People Supporting the Arts

Arts Foundation


President: P.K. VanderBeke, CD ‘96
Vice President/Treasurer: Robert Johnson, CD ‘87
Secretary: Ann Murray, CD ‘02


Operating as a charitable adjunct to The Cliff Dwellers private club, The Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation’s ongoing mission is to support the arts. This is accomplished through its providing funds in the form of grants to arts-oriented organizations and individuals, presenting events at the club such as concerts, performances, and films, and sponsoring an annual music competition. Grant recipients are chosen by the full Board from qualified applications received by a set deadline each spring and fall; applications are available on-line and members are encouraged to invite their favorite groups to apply.

Funds are provided through voluntary contributions from club members and are distributed biannually. Contributions are accepted at any time during the year. Checks made out to The Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation for any amount, as well as inquiries, should be sent directly to the Foundation at the club’s address. All such contributions are tax-deductible to the extent allowed by current revenue laws. Specific information regarding past grants and distributions is available to club members.

In keeping with the founding goals of The Cliff Dwellers to celebrate and support the arts in Chicago, The Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation was created and is funded solely through the generosity and support of our members and accomplishes those goals in many very tangible ways. This past year the foundation awarded grants to a wide-ranging group of recipients:

  • Emergence Dance to fund their annual Cliff Dwellers Choreographer of the Year Award
  • Green Star Movement for their work creating public art in and revitalizing urban neighborhoods.
  • Blair Thomas & Co. in support of the development of their version of “Moby Dick”.
  • Urban Gateways for their Summer Film Internship Program at the Art Institute of Chicago
  • Ragdale to fund a project to record video essays sharing the wisdom of their resident artists.
  • The John David Mooney Foundation for their Apprentice and Internship Program.
  • Neighborhood Writing Alliance for poetry workshops in low income communities.
  • The Renaissance Society for a concert series within their fall exhibition “Suicide Narcissus”.
  • Pentacle for Help Desk/Chicago: providing business mentorship for small dance companies.
  • Storycatchers Theatre in continuing support of Teens Together theater workshop for at risk youth.
  • Chicago Q Ensemble for their Neighborhood Quartet Residency program.

We also continue to offer grant recipients the opportunity to present their work at the club, hosting several events in 2013 and 2014 including a very well attended presentation on a new Art Park in Urbana, Illinois by John David Mooney and fellow Cliff Dwellers Carl Webber and Urbana Mayor Laurel Prussing; a preview of the world premiere of “The Binding” by Theatre Y; a multimedia dance performance by Synapse Arts; and an original musical written and performed by incarcerated youth presented by Storycatchers Theatre.  Additionally, the Cliff Dwellers Music Competition was re-launched in April 2014, featuring a specially commissioned piece for string instruments by composer Marcos Balter, awarding over two thousand dollars to local contest winners. The Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation is proud to work in tandem with our membership to support the artists and arts organizations in Chicago whose work enlivens and enriches our lives.

To make donations, copy the card below or, if you prefer, download this file:  Arts Foundation Donation Card


For information on receiving grants to be distributed by the Foundation, please see the guidelines document that is accessed via this link:
CD-Arts Foundation Guidelines

To apply for a grant from The Cliff Dwellers Arts Foundation, please use the application form that is available by clicking on this link:
CD-Arts Foundation Application

Deadlines for grant applications are March 31 and September 28th.

Email inquiries: