Funding America's Richest Arts Institutions

Funding America's Richest Arts Institutions

OpenTheBooks, an Illinois-based transparency organization, released our oversight report on all grant-making in 2016 at the National Foundation on the Arts and Humanities (NFA-H) — the umbrella organization of the National Endowment of Arts, the National Endowment of Humanities, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services. 

In 2016, nonprofit and higher education organizations across America received grants of $183 million. Recipients included 71 financially rich entities — each with asset bases exceeding $1 billion — that were awarded $20.5 million. 

In the arts community, there is a stark contrast between the haves and have-nots. We found that 71 charitable organizations, with at least $1 billion each in assets, received nearly $120 million in federal funding since 2009. The the “starving artist” organizations — 1,027 organizations with assets under $1 million — received just $41 million in federal grants (FY2016).

Similarly, higher education institutions across America received $45 million in 2016, despite controlling financial assets of $428.3 billion. Six of the eight Ivy League colleges received grants along with Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, and the University of Michigan.

Adam Andrzejewski (say: And-G-F-Ski) is the CEO of, the world’s largest private database of government spending. Learn more at

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