Anonymous Fund

The Anonymous Fund was established to benefit UW-Madison programs in the arts and humanities. Funded by an anonymous donor, the bequest is charged to “strengthen and enlarge the cultural and artistic undertakings of the University.” Since its inception the fund has been used to support public programming in the arts, humanities, and descriptive social sciences for the betterment of campus and the community.

The Anonymous Fund supports programming by individual units and especially units collaborating on conferences, film screenings, exhibitions, and other kinds of events strongly centered on the arts and humanities. The Anonymous Fund Committee looks favorably upon applications to support programming that is accessible to the greater Madison community. Further, it suggests that whenever possible, programs should include both graduate and undergraduate students. Ideally, events will also be tied into current offerings in the curriculum.

Anonymous Fund monies may not be used to support projects administered by student groups. Consequently, proposals submitted by student groups will not be considered.

Members of the Anonymous Fund Committee are selected by the dean of the College of Letters & Science to represent arts and humanities constituencies across campus. In addition, the committee includes representatives from the chancellor’s and provost’s offices to ensure coordination and stewardship of the gift fund. Please see below for definitions and specifics of Anonymous Fund grant categories including Single-Event, Series, and Block grants. You may also wish to consult the report of the past five years of allocations of the Anonymous Fund.

The Committee strongly encourages applicants to seek additional funding from other sources in order to strengthen their request. In general, the Anonymous Committee is reluctant to fund a particular project more than once.

The Committee asks that all proposals be submitted electronically as a single PDF file to Laura Dunnum at laura.dunnum@wisc.edu. Once the Committee has reviewed and granted funding, the primary sponsor of the application will be notified by e-mail about the funding outcome. If an application is funded, the primary sponsor will receive an electronic letter with a funding account number as well as with other administrative details.

Please use the Anonymous Fund cover page (available in Word or fillable PDF) when submitting your proposal. Proposals must include a memo indicating the rationale for the request, likely audiences and estimate of turnout; additional sources of support applied for and obtained; the extent of community and student involvement; summarized CVs (at most a page for out-of-town guests); a budget page and letters of co-sponsorship. The budget page must comply with university guidelines. The Anonymous Fund will pay for economy air travel only.

Anonymous Fund allocations absolutely must not be overspent.

All applicants that receive funding must acknowledge the Anonymous Fund in promotional materials and at the event(s). Within a month of the close of the event, the primary sponsor must file with the dean’s office a summary of the activities held, the size of the audience in attendance, and a brief statement as to how the requested budget was distributed.

Please remember that University Policy prohibits UW-Madison faculty from receiving payment as a participant for events held at UW-Madison. This includes funds from grants such as the Anonymous Fund.

Monies not used by the end of the fiscal year (June 30) must be returned to the Anonymous Fund unless an extension is requested and granted. (Contact Mary Machaj at mary.machaj@wisc.edu.) You may wish to consult the report of the past five years of Anonymous Fund awards, which can be found on the Anonymous Fund webpage.

Over the years, the Anonymous Fund has proudly allocated millions of dollars to support high-quality programming of benefit both to our campus and the broader community. Our ability to support applications at the level requested is affected by the quality of proposals, the amount of money available in the fund which fluctuates with the stock market, and the number of applications received. The Anonymous Fund Committee encourages all departments and programs with creative ideas in the arts, humanities, and descriptive social sciences to apply for our funding and to reach out with any questions you may have about our guidelines.

Submission Deadline

Requests for single events planned during the period of November 2023 and May 2024 should be submitted by Monday, October 2, 2023. The deadline for single events planned during the period of June 2024 and October 2024 is Monday, April 8, 2024.

The deadline for block grant and series grant applications is Monday, February 5, 2024.

Contact

Laura Dunnum
College of Letters & Science Office of the Dean
105 South Hall
(608) 263-2303

laura.dunnum@wisc.edu

Anonymous Fund Categories

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Single-Event Grants

Single-event grants provide funding for single events, such as a performance, a speaker, a conference. A letter of support from the department chair is required. Letters of support from partnering units, if applicable, may be included. Requests for single events planned during the period of November 2023 and May 2024 should be submitted by Monday, October 2, 2023. The deadline for single events planned during the period of June 2024 and October 2024 is Monday, April 8, 2024.

Series

Series grants provide funding for multiple-event programming such as departmental colloquia or a speaker series. While a public component remains crucial, series grants tend to be smaller in scale and scope than block grants. The series need not be centered on one particular theme. A letter of support from the department chair or director is required. Letters of support from partnering units, if applicable, may be included. The deadline for series grant applications is Monday, February 5, 2024.

Block Grants

Block grants support public programming, performances, and exhibitions that are essential to the core research, teaching, and outreach mission of arts and humanities academic departments as well as centers, institutes, museums, and presses. Applicants for block grants should demonstrate how their request seeks support for academic programming with a pronounced public component and is essential to the unit’s core mission. Letters of support are required from the department chair or unit director. Letters of support from partnering units, if applicable, may be included.

The Committee requests that block grant applications indicate which events are an essential part of a unit’s mission and which events provide program enrichment, and rank them in priority order. Since the Anonymous Fund can provide support only for the basic level of programming, please include a report on current fundraising activities that will support programming beyond the basic level. Block grant applications must be submitted for the February 5, 2024, deadline only. 

Members of the 2023-24 Anonymous Fund Committee include:
Emily Auerbach, Director of the Odyssey Program
Sarah Barber, Provost’s Representative
Russ Castronovo, Director of the Center for the Humanities (spring semester)
Cindy I-Fen Cheng, Interim Director of the Center for the Humanities (fall semester)
Florence Hsia, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Education in the Arts and Humanities
Steve Nadler, Director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities
Christopher Walker, Director of the Division of the Arts
Monica Welke, Chancellor’s Representative
Grant Nelsestuen, Associate Dean of Arts and Humanities, College of Letters & Science