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Impact Fund 2017

The Impact Fund supports and promotes small, artist-driven ensembles, presenters, and venues in New York City.


Deadline: March 20, 2017, at 5 PM EST


New Music USA believes in small ensembles, jazz ensembles, small presenters, 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.


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 is a three-year program that will select and assemble a total of 30 to 34 organizations to act as a cohort, a group of new music ensembles, jazz ensembles, presenters, and venues relating to each other and working together to make headway in addressing the core needs listed above.

This round will award 6 to 10 cohort members who will receive two years of general operating support and join the initial cohort class of 24 ensembles, presenters, and venues. Cohort members will have opportunities to join together in residency activity, work with New Music USA’s online platform and media capabilities to promote the sector as a whole, and convene together at various times in various ways.

The Cohort

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

All applicants 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, performing, and budget activity at the time of application
  • A maximum annual budget of $600,000 or less for groups, ensembles or presenters without a physical venue and $1,000,000 or less for presenters with a physical venue.
  • A dedicated organizational or ensemble 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 $10,000 per year for two years, depending on budget size and residency hosting.


We’ll support residency pairings between interested participants and venues in the cohort, with the goal of facilitating new work and new collaborative relationships. Once paired, the partners will work together to develop residency activity. Residencies can vary between groups, 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 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 groups, attending performances, purchasing recordings, and supporting participating organizations in a variety of ways.

Deadlines and notification

The online system will open in mid-February. The deadline for submission is 5 pm EST on March 20, 2017. We will announce awards in late May 2017.

Review Criteria & Panel Process

Review will be based on your profile and the submitted material as outlined below. Profiles will first be screened by our staff for eligibility and completeness to make sure they 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 solely on artistic merit as demonstrated by the profile media. Applicants that score well in the artistic stage will then move on to a more in-depth final in-person review judged using 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 or improvisers
    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.

A few more words about Residencies

Applicants will indicate during the application process their interest in participating in a residency relationship. Selection will take place as part of the 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, mentoring, 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 a bio and media demonstrating the applicant’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 applicants can apply by simply following the steps outlined below:

  • Make sure your profile is populated with pertinent information and one to three media samples. This can be done at any time during the process.
  • While logged in as your organization or ensemble, go to the “Grants” page, click on Impact Fund 2017, 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 2015-2016 budget and 2015-2016 full performance calendar. This information, along with your profile, will be reviewed by panelists.
  • Indicate whether or not you 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.