After thoughtful deliberation, the Fund has decided to conclude its grantmaking program in Seattle over a five-year period (2017-2021). The Fund will not accept Preliminary Proposals to launch new relationships in Seattle, and the competitive pool for funding over the next five years will be limited to a cohort of five current grantees for their instrumental music education programs that foster critical thinking skills and creativity for students in the Seattle Public Schools District of King County. For information about eligibility and the application process, please follow the tabs. 


    • The Clowes Fund suffered a tremendous loss when our long-time president Alec Clowes died last year. Since then, Jonathan Clowes has stepped up as president and revitalized the Fund’s leadership; however, one vacancy remains. The Fund no longer has a director living in the Seattle area. Therefore, the Fund has decided to conclude its grantmaking program in Seattle by 2021.
    • The board gave careful consideration to the good work accomplished by Fund grants to date in Seattle, and the desire to avoid future harm to our Seattle-based grant partners, and settled upon an understanding that the Fund will work toward a gradual wind down of its Seattle grantmaking. Henceforth, the Fund will not accept Preliminary Proposals to launch new relationships in Seattle, and the competitive pool for funding over the next five years will be limited to a cohort of five current grantees: Seattle Chamber Music Orchestra; Seattle Jazz Orchestra; Seattle Music Partners; Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestra; and Seattle Symphony Orchestra.
    • The Fund will accept competitive multi-year proposals when the current respective grants expire for these organizations. Grants will be awarded from a target allocation of approximately $500,000 for distribution over the next five years based on the proposals with the best strategy for leveraging a final Fund grant for the greatest good to sustain music education for socio-economically disadvantaged youth. The committee anticipates that strategies might include matching or challenge grants to build a broader base of donors or an endowment to help replace Clowes funding. Though the allocation was determined based upon spending approximately $100,000 annually in Seattle, the Fund recognizes that the most effective leverage strategies might require varying amounts over the years.
    • For more information about the proposal process, read the guidelines in entirety.

    • The Fund was established as a family foundation* in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1952, which is where the vast majority of its grants were made for the first two decades. (*The Fund is a private foundation – the term family foundation is not a legal definition – it simply means that family members comprise a majority of the governing board.) In the 1980s the Fund’s grantmaking spread geographically as third generation family members joined the board. In 2000, the Fund defined competitive grantmaking programs in three regions: Indiana, where it was founded; New England, where the founding donors maintained a residence and a number of Clowes family members and Fund directors live; and Seattle, where Alec was the only resident director. Now that the Fund includes the fourth generation of family members, the geographic dispersion is much broader than these three regions. The Fund does not anticipate expanding its competitive grantmaking to all areas where board members live, and likewise, it does not intend to continue grantmaking indefinitely in areas such as Seattle where no board members live.
    • Prior to 2000, the Fund’s grants in Seattle were given mostly to five organizations without a defined focus. The first and most significant grants in the 1980s were awarded to the University of Washington. In the 1990s the Fund awarded a few disparate grants in Seattle and started a relationship with three current grantees.
    • In 2000, the Fund awarded five grants in Seattle for a total of less than $100,000. Grantmaking peaked in volume in 2007, with 15 grants paid across three related fields of interest – education, arts education, arts, culture and humanities – and in value with more than $400,000 paid in 2008 (with the notable exception of $2 million awarded in 2014 to establish the Alexander Whitehill Clowes, M.D., Endowed Chair in Vascular Surgery at the University of Washington School of Medicine, fulfilling a lasting legacy in Seattle).
    • Over time the Fund sharpened its focus in Seattle to music education, especially access to quality programs for children from low income homes. Since 2009, the Fund’s Seattle grantmaking evolved into one of its most effective portfolios because the cohort of grantees worked so well together to leverage information and financial resources to provide long-term, hands-on, musical instrument education for low income and at-risk youth.
    • We are proud of the Fund’s positive impact in Seattle, which has been made possible by the good work of our Seattle grant partners. We are confident in a bright future of arts education in Seattle!