The Catalyst Fund Incubator

Made possible with support from the Mellon Foundation with additional support from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation

Congratulations to the 20 orchestras awarded Catalyst Fund Incubator grants! Read the press release.

The Catalyst Fund Incubator Overview

Becoming a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive organization neither happens overnight, nor can be achieved by simply adding more people of color, women, or LGBTQIA+ people to the staff or board to increase representation. People must feel seen, heard, and meaningfully empowered within the organization to make change.

To assist orchestras in creating more equitable, diverse, and inclusive cultures, the League has designed the next phase of The Catalyst Fund to incorporate elements from technology incubator models, such as supporting the development of new ideas through mentorship and guidance, and connection to peer communities engaged in similar developmental processes.

Grant Recipients

The following orchestras were selected for The Catalyst Fund Incubator program:

  • Atlanta Symphony Orchestra
  • Charleston Symphony Orchestra
  • Greater Connecticut Youth Orchestras
  • Hawaiʻi Symphony Orchestra
  • Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra
  • Jacksonville Symphony
  • Kalamazoo Symphony Orchestra
  • Minnesota Orchestra
  • Napa Valley Youth Symphony
  • New Jersey Symphony
  • Orchestra Lumos
  • San Diego Youth Symphony and Conservatory
  • South Dakota Symphony Orchestra
  • Symphony Tacoma
  • Chicago Philharmonic
  • Louisville Orchestra
  • Walla Walla Symphony
  • Winston-Salem Symphony
  • Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra
  • Youth Orchestras of San Antonio (YOSA)

Program Components

  • Three years of grant support totaling $75,000, enabling successful applicants to work with a professional EDI consultant to create a plan and conduct activities that will assist the orchestra in achieving its vision of a more equitable, diverse, and inclusive organizational culture
  • A peer learning community that includes both online and in-person discussion forums, and convenes formally two times per grant year, to help orchestras brainstorm, strategize, and share progress and challenges with others who are working to improve the culture at their organizations using an EDI lens
  • Sequenced curricular modules to support orchestras in building their capacity to create and sustain an organizational cultural that facilitates the change they seek
  • Mentorship and guidance from convening faculty and guests, League staff, and other EDI experts

Program Priorities

A key focus of orchestras participating in The Catalyst Fund Incubator is to build capacity to attract new resources for their EDI work such as funding, staff, board members, musicians, and other community partnerships, to support their work of embedding EDI into all aspects of the organization, including financial and artistic planning, civic engagement activities and plans, and business operations.


Please email catalyst@americanorchestras.org.

The Catalyst Fund Incubator is made possible with support from the Mellon Foundation with additional support from the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation

Paul M. Angell Family Foundation

Banner: A participant from a Catalyst Fund grantee orchestra speaks about the orchestra’s work at the League’s 2019 National Conference in Nashville. Photo: Alan Poizner

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