The Free for All Fund at the Boston Foundation

Honoring the legacy of conductor Charles Ansbacher

The Free for All Fund program will reopen in 2020. Check back in late winter for more information!

Free for All Fund 2

The mission of the Free for All Fund at the Boston Foundation is: to ensure that everyone from the Boston region—children, adults, families—will have regular and permanent access to the rich world of classical, orchestral music and related cultural events.

This grant-making program provides up to $7,500 in flexible, project-specific funds to unincorporated, fiscally-sponsored ensembles/groups or organizations with annual budgets of $1.5 million and below to create free and open-to-the-public classical musical performances for Greater Boston audiences. Applicants can apply for support of a single performance or a series.

  • Applicants can be 501(c) 3 nonprofit organizations that have a primary mission focused on arts and culture and budgets of less than $1.5 million for the most recently completed fiscal year, OR fiscally sponsored unincorporated groups/ensembles. For more information on fiscal sponsorship, see below.
  • ALL applicants must have been presenting work for at least a year prior to January 1, 2017.
  • 501(c) 3 nonprofit organizations must have a business address within the Boston Foundation’s catchment area.
  • For unincorporated groups/ensembles, the Primary Contact for the application must reside full-time and make work within the Boston Foundation’s geographic area of service. See more information about applying as a group/ensemble below.
  • Unincorporated groups/ensembles MUST have fiscal sponsorship to apply for a grant.
  • Performing artists in proposed projects must be professional musicians, and at least 18 years old. The word professional refers to the nature of the artist's commitment to his or her art form as one of his or her primary vocations, rather than the amount of financial remuneration earned through the art form.
  • The performance venue(s) must fall within the Boston Foundation's catchment area.  Please see the list of covered towns and cities.
  • Nonprofit organizations or unincorporated groups/ensembles that have previously applied for the Boston Foundation’s Open Door grants or Live Arts Boston grants are still eligible to apply for Free For All grants.

Program Guidelines

  • Public Performance Requirement: The program(s)/event(s) must be free and open to the public. The grantee organization or group/ensemble must obtain proper permitting and licensure. 
  • The grantee organization must pay participating artists.
  • The proposed program(s) must focus on classical live music performance, but may also incorporate components of other artistic disciplines, including but not limited to film, dance, theater, spoken word and visual art.
  • Please submit a complete program budget for the entire program for which funding is requested. If it is a series, please submit a budget including expenses from the series. If it is a single event, the budget can include only items related to that event. If the event is larger than the highest possible Free For All Fund request amount ($7,500), please include other income sources, whether potential, probable or actual, to help offset expenses of more than $7,500. Include line items for all aspects of the production, marketing and outreach, artist payment, etc. 
  • Final Report: Awardees will be required to complete a simple final report at the end of the grant period detailing the ways in which funds were used. Receipts for expenditures will not need to be submitted, but documentation (e.g., video, photos, marketing materials) from relevant public performances of the proposed project will be required. More information about final reporting will be provided to awardees when grants are disbursed.

For Unincorporated Groups and Ensembles

Groups and ensembles should apply jointly and submit a single application under the name of their group, but MUST identify one person as the Primary Contact for the application.

Groups and ensembles MUST be fiscally sponsored in order to apply. (Please see section on fiscal sponsorship below.)

It is NOT required that all ensemble or group members meet the residence requirements listed above for performing artists; however, the Primary Contact for the group must meet this eligibility requirement. The remaining eligibility requirements apply to all members of the group/ensemble (i.e., each person must be at least 18 years of age, be a professional musician and have had a one-year history of public presentation).

Program Timeline

Launch Date: January 5, 2018
Application Deadline: February 5, 2018, 5:00 p.m. EST
Decisions Anticipated: March 2018
Grant Period: Funds must be spent between March 1, 2018, and December 31, 2018.

Apply Here

The application deadline for this round of grants has passed.

Note about Fiscal Agency

Unincorporated ensembles or groups MUST utilize a fiscal sponsor with 501(c)(3) status when applying.

While any nonprofit can act as a fiscal sponsor for another, provided both parties to the sponsorship agree to an arrangement in advance, several local and national organizations specialize in serving as fiscal sponsors, including:

  • Third Sector New England
  • The Arts & Business Council of Greater Boston
  • Fractured Atlas

Have any questions about the application or the program? Please email your questions to Aimee Scorziello and put “Free for All Fund” in the subject heading.

Should you be interested in making a gift to the Free for All Fund at the Boston Foundation, please reach out to Pam Hurd.

2018 Free for All Fund Grantees

SMB Trio at Stabilization
Shelter Music Boston Trio at Stabilization. Photo by Shelter Music Boston.
Shelter Music Boston
Atlantic Symphony Orchestra. Photo courtesy of Michael Weymouth.
Atlantic Symphony Orchestra
Spirit 1 musiConnects
musiConnects' Spirit! Photo by Nir Landau.
Boston Baroque. Photo by by Julian Bullitt.
Boston Baroque
Cardamom Quartet. Photo by Cardamom Quartet.
Cardamom Quartet
Convergence Ensemble
Convergence Ensemble. Photo by James Ryan.
Convergence Ensemble
Boston Landmarks Orchestra Dance Carnival
Boston Landmarks Orchestra Dance Carnival. Photo by Michael Dwyer.
Boston Landmarks Orchestra
Guitar Friends
Guitar & Friends presents Son Jarocho Ensemble. Photo by iMn Photography.
Guitar & Friends
A Far Cry
A Far Cry. Photo by Yoon S. Byun.
A Far Cry
Eudaimonia group
Eudaimonia. Photo by Gaia Petrelli Wilmer.