Foundation Giving


Foundation Giving

Foundation Giving enables Sundance Institute to support the vital work of independent storytellers. We work closely with each foundation to connect it to Institute activities that reflect shared values and priorities. Through these efforts, we have built a community of donors who share our commitment to cultivating original voices in film, television, theatre and digital media. Foundation grants provide stability for existing Programs and seed the launch of new initiatives. These activities empower artists to create high-quality stories that inspire audiences by speaking to the issues that shape our world. Foundations also help us achieve excellence as an organization and foster a culture of learning, mentorship, and accountability.

Programs Supported By Foundations

Feature Film

Creative Distribution Initiative

Outreach and Inclusion

Indigenous Program

Film Music

New Frontier

Women At Sundance

Sundance Film Festival


Sundance Institute honors the following legacy funders for their very generous commitment to our work. These donors have provided founding support for Institute Programs or seeded major new initiatives. We are deeply grateful to each of them.

Acton Family Giving More >, a direct charitable activity of the Annenberg Foundation More >
Cinereach More >
The Ray and Dagmar Dolby Family Fund More >
Doris Duke Charitable Foundation More >
The Charles Engelhard Foundation More >
Ford Foundation More >
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation More >
John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation More >
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation More >
Sandbox Films More >
The Open Society Foundations More >
Skoll Foundation More >
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation More >

Sundance Institute gratefully acknowledges support received throughout the past year from the following foundations, which have helped sustain our ability to serve independent film and theatre artists in numerous ways.

Special support is provided by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences through two grants, which are made through the Academy’s Grants and Nicholl Fellowships programs. These support the Institute’s Native Filmmakers Lab and the Feature Film Program’s June Screenwriters Lab at the Sundance Resort.

In 2011, Bertha Foundation seeded the launch of the Creative Distribution Initiative. Bertha Foundation currently supports three fellows selected from our Documentary Film Program’s grantees whose projects shine a light on important issues and expose injustice.

Code Blue Foundation supports our Documentary Film Program’s efforts towards cultivating independent storytelling around environmental themes. Through these efforts, the Institute has been able to launch a new initiative for films and emerging media projects exploring stories related to the urgent need for action with regard to the environment, conservation and climate change.

Compton Foundation supports transformative leadership and courageous storytelling through its engagement with the Documentary Film Program, which it has supported since 2013.

Thanks to the support of The Max and Victoria Dreyfus Foundation, Sundance Institute’s Film Music Program has continued to offer innovative programming to showcase the art of music in film at the Sundance Film Festival, and to provide year-round support to Music and Sound Design Lab participants and alumni as they develop their careers in the field of film music.

The George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation has supported Sundance Institute programs and the Sundance Film Festival since 1987. The Foundation is currently the presenting sponsor for An Artist at the Table, the Institute’s annual opening night event at the Sundance Film Festival. The Foundation also supports community outreach programs, including the Sundance Institute | George S. and Dolores Doré Eccles Foundation Student Screenings Program, Filmmakers in the Classroom, Townie Tuesday, and Sundance Film Festival Community Outreach Programs.

Founded in 2001 by composer Elmer Bernstein, the Film Music Foundation has supported the Film Music Program since 2013, which aims to foster greater appreciation for film composition and greater diversity among artists who are pursuing film composition as a viable, sustainable career path and an opportunity to reach wide audiences.

Support from The Fledgling Fund enables us to plan expansively and strategically across the Institute, focusing our efforts where they will have tremendous impact on the independent artists we serve through our Programs and Labs.

Established in San Francisco in 1987, Gruber Family Foundation currently supports the Women Initiative.

The Carrie Louise Hamilton Foundation supports the Theatre Program’s signature Theatre Lab held at the Sundance Resort each July, which enables playwrights and other generative theatre artists to work on their plays with dramaturgs and actors over a period of three weeks, a length of time unmatched in the developmental theatre world.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) has generously supported the Feature Film Program’s Labs and mentorship opportunities for emerging international filmmakers since 1999. HFPA’s valued involvement has nurtured dozens of independent film projects from around the world, including The Lunchbox (Ritesh Batra, India), Wadjda (Haifaa Al Mansour, Saudi Arabia), Who Is Dayani Cristal? (Marc Silver, United Kingdom/Mexico), Partisan (Ariel Kleiman, Australia), and Mustang (Laure De Clermont-Tonnerre, France).

JL Foundation joined the Institute’s community of foundation supporters in 2014 and provides valuable general operating support for our work year-round.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation generously supports the Native American and Indigenous Program’s Full Circle Initiative, which focuses on developing Native and Indigenous youth filmmakers ages 18-24. Through workshops, Fellowships, and training opportunities for Tribal youth in New Mexico, Michigan, and the Sundance Film Festival, Full Circle links talented young storytellers to education and career pipelines across fields of independent filmmaking, using structural strategies where Native communities heal by telling their own stories.

The Kendeda Fund supports the nurturing of new independent films and storytellers, with a focus on the crucial issues of gun violence prevention and the environment.

LUMA Foundation is the founding supporter of the Sundance Institute | LUMA Foundation Theatre Program’s Directors Retreat, which takes place every August in Arles, France. 2015 will mark the Retreat’s third year hosting mid-career theatre directors in an environment that promotes creativity and interdisciplinary exchange.

Funding from the Joan and Lewis Platt Foundation provides Sundance Institute’s Documentary Film Program (DFP) with support to women and international documentary filmmakers through the Sundance Documentary Fund and Creative Documentary Labs.

The Promontory Foundation has supported Sundance Institute Utah Community Programs since 2011, including the annual outdoor Summer Film Series, which recently screened Twenty Feet from StardomThe Battered Bastards of BaseballPing Pong Summer, and SLC Punk (viewer’s choice) .

The Ruderman Family Foundation, a leading international disability rights organization, has an unprecedented partnership with the 2020 Sundance Film Festival that represents the Festival’s public prioritization of the issue of disability inclusion. Sundance Institute is teaming with the Foundation to expand disability inclusion and diversity at this year’s Festival as well as during the entire year. The themes of inclusion and accessibility will be highlighted throughout the Festival’s programming. The generous support of the Ruderman Family Foundation allows the Festival to expand accessibility resources in theatres and official venues, providing audiences with disabilities the much needed capabilities to enjoy and experience the Festival programming, and activating all of the Artist Programs to deepen their creative and professional development engagement with artists with disabilities.

The Shubert Foundation, Inc. has been a valued supporter of Sundance Institute’s Theatre Program since 1997.