Photographers, Meet the Foundation Center

It’s a common tune: we, as photographers, love what we do, but often times we don’t quite have the funds to accomplish our end goal. There are times when additional resources are needed to give our ambitious photography projects that extra push — but do not fear!

An avenue that is important for you to consider is a grant. Photography grants are monetary awards given to photographers to help fund a body of work that they would like to help create. Competition for individual grants is stiff, but not impossible. One fantastic resource for grant prospecting that we will be discussing in this article is the Foundation Center.

Extra! Extra! Download free guidelines for grant-seeking photographers. Includes useful tips on finding funders, submitting inquiries and proposals, and maintaining fundraising relationships.

The Foundation Center focuses on providing people with the resources that they need. The Center maintains the most comprehensive database in the U.S. and, increasingly, global grantmakers and their grants. In layman’s terms, this is the place to go if you’re looking for a grant to propel your visual story.

A great place to start would be the Center’s Knowledge Base for Artists. Here you will find information answering questions specifically to individuals looking for a grant who are—you guessed it—artists. That would be you! You will notice in your research that while most foundations restrict funding to 501(c)(3) nonprofits, there are some that support individuals, including artists. You will come across a lot of competition for these grants, since they are limited. Make sure that you do your research and explore all possible sources of income. This could include individual donors, sales, fundraising events, or crowdfunding as well as foundation grants.


The Foundation Center offer a fantastic database for grantseekers that gives support and provides information on foundations that do award grants or other types of support to individuals. You can subscribe to The Foundation Grants to Individuals Online database on the Center’s website, or you can go to the Funding Information Network at your local library to access it free of charge.

An alternative to seeking funding as an individual is to find a nonprofit that will act as your fiscal sponsor. This arrangement can open up more funding opportunities than you would otherwise be eligible for since, as mentioned earlier, acquiring a grant can be tough business. The Center has some great information about fiscal sponsorship.

Just remember – you have so many options to get that story started. Don’t be disheartened if one avenue becomes obstructed. Try, try again!

If you’re interested in learning more about getting grants to fund photography projects, be sure to read Elements of Grant Seeking on the ONWARD blog. This article will help you decide whether grants are the right type of funding for you and your project, and it will guide your process of prospecting, establishing relationships with grant makers, and submitting an inquiry.