The Catalyst Fund

The Catalyst Fund logo

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

About The Catalyst Fund

The Catalyst Fund is a three-year pilot program of the League of American Orchestras that awards annual grants to build the internal capacity of member orchestras based in the U.S. in advancing their understanding of equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) and in encouraging effective practice.

Advancing EDI is challenging work for any institution. To assist orchestras in creating more equitable cultures, The Catalyst Fund provides the following resources:

  • Annual grants ranging from $15,000 to $25,000, enabling successful applicants to work with a professional EDI consultant to self-define and advance internal EDI learning objectives during the one-year grant period.
  • A community to share learning with other grantees that includes a dedicated online forum as well as remote and in-person convenings.
  • Opportunities to lead and participate in fieldwide learning activities, giving visibility to EDI work in orchestras. Grantees may be profiled in League communications such as The Hub and Symphony magazine or speak during convenings and other League events.

*Applications are now closed*

Goals of the Program

The Catalyst Fund was created in response to field-wide feedback from the League’s most recent EDI planning process. Members expressed a strong desire to serve people of all races, abilities, and genders with a range of cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds. In doing so, members recognized this requires a re-examination of their orchestras’ values and ways of working.

To that end, The Catalyst Fund aims to support internal organizational development and capacity building around EDI to help orchestras be better prepared to create and deliver their external programming and engage with their communities. Grants are used to engage EDI consultants to help orchestras create and implement strategies that are relevant to their own orchestras and communities. Examples of activities that may be supported by Catalyst Fund grants include, but are not limited to:

  • Helping board and staff clarify and align their strategic thinking on EDI issues
  • Conducting an institutional audit and/or developing an EDI plan
  • Professional development such as coaching, mentorship, or training for musicians, staff, boards, and artistic leaders
  • Developing recruitment materials and hiring practices that demonstrate prior knowledge and understanding of the principles of diversity to emphasize inclusion and equity


Please email catalyst@americanorchestras.org.

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

Paul M. Angell Family Foundation

Banner: Catalyst Fund grantees meet together for the first time at the League’s 2019 National Conference in Nashville. Photo: Alan Poizner

Become a member

Thank you for your interest in the League of American Orchestras! We are dedicated to advancing the orchestral experience for all.

Join Now