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Impact Fund 2016

Impact Fund 2016

***These are last year’s guidelines and will be updated shortly.***


Deadline: February 8, 2016, at 5 PM EST


New Music USA believes in small ensembles and venues. Often artist-led and driven by a Do-It-Yourself ethos, they’re the beating heart of the new music scene. The New Music Impact Fund is our latest, most ambitious effort to support and promote this sector in New York City.

We’re delighted and honored to have our vision shared by the leadership of the Katharine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund of the Scherman Foundation. The Rosin Fund has made this new beginning possible with a three-year $495,000 grant.


Recent group conversations we’ve had with active sector participants confirmed some core needs: a visible and powerful identity as a distinct sector; more opportunities for collaboration; and increased performance and rehearsal space.


We want to empower the sector to unleash its own potential. The New Music Impact Fund project will select 30 to 45 organizations to act as a cohort, a group of ensembles and venues relating to each other and working together to make headway in addressing the core needs listed above.

Cohort members will receive two to three years of general operating support, have opportunities to join together in residency activity, and work with New Music USA’s online platform and media capabilities to promote the sector as a whole. The cohort will also convene together at various times in various ways.

The Cohort

Cohort members will be organizations demonstrating excellence in innovative new music programming. Their work will consist primarily of new music by living composers, improvisers, sound artists or singer-songwriters working in any style or genre.

All organizations must meet the following criteria in order to be eligible:

  • A base within one of the five boroughs of New York City (Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, Queens, Staten Island).
  • A minimum of one year of programming and budget activity at the time of application
  • A maximum annual budget of $600,000 or less for ensembles without a physical venue and $1,000,000 or less for presenters with a physical venue.
  • A dedicated organizational bank account. (501c3 non-profit status is not required.)

Three Dimensions of Support


We’ll support cohort members with general operating support grants ranging from $3,000 to $15,000 per year for the duration of the three-year project, depending on budget size and residency hosting.


We’ll support residency pairings between interested ensembles and venues in the cohort, with the goal of facilitating new work and new collaborative relationships. Once paired, venues and ensembles will work together to develop the residency activity. Residencies can vary between venues and ensembles, but should involve a deep enough relationship that extends beyond just a few performances. It can last a few weeks, a few months, or a season.

Marketing Support

The project will harness the potential of New Music USA’s online platform to act as a unifying voice for the New York new music community and craft a collective identity for participants. Together with cohort members, we will work with the participating organizations to develop and implement a marketing campaign grounded in targeted emails and strategic use of social media. Our aim is to create a community of enthusiasts dedicated to following new music groups, attending performances, purchasing recordings, and supporting participating organizations in a variety of ways.

Deadlines and notification

The online system will open in mid-January. The deadline for submission is 5 pm EST on February 8, 2015. We will announce awards on or before June 15, 2016.

Review Criteria & Panel Process

Review will be based on your organizational profile and the submitted material as outlined below. Profiles will first be screened by our staff for eligibility and completeness to make sure profiles contain sufficient information, one to three media samples that work, etc. Profiles will then be evaluated through a peer review process involving composers, performers, and administrators versed in the New York new music community.

The review will have two stages. The first will be a remote online review based on the following three criteria:

  1. Artistry – as demonstrated by profile media.
  2. Impact – as defined by a positive effect on communities and participating artists. This includes commitment to the New York new music community as demonstrated by
    1. Producing/performing the work of living composers
    2. Performing regularly in NYC
    3. Innovative programming
    4. Commissioning
    5. Appropriately paid compensation for creators and performers
  3. Capacity – as defined by financial stability and the ability to participate fully with New Music USA and the awarded cohort for the duration of the project.

Organizations that score well in the first stage will then move on to a more in-depth final in-person review where the cohort is selected and suggested residency pairings are formed.

A few more words about Residencies

Ensembles and venues will indicate during the application process their interest in participating in a residency relationship. Selection will take place as part of the application review process. Assignments will be made in discussion with staff to determine the best fit. The opportunities to collaborate in multiple ways that build opportunities for venues, performers, and audiences should be significant. Examples could involve rehearsal and new workshopping opportunities, administrative shadowing and sharing, performance series, collaborations between multiple ensembles, and more.

To Apply

The application process, like the project itself, is based on New Music USA’s online platform. To apply, you will first need to have a completed profile on www.newmusicusa.org, including an organizational bio and media demonstrating your organization’s mission and vision. If you do not have a profile you may register for one here. It can be updated at any time.

Once the round opens, eligible ensembles and venues can apply by simply following the steps outlined below:

  • Make sure your organization’s profile is populated with organizational information and one to three media samples. This can be done at any time during the process.
  • While logged in as your organization, go to the “Grants” page, click on Impact Fund 2016, and read the guidelines. Once you’ve read the guidelines, click “Get Started” at the bottom of the page and complete the eligibility quiz to begin. Once started, you can save your submission information and return to it at any time, either on the file upload page or your profile, to complete the submission process before the deadline.
  • During the submission process, you will first be asked to upload a PDF of your organization’s 2014-2015 budget and 2014-2015 full performance calendar. This information, along with your profile, will be reviewed by panelists.
  • Indicate whether or not your organization would be interested in participating in a residency.
  • Click Save and Preview to see how your profile and Private Information will be displayed for the panel. Edit as necessary.
  • Click “Submit” before the submission deadline.

Please note that your profile may be edited at any time during the process, though we suggest minimizing any changes that might occur during panel review.