Henry Luce Foundation awards nearly $9.5M in grants

The Henry Luce Foundation is pleased to announce $9,455,000 in grants to 34 organizations. These grants, awarded in five program areas, one initiative, and for one special project, reflect the Foundation's dedication to promoting innovative scholarship, cultivating new leaders, and fostering international understanding.

Seventeen grants awarded by the American Art Program—including 14 in support of traveling exhibitions—advance the study, understanding, and experience of American visual arts, with a growing emphasis on broadening audience accessibility and diversifying artist representation.

The Asia Program's six grants will fund policy-related research and dialogue efforts as well as the creation of new knowledge resources and intellectual development opportunities, while a grant from the Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs will support a study on legal and safe pathways toward citizenship for refugees in Europe.

A responsive grant to establish a multidisciplinary project focused on academic and public-facing activities accompanies a slate of six grants made through the Luce Fund for Theological Education, which supports innovation in teaching, learning, research, and leadership development.

The Foundation awarded a grant to the Asia Foundation to continue administration of the Luce Scholars Program, in addition to a special grant in honor of Peter Paul Luce, second son of Henry R. Luce, who passed away in September.

Finally, the Foundation approved a grant launching an initiative to support Native American leaders. The grant will establish a new fellowship program for Indigenous knowledge makers and knowledge keepers.

The grants awarded by the Foundation's programs are described in more detail below.

View the full list of new grants

American Art

Annual Exhibition Competition

Each November, the American Art Program announces the recipients of funding for major loan exhibitions and related publications that are anticipated to make significant contributions to the public and scholarly understanding and experience of the United States. This year, the Program awarded grants totaling $2,010,000 to 14 museums in seven states for projects that showcase a wide range of artists, curatorial approaches, and critical priorities in the field.

Among the seven monographic projects are exhibitions dedicated to innovative contemporary artists including multi-disciplinary artist Sanford Biggers, stained-glass artist Judith Schaechter, Native American modernist Oscar Howe, and African American master printer Robert Blackburn. Three exhibitions explore foreign influences on American art and culture including American Cosmos: The Influence of Alexander von Humboldt on American Art and Culture at the Smithsonian American Art Museum, Americans in Spain at the Milwaukee Art Museum, and The Impact of Mexican Muralists on Artists in the United States at the Whitney Museum of American Art.

The seven thematic exhibitions will explore a broad range of ideas and practices including projects at three first-time grantee museums: shifts in the expression of gender identity at the McNay Art Museum, the creative exchange of writer James Baldwin and painter Beauford Delaney at the Knoxville Museum of Art, and works inspired by the utopian movements of 19th-century New England at the deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum.

Responsive Grants

Complementing the roster of loan exhibition awards, the American Art Program also made three responsive grants in November. A grant to the Janet Turner Print Museum at California State University Chico will support digitization of the museum’s collection, helping the museum to serve the university community as well as a broad regional audience. The Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts will develop a collection-based exhibition and publication that explore the seminal role of early Philadelphia landscape painting in the generation of the famed Hudson River School. Finally, following support of a Mark Bradford project in 2017 and an installation by Bruce Nauman in 2009, the American Art Program has made a grant to the Madison Square Park Conservancy to help fund the forthcoming installation in the United States Pavilion at the Venice Biennale in 2019 by master sculptor Martin Puryear.

View the new American Art grants


Six grants reflect the Asia Program's dedication to developing knowledge resources on East and Southeast Asia and fostering intellectual exchange between the United States and Asian countries. Grants to the University of Southern California and the American Political Science Association strengthen Asian Studies teaching and research through a new Transpacific Studies initiative and workshops for young social scientists from Asia, respectively.

Three grants support research and dialogue efforts with policy relevance including one that will fund the Pacific Forum’s Young Leaders Program, which offers early-career scholars and professionals the opportunity to participate in peace and security dialogues in the Asia Pacific. A project at the Council on Foreign Relations will analyze China's approaches to global governance while a grant to the University of British Columbia will enable the university to expand knowledge about North Korea and inter-Korean relations, and work toward scholarly engagement involving the two Koreas and other parts of the world.

Finally, a grant to the University of Pittsburgh will fund production of Unreconciled Memories, a documentary on China's Cultural Revolution based on over 100 video interviews and oral histories.

View the new Asia grants

Luce Scholars

A grant to the Asia Foundation will provide renewed support for administration of the Luce Scholars Program. The Asia Foundation has managed scholar placements and provided them with support in Asia since the program's inception.

View the new Luce Scholars grants

Initiative to Support Native American Leaders

A grant was awarded to First Nations Development Institute to develop and administer a new fellowship program for Native American knowledge makers and knowledge keepers. The program will provide financial and other support to the fellows and also create opportunities for the fellows to learn from one another.

View the new Native American Leadership grants

Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs

The Henry R. Luce Initiative on Religion in International Affairs aims to enhance public understanding of religion in global affairs. This November, it awarded a grant to the University of Notre Dame for the first in-depth, longitudinal study of the Humanitarian Corridor, a community-based model for integrating refugees into host communities in Europe.

View the new Religion in International Affairs grants


The Luce Fund for Theological Education

The Theology program is pleased to announce six grants from the Luce Fund for Theological Education, which supports the development of new models of teaching, learning, research, publication, leadership development, and educational program design. Grants approved in the Luce Fund’s annual competition aim to adapt theological education to an era of increased appreciation for religious and other forms of diversity, and to encourage seminaries and their faculties to engage with a range of broader public challenges.

Supported projects include the Artificial Intelligence Institute at Iliff School of Theology, the Institute of Sacred Arts at St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary, and an initiative at Boston University School of Theology focused on preparing professional chaplains for effective ministry. Seattle University School of Theology and Ministry will launch a project on public theology dedicated to reimagining theological education for the millennial generation, while Bayan Claremont Islamic Graduate School will develop a project to educate imams and religious leaders on gender-based violence and sexual abuse. Finally, Central Baptist Theological Seminary will further develop a collaborative graduate program with Myanmar Institute of Theology.

Responsive Grants

In addition to the six institutions selected to receive grants from the Luce Fund for Theological Education, the Theology program awarded a $1 million responsive grant to Indiana University Bloomington. The program's grant to IU will support a range of academic and public-facing activities, including annual summer institutes for emerging scholars, a post-doctoral fellowship, and the launch of a new publication on American religion.

View the new Theology grants

Special Projects

In memory of Peter Paul Luce, son of the Foundation's founder Henry R. Luce and a Member of the Foundation for almost sixty years, a grant was awarded to Cornell College in Iowa to help fund the expansion of its engineering program. Mr. Luce served as a trustee at Cornell College for nearly three decades, contributing to its art program and admissions center and to the launch of its engineering program.

View the new Special Projects grants

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