Unique endowment supports the arts

By Chris Heinbaugh

The Moody Fund for the Arts (MFA) today announced it is awarding a record $450,000 in grants to 52 small arts organizations in Dallas. The grants, which range in size from $4,750 to the maximum of $12,000, support groups representing a broad cross-section of small, emerging and ethnic arts organizations across numerous art forms including theatre, music, dance, visual arts, film, multimedia and more. Many of these programs provide access to the arts in historically under-served communities in Dallas. 

The Asian Film Foundation of Dallas (AFFD) is a first-time MFA Grant recipient.
Photo by John R. Strange/Selig Polyscope Company courtesy of the AFFD

This marks the fifth year of MFA grantmaking. Since its first awards in 2018, MFA has awarded a total of $1,530,000 through 238 unique grants to 79 organizations. 

“We set out to create a unique endowment that would support the growing, diverse and vibrant small arts community in Dallas,” said Francie Moody-Dahlberg, executive director and chairman of the Galveston-based Moody Foundation, which funded the endowment for the $10M Moody Fund for the Arts. “We wanted to help these organizations realize their creative vision with projects and programs across our city. After five years, we are beyond pleased by the results, and excited at what’s ahead.” 

The fund awards flexible grants within five categories. This year saw entries in each category: General Program and Operating Cost Support (31); New Works, Commissions and Unique Presentations (11); Capacity Building (4); Community Focus Performances/Artist-in-Residency Programs (5); and Cultural Equity, New Initiatives (1). Six of the groups were awarded MFA grants for the first time. 

This year’s grants come as the Dallas arts community is recovering from a pandemic that had been financially devastating. In 2020 and 2021, MFA responded by significantly increasing the total grant amounts and accelerating the review process to get funds to the organizations quickly. 

MFA also provided flexibility in executing the grants as groups pivoted between providing virtual and in-person experiences. 

“The Moody Fund for the Arts provided a lifeline to so many of our arts organizations during a very challenging time,” said Dallas Mayor Eric Johnson. “We are so grateful for the generosity and vision of the Moody Foundation for creating something that will continue providing critical support for the smallest organizations in our arts community for decades to come.” 

In 2017, the Dallas City Council recognized the Moody Foundation’s gift by renaming Dallas City Performance Hall in the Dallas Arts District as Moody Performance Hall.