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Grant Programs: Overview

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supports grantees within four defined program areas:

Higher Education and Scholarship, which includes:

Scholarly Communications and Information Technology

Art History, Conservation, and Museums

Performing Arts

Descriptions and illustrations of the grantmaking activity of each program area are contained in this Web site.  We encourage prospective grantees to consult the Site’s program summaries, Annual report essays and grant listings in order to see the Foundation’s substantive areas of interest and emphasis.  The Foundation rarely makes grants that fall outside its areas of emphasis.

As described in the President’s essay in the 2004 Annual Report, there are grantmaking principles that underly the Foundation’s programmatic emphases and grantmaking practices.  Among them are the Foundation’s commitment to:

  • identifying the best ideas, and the ablest intellectual leaders in its areas of interest;
  • making certain that the leaders of the institutions that the Foundation supports are both exceptional and fully behind the proposed work;
  • remaining focused on its areas of emphasis while retaining flexibility to respond, within its programs, to unusual situations and emergencies;
  • serving as an “institution builder” rather than as a source of narrowly defined “project grants”;
  • supporting initiatives with long time horizons, where needed;
  • encouraging grantees to address the sustainability of their initiatives;
  • fostering collaborations among grantees and funders, where useful; and
  • listening carefully to the leadership within the fields in which the Foundation works to support emergent and systemic needs.

The Foundation aims to support grantees within its program parameters and to do so in as unbureaucratic and responsible a manner as possible.


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