,000.
  • Organizations must have annual operating expenses greater than $100,000, of which at least $25,000 is dedicated to professional arts or media arts-based programming.
  • Organizations must have at least three years of successful experience producing or presenting literary, media and/or performing arts‐based programs.

Projects and Areas Not Funded

  • Requests from individuals;
  • 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 arts and cultures from Muslim majority regions;
  • Film production or distribution of a single film will generally not be competitive;
  • Projects that support a performance by a single artist or single performance production will generally not be competitive;
  • The program will not support direct costs for the development and installation of exhibitions.  Public programs associated with exhibitions are eligible.


Key Dates

  • Letters of Interest (LOI) are due Friday, September 9, 2016 at 3 p.m. 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 24, 2016.
  • Informational webinars on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 and Wednesday, August 3, 2016.
  • Online workshops for full proposal invitees on Thursday, November 10, 2016.
  • Final proposals are due Friday, December 9, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. EDT.
  • After the expert panel completes an in-depth review, grants will be awarded in February 2017.
  • Anticipated start date for funded projects is between March 1 and December 1, 2017

Please note that all deadlines will be strictly observed. No exceptions will be made. Applicants must submit all materials electronically (unless otherwise noted on the application form) by 3 p.m. EDT/EST on the relevant date. Online forms include clear instructions about space, formatting, etc., which must be followed. Hard copy and fax applications will not be accepted. 


Applicant Resources and Webinars

If you missed the 2016 webinars, please click here to view the informational slides, or view the video clips below:

Program Overview & Application Process

Project Design & Eligibility

Presentations by Building Bridges grantees followed by live Q&A session
Rachel Cooper, Asia Society;  Adrienne Dorn, Cedar Cultural Center (starts at 24:30)

Q & A with Program Staff

Click here to view 2013 grantee Andy Ackerman’s presentation.


Questions and Assistance

All grants will be selected through a peer review process and administered by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art’s Building Bridges Program. 

Questions about the program may be addressed to:

For more information, please visit the Building Bridges Program’s Goals & Strategies page.