The Application Form for the 2021 Grant Cycle

Update 1/11/21

Puffin’s 2021 artist grant cycle is now closed.  We will notify applicants on the determination of their proposals on a rolling basis in a process that will likely last until summer. In September, we will open our grant cycle process for 2022 funding. We anticipate accepting proposals in the following disciplines, but this will not be finalized until mid-summer: Fine Arts, Theater, Photography & Music. Please check back on our website in July for updated information.

What disciplines are you accepting funding proposals for in 2021?

Due to the Corona Virus we are only considering new proposals in Video/Film and arts-related Environmental projects for 2021. “New” applicants in other disciplines will not be considered (see below.) The primary focus of your proposal must be video/film. For example, please do not apply for a video component of a theater or dance project, or apply for simply recording a musical work on video.

Can I reapply if my proposal was unable to be reviewed in 2020?

Yes. We are also pleased to open up the application process to artists in the fields of music, photography and theater.  However, this is only for previous applicants who submitted proposals last year that we were not able to review due to the pandemic. This opportunity does not apply to the applicants from last year who received an acceptance or formal rejection from Puffin.

How are you reviewing proposals with the Pandemic still in full force?

Of course, your proposal will need to reflect the reality of our current circumstances, 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, and the future of artistic performance and exhibition, we look forward to reading about what your work looks like at this moment, and how it can be shared.

How can I receive a 2021 application packet?

Application packets may only be requested starting September 1, 2020. The only way to receive an application for new applicants (see first Q) is by sending a #10 SASE to:

The Puffin Foundation, Ltd.
2021 Application Request
20 Puffin Way
Teaneck, NJ 07666

For those applicants from this year who have been invited to re-submit a new proposal in the fields of music, photography, or theater please send a #10 SASE to:

The Puffin Foundation, Ltd.
Application Request- 2020 Reapply
20 Puffin Way
Teaneck, NJ 07666

The envelope should be approximately 9 1/2 inches across and 4 1/4 inch tall. This is a common ‘business sized’ envelope and should have standard 1st class postage attached.

What is the timeline for applications?

Application packets are available starting September 1st. Do not request an application before that time. Requests for application packets must be received by December 15th. Completed/returned applications must be postmarked by December 31st.

We will be running the two ‘cycles’ concurrently (2020 Reapply & 2021). Grantees will be notified on a rolling basis as we review applications. Notifications for grants approved or denied will begin in January and we aim to have them completed by July.

What disciplines will you be accepting funding proposals for in 2022?

Our current plan is that in September of 2021, we will begin accepting proposals for Fine Arts. This must be the primary category of the project. In other words, not a fine-arts component to a theater or video work. Based on this year’s submissions we may add additional categories.  Please check our website in August of 2021 for updates.

Can you email me an application? Why don’t you post them online?

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.

I’m overseas and can’t send you an envelope with US postage?

We suggest you ask a friend/colleague/family member here in the states to request an application and have them include a standard business size (4″ x 9.5″) SASE with the appropriate U.S. postage for 3 standard sheets of paper to reach your desired address overseas.

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

No. Your application must be ‘hard copy.’

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

We request up to six hard copy images of your work (that is up to six different images, not six of the same image). We recognize the costs associated with certain prints and accept photocopies as well. You may also provide more than one image on the same sheet of paper.  If you believe a color copy will allow us to gain a solid impression of your work, feel free to consider this option. You can always include a USB drive, or link to 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.

What other types of attachments should I include?

You may include supplementary hard copy 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 on a dvd, cd, or usb. Do not send books or complete manuscripts/screenplays. You may include full screenplays and materials on a usb drive, but your primary attachments should be hard copy.

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 the physical environment, 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. Additionally, the Foundation focuses on new and emerging artists, established artists either will not be or are less likely to be considered. This website 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 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 exposed to the end product 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, 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 provided, they should be included in the same mailing as your application. Please do not have letters of recommendation sent separately from your application, include them in your packet or they will not be considered. Such references do not have to be provided in sealed envelopes, but may be at your discretion.

Can I send supplemental materials after I send in my application packet?

No. We ask that all information be provided in one submission. The obvious exception/s would be if there was a major change in your project. Do not send supplemental references or graphics in a separate mailing for example.

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, 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 in a hard copy format 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 numbers 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 should include a photo-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. 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.

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 educational scholarships/funding?

The Foundation does not have the resources to offer financial assistance for scholarships, fellowships or educational funding. However, we do consider proposals for particular artistic projects from students during the grant cycle that are not connected to their studies.

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 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 2021 cycle, with applications available in September, 2020.

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.

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 project is completed, you will also need to send a Final Report. If your project has been completed by year’s end, you may file a single Final Report.

What should be in the annual report?

You may receive a letter/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 graphic images that we may include in our annual report.

Can I provide my annual report information electronically?

Yes. If you’d like to send an electronic version of your materials for our annual report, please do so to the following address: . Please provide the following in a single email:

  • The subject line should read: Annual Report: (your group or name)
  • 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 a simple pdf, jpeg or Tiff attachments of no more than 3 mb total 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 project was completed by the end of the calendar year that your grant was awarded. The Final Report must be hard copy and mailed to the Foundation’s offices and 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.
  • Hard copy, 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.

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?

The Puffin Room is currently on an extended hiatus and not exhibiting work.

Are you affiliated with Puffin West?

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

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