Applying for Puffin’s 2023 Annual Artist Grant Program

Puffin’s 2023 Annual Artist Grant Program is underway, as of 9/1/22.

What disciplines will you be accepting funding proposals for?

We will be considering new proposals in the genres of theater, video/film, and climate/environmental for our 2023 grant cycle. Applications in other disciplines will not be considered.  Please note that the primary focus of your proposal must be one of these three genres. For example, please do not apply for a video/film grant if you are composing a musical score for a film. One exception is that we will also consider arts-related projects focusing on environmental Issues and the climate crisis confronting us all in other genres such as theater.

Towards the end of 2023 we will begin accepting proposals for our 2024 grant cycle. We anticipate accepting applications from the following genres: music, photography, and fine arts.

How does the ongoing pandemic impact the proposal review process?

Your proposal will need to reflect the reality of COVID, ensure the safety of participants and viewers, and take into account the possibility of ongoing restrictions on public gatherings, physical exhibitions, and the like. Tell us how your plans might change in your project description if the virus worsens or lessens in your area.

Puffin’s mission to support the arts and artists is more vital than ever now. As society re-imagines public life, social gatherings, artistic performance, and exhibition, we want to hear about what your work looks like at this moment and how it can be shared.

Procedures for the 2023 Grant Program

How do I create an “online account” so that I can submit an application? How can I submit an application for 2023?

Last year, Puffin implemented a new application process via a secure on-line portal. To start, you’ll need to send us a self addressed stamped envelope (SASE) via USPS by December 1st. (You do not need to include a letter; just the SASE.) We will return your envelope with the Application Request Form. You will need to fill out that form and mail it back to us by Friday, December 9th. Once we receive and process your form you will get an email with portal log-in instructions. The only way to receive a log-in for submitting your application is by mailing this form to the address below. No requests submitted by email or by phone will be fulfilled; they must be submitted by mail. The process is summarized below:

  • •Send a SASE from 9/1/22 to 12/1/22 to
    The Puffin Foundation
    Application Request
    20 Puffin Way
    Teaneck, NJ 07666
  • •Receive an Application Request Form
  • •Mail back the completed form to the address above by 12/9/22
  • •After we process your form you will receive an email with log in instructions

How do I log in to apply?

After we receive your USPS request for login credentials, we will create an online account in your name and you will receive an email with your own unique log-in link. This link is non-transferrable and only valid for a single application. The email will give simple instructions on how to access your on-line application. If you do not hear from Puffin within 2 weeks of mailing us your request, please check your spam folder.

What is the timeline for applications?

The application process will begin in early September.

Requests for applications using the process above must be received by December 1st.

Application Request Forms must be received by the Puffin Foundation by 12/9/22.
Proposals must be complete and submitted on our on-line portal by December 31st 11:59pm EST.

Please be aware that Puffin’s office will be closed from Saturday, 12/24 through Sunday, 1/1. We will not be able to respond to inquiries during this time.

Notifications for grants approved or denied will begin in January and we aim to have them completed by July 31st.

What disciplines will you be accepting funding proposals for in 2024?

We will accept proposals for the fine arts, music, photography and arts-activism related environmental proposals.

Can you email me an application form?

No. We have found making applications available electronically leads to large numbers of frivolous proposals. This leads to an administrative burden that makes us less able to respond to serious applications. This year’s process will require potential applicants to mail us a short form via the USPS. After reviewing your form, we will generate credentials for you to use our online application system and email you guidance on how to use the portal.

What if I’m overseas and/or can’t easily send you a letter with my contact info to create an application credentials?

We suggest you ask a friend/colleague/family member here in the states to request an application account be created with the information outlined in the “Create your on-line account” section above.

Can I email you my completed application or supply it on a disk?

No. After we receive your USPS mail request for creating an account, we anticipate all applications will be completed via our portal. If you do not have access to the internet to submit your proposal, permission may be given to submitting a full hard copy of your proposal by sending an email to stating why you cannot use the on-line portal.

Can you explain your policy on supplying images of my work? Can I send digital attachments?

We request up to six images of your work vial our portal. Unfortunately, we are not accepting hard copy samples of your work. You can always include a link to additional online content of images for higher resolution/quality viewing for the review committee’s consideration. But this option is only for supplemental images in addition to the six hard copy ones requested via the portal.

What other types of attachments should I include?

The portal will allow you to upload supplementary materials to assist us in understanding your project. Examples would include media write-ups, photos or reproductions of artwork (see above), educational resources you’ve created to accompany your work, sections of screenplays or look books, and materials from upcoming or prior performances. If appropriate, please include a five-minute representative segment of performances via our portal or provide a link. Do not upload books or complete manuscripts/screenplays. You may include links to full screenplays and materials, but your primary attachments should limited to the above.

Can you explain your mission statement about the type of projects you fund?

We’re interested in art that educates the public on topical issues. For example, projects that seek to enrich and inform the public on important subjects such as our worsening climate catastrophe, health care, social justice, civil rights, and other contemporary issues facing the country (and the planet), that some organizations might hesitate to fund. The Foundation also gives special consideration to communities that are under-served by the arts. While the Foundation loves to hear from new and emerging artists, established artists are not less likely to be considered if they can also display fiscal need. Our archive of grantees will give you an idea about many of the projects we have funded.

What’s the most important thing you’re looking for in a proposal?

We use many criteria to judge proposals including budgetary need and the dollar amount of the request, whether the applicant is well established in her/his/their field (we encourage new and emerging artists), who will see/be impacted by the grant, and the overall topic/s addressed in the proposal. All are important in our decision making.

Are references or letters of support mandatory?

References are not required, but if you decide to include them in your uploads, two would be sufficient. Often, applicants will also include letters of support from collaborating organizations/partners with their application. We find these very helpful in our deliberations.

If any references or letters of support are uploaded, they should be given a clear title for our reviewers to identify. Please do not have letters of recommendation sent separately from your application; include them in your upload or they will not be considered.

Can I send or upload supplemental materials after I submit my application?

Please do not. We ask that all information be provided in one submission. Once you submit your proposal it will be evaluated by numerous members of our review committee and we all need to be reviewing the same application details. The obvious exception/s would be if there was a major change in your project. Additionally, please do not send supplemental materials or graphics in a separate USPS mailing.

Do I have to provide a social security number?

Yes, if you’re applying as an individual. The Foundation has a special tax status that allows us to grant money to individuals, and anyone applying for a grant as an individual is asked to provide a SSN. If an award is given, we generate a 1099 since the money is considered as gift income for tax purposes and we require a SSN for our records.

With the large number of grants that we award, it would be burdensome for us to allocate resources to retroactively request and receive SSNs from grantees that we can then provide to the IRS if audited. For that reason we request the information of individual applicants up front. The Foundation erases all record of SSNs after the date of any possible use by our own auditors or the IRS.

What do you mean by federal ID # or non profit #?

These tax identification or EINs are only requested for applicants who are applying as a non-profit organization or using a fiscal sponsor that will receive and administer any grant received. Such applicants do not have to supply their personal social security number. Non-profits are required to include a digital copy of their IRS Determination letter.

Who Can Apply

Do you have to be a US citizen to apply?

Our tax status only allows us to grant money to citizens and permanent residents of the United States with a social security number. We will also consider proposals from current DACA recipients with Social Security Numbers. While we do fund citizens/permanent residents for projects that might occur outside of the United States on rare occasions, we do not fund travel expenses. A component that includes how you might display or distribute information about your project domestically is also strongly recommended, though not required.

Can I apply as an individual or can only organizations apply?

The Foundation enjoys a tax status which allows us to fund individual artists directly. But please be aware that grants made to individuals count as gifted income that should be declared for tax purposes and we provide grantees with a 1099 form for tax purposes. Grantees can also be organizations or utilize a fiscal sponsor. It is up to the applicant to decide how they wish to proceed.

Can I use a fiscal sponsor/What is a fiscal sponsor?

Both organizations and individuals can use fiscal sponsors to receive a Puffin grant. Such sponsors can offer tax advantages and fiscal services to those who utilize them, but will almost always charge an administrative fee. For more information you can refer to this information page on fiscal sponsorship from the National Council of Non Profits. Please note that the Puffin Foundation does not act as a fiscal sponsor.

Do you give more grants to individuals or organizations?

Whether an applicant applies as an individual, organization, or with a fiscal sponsor typically has no bearing on our decision making process. We do ask that fiscal sponsor fees be kept to a minimum.

Can I apply for funding related to my education?

The Foundation does not have the resources to offer financial assistance for scholarships or for any projects or expenses related to education or professional development. If the project as a whole or in part counts toward any of your coursework or your degree, no part of it is eligible for funding.

Can I apply for travel or conference fees?

No. The Foundation does not fund travel or conference fees. While many are undoubtedly worthwhile endeavors, they remain outside of our purview.

Can I apply for written word/literary projects or dance related projects?

We’re sorry, but literary and written word proposals are not currently being considered by the Foundation. This includes developmental writing for theater or video/film pieces. Our limited resources have necessitated some painful decisions, among them focusing our efforts in other disciplines. The Foundation is no longer accepting dance-related proposals for the same reasons.

Will you fund organizations with a large annual budget?

The Foundation will not consider grants from organizations whose annual budget is $500,000 or more. The overall size and annual budget of each applicant is taken into consideration. The Puffin Foundation grants are relatively modest in size and therefore the larger the annual budget, the less likely we may deem the funds are necessary. This enables us to prioritize our grants to applicants with fewer organizational resources.

What is the typical grant amount?

Average grants are approximately $1,250. The maximum grant size is $2,500. The Foundation does not have the means to fund large film/documentary proposals, grants for travel, continuing education, or the writing or publishing of books.

What do you mean when you say the Foundation does not support large documentary/video projects?

We give an extra hard look to projects with budgets over $100,000. Given the limited size of our grants, we want to ensure they go to projects where they will have the most impact. We do not fund projects whose total budget exceeds $250,000. The total budget is for all phases of a project, for example pre and post production of a video work.

Do you fund radio projects?

Radio projects are eligible for Foundation funding whether documentary, theatrical or in the general public interest. Radio proposals will most likely next be considered for our 2023 cycle, with applications available in September, 2022.

What do we consider “fine arts”?

Puffin is primarily referring to visual arts that are not covered by genres such as photography and video/film which we consider in other years of our grant cycle. This includes painting, drawing, sculpture, ceramics, prints/etchings, handicrafts, certain multi media work and similar such projects. The primary focus of such a proposal must be for a project with fine arts as its main element. In other words, music or set design which is incidental or a minor part of a theater or video work would not be eligible. If you have a specific question about whether your project would apply please feel free to email us at . Please note that the Foundation no longer funds literary or dance works.

Can I apply for more than one project a year?


Can I apply for a grant two years in a row?

Current grantees should not apply in the year following their grant for a project. Demand is very high and we find that these guidelines help us reach more potential grantees. If you were not awarded a grant, please feel free to apply in successive years as long as your discipline is being considered that year.

Can I apply for a multi-year project?

Yes. As long as you spell out your proposed timeline in your proposal that does not present a problem on our end. A timeline is strongly suggested for your proposal – open ended proposals are discouraged.

The Review Process

How long will it take to review my proposal?

We’ll start notifying applicants in mid-January. All applicants should hear about the status of their proposal by July 1. We judge each project on the merits, so being reviewed earlier in the process does not increase or decrease your chances of being awarded a grant unless the performance/exhibition date for your project has already passed.

What if my proposal is for an event early in the year before you have a chance to review it? Will you fund projects retroactively?

The grant review process starts January 1st and may wind up as late as the end of July. Grants are awarded on a rolling basis. The application forms includes a space for you to indicate if your project has a set start date. While there is an attempt to prioritize projects with impending timelines, there is no guarantee about when specific proposals will be reviewed.

Unfortunately, this means we not able to fully review many proposal until after or close to their implementation date. In that case it is uncommon that we would then award grants. We strive to review most of the proposals early in the year.

For Grantees

Can you send me a copy of the Puffin logo for my promotional materials?

You can find a number of different logos on our web site under the ‘Community’ tab on our homepage or click here.

My project won’t be finished by the end of the calendar year, is that a problem?

We realize that the Foundation’s rolling awards schedule does not always match an applicant’s need for a non-calendar year budget and/or timeline and that many projects may not be finished by the end of the calendar year. We ask for both a ‘year-end’ report on your grant for our records, but also require that you send a final report when the Puffin funds are used/project is complete/etc.

What type of report/update do you require for grantees?

All grantees are required to send an end of year/annual report on how your Puffin funds were spent. If the funds have not yet been spent or the project has not yet occurred, you still need to notify us of the status of your grant with this report. Once your Puffin funds are used, you will also need to send a final report. If your funds have been used by year end, you may file a single final report. If you applied for a grant via the portal you will submit you reports on the portal. All other grantees can email their reports to . See below for more details.

What should be in the annual report?

You may receive an email request that will contain details and possibly updated information. Please note you may also be required to file a final report (below). The following is a guide for your annual report.

  • A 50 word summary statement explaining your project and how Puffin funds were used.
  • A statement detailing your project between 250 & 500 words in length. You must still provide the brief 50 word summary requested above.
  • Include which year you were awarded a grant.
  • One or two images that we may include in our annual report.

Can I provide my annual report information electronically?

Yes. If you applied for a grant via the portal you will submit you reports on the portal. All other grantees can email their reports to . Your annual report should include:

  • A 50 word summary statement explaining your project and how Puffin funds were used.
  • A supplemental statement of longer length detailing your project of 250-500 words. You must still provide the brief 50 word summary requested above.
  • Include which year you were awarded a grant.
  • One or two graphic images that we may include in our annual report. We ask that you include simple PDF, JPEG or TIFF attachments if you wish to provide graphic images.

What type of final report is required for grantees?

Once your project is finished, or within a year of using your Puffin funds on a project that is still ongoing you should submit your final report. This final report can take the place of the annual report if your fund were used by the end of the calendar year that your grant was awarded. The final report will also be accessed through your online portal. It should include:

  • A 50 word summary statement explaining your project and how Puffin funds were used.
  • A supplemental statement of longer length detailing your project of between 250-500 words. You must still provide the brief 50 word summary requested above.
  • Include which year you were awarded a grant.
  • Representative samples of flyers, posters, news coverage or other relevant materials. For example, one or two graphic images that we may include in our annual report.

If you applied for a grant via the portal you will submit you reports on the portal. All other grantees can email their reports to .

How do I get my grant featured on your website?

All grantees will eventually receive an email invitation to create their own web page for their grant on our site. Given the large number of grants given each year and the need to review web submissions, groups of invitations are sent out on a monthly basis.


Can you recommend other foundations or sources for me to get funding?

Puffin does not make such individualized recommendations. We will periodically list resources under the Community tab on our homepage.

Where does Puffin get its funding?

The Foundation is privately funded. We do not solicit donations.

How can I exhibit my work at the Puffin Cultural Forum in Teaneck?

You can contact the Forum using the following guidelines.

How can I exhibit my work at the Puffin Room in NYC?

The Puffin Room is closed (and no longer a Foundation project).

Are you affiliated with Puffin West?

Puffin West is an independent foundation. There is no legal affiliation.

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