Mission & Focus

NY Export Opus Jazz, Photo by Fred Fehl
From the Archive: NY Export Opus Jazz, Photo by Fred Fehl

The Harkness Foundation for Dance is a private grant-making foundation dedicated to invigorating and supporting the dance art form, predominantly in New York City. Since its inception the Foundation has contributed significantly to the dance field, extending grants to over 600 organizations and fiscally-sponsored artists. The Harkness Board of Trustees meets three times annually to consider proposals. The Foundation stands in solidarity with social and racial justice work in the dance field, and we are committed to ongoing evaluation of equitable practices in our grantmaking.

There are four major areas of support:

  • Dance creation
  • Dance presentation
  • Dance education
  • Dance medicine/other services to the dance field


The Foundation supports dance companies, dance presenting organizations, dance education organizations, and dance service organizations. Proposing organizations and artists must have non-profit status, with an in-force 501(c)(3) letter or letter of fiscal sponsorship. Learn more about eligibility >

Types of Grants & Awards

Major Initiative


The Harkness Foundation has committed significant multi-year funding totaling $1 million each to five partner organizations of major importance to the dance field:

  • The Brooklyn Academy of Music
  • The Joyce Theater
  • New York City Center
  • The 92nd Street Y/Harkness Dance Center
  • NYU Langone Medical Center/ Hospital for Joint Diseases, home of the Harkness Center for Dance Injuries

Read more about this initiative >

Broad-based Dance Field Support

The Foundation currently offers two categories of grants to the NYC dance field at large:


Program grants provide general operating support for ongoing programs offered by an organization. These grants may be earmarked for a sub-program or aspect of an organization’s customary scope of activities. Program grants are awarded for one calendar year of program activities.


Project grants provide targeted support for specific projects. Pilot projects and collaborative projects involving multiple organizations may also be considered.

With some exceptions, Program Grants and Project Grants range from $1,000 to $10,000/year. Proposing organizations should specify whether they are seeking a Program Grant or a Project Grant.

Harkness Promise Award

To address the need for continuing creative developments in the dance field, the trustees of the Harkness Foundation for Dance have established the Harkness Promise Award to recognize and encourage gifted emerging artists in their first decade of professional work. The late Rebekah Harkness, the Foundation’s benefactress, believed passionately in providing opportunities for talented young dance artists to experiment and grow. This new award carries these beliefs forward.

Dance Magazine, the field’s historic magazine of record, is generously supporting this new initiative by donating the net proceeds of the prestigious Dance Magazine Awards event to this cause. We applaud Dance Magazine for its vision in both recognizing the living legends of dance, and nurturing the future of dance through this partnership with the Harkness Foundation.

The Harkness Promise Award seeks to highlight:

  • The promise of the awardee’s artistic work, as evidenced in rehearsal and performance settings
  • The awardee’s innovative thinking about how to be an effective artist-citizen who positively impacts dance and the broader community through performance, education, organization, activism or other means

Included in the award are:

  • A $5,000 unrestricted grant
  • Up to 40 hours of studio space within the grant year
  • Ongoing consulting and mentorship with Joan Finkelstein, the foundation’s executive director

A performance project may result from this support, but is not a condition of the award.

We are pleased to share that our 2023 Harkness Promise Award recipients are BAYE & ASA and Omar Román De Jesús. Their awards will be publicly presented at the Dance Magazine Awards ceremony on December 4, 2023 at 7:00 pm in Buttenwieser Hall, The Arnhold Center, 92NY.

Past honorees: Ephrat Asherie & Raja Feather Kelly (2018); Bobbi Jene Smith & Caleb Teicher (2019); Kyle Marshall & Marjani Forté-Saunders (2020); Alethea Pace and Yin Yue (2021), Kayla Farrish & Johnnie Cruise Mercer (2022).

For more information, see our NEWS page.