• Trust for Mutual Understanding
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    Photo care of The Tributary Fund
  • Trust for Mutual Understanding
    In isolation, it is impossible for an artist to see the real position and value of his or her art.
    Fritzie Brown, Executive Director, CEC ArtsLink
  • Trust for Mutual Understanding
    Slide
    Eli Keszler
  • Trust for Mutual Understanding
    Although, in theory, travel and communication should be easier than when TMU was founded in 1984, the economic and political hurdles for true collaboration are still extremely great.
    Steve Dubiel, Executive Director, Earthcorps
  • Trust for Mutual Understanding
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    Photo care of Link Vostok
  • Trust for Mutual Understanding
    Together, we create something new.
    Robert Wilson, Artistic Director, Watermill Center
  • Trust for Mutual Understanding
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    Photo by Pavel Antonov
  • Trust for Mutual Understanding
    It is always important for artists and scholars to challenge themselves and their own assumptions about the world and the work they do in it.
    Kara Walker, Artist, Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation/CCA Ujazdowski Castle American Seasons
  • Trust for Mutual Understanding
    Slide
    Photo by Nick Hall
  • Trust for Mutual Understanding
    We see that we are not alone in our work—we see that people living in different parts of the world are working to solve the same kinds of issues we are. We have shared problems, but the approaches to solving them can be very different.
    Sergei Berezniuk, Pacific Environment Agricultural Fires exchange participant
  • Trust for Mutual Understanding
    Slide
    Photo by Joel Berger

TMU Statement Regarding the COVID-19 Outbreak.

Over the past weeks and months, Trust for Mutual Understanding staff members have been contacted by numerous grantees inquiring about our policy on project cancellation or postponement related to the COVID-19 outbreak. As you make these decisions about the future of TMU-supported projects, please rest assured we understand how difficult and ever evolving this situation is. You are not alone in facing similar questions and decisions. Ultimately, our goal here at the Trust for Mutual Understanding is to be flexible, approachable, and supportive of all grantees during this time. If your organization decides to cancel or postpone a TMU-supported project, we 100% respect that decision and understand it is being made for the good of your organization, the project participants, and the surrounding communities. If a project is cancelled and refunds for already incurred expenses are unavailable, we will consider that part of the risk of doing business and allow your organization to hold on to any remaining funds until an alternate project or use of those funds can be established. If a project is postponed, we will allow you to hold on to TMU funds until the general situation calms and new timing can be established.

Please continue to keep us updated. We are always happy to work in partnership to find a suitable work around that benefits your organization and holds true to the principles of the original project.

In solidarity,
Barbara, Alina, Irina, and Caroline

TRUST FOR MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING

MISSION

The Trust for Mutual Understanding awards grants to American nonprofit organizations to support exchange in the arts and the environment (and the intersection of the two) between professionals from the United States and TMU’s geographic region of 29 countries: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Poland, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.

Priority consideration is given to projects that involve direct, in-depth professional interaction, with the potential for sustained collaboration; that show evidence of professional accomplishment and innovation; and/or that respond to social contexts and engage local communities.

HISTORY

The Trust for Mutual Understanding was established in 1984 by an anonymous American philanthropist as a private, grantmaking organization dedicated to promoting improved communication, closer cooperation, and greater respect between the people of the United States, the Soviet Union, and other countries in Central and Eastern Europe. TMU’s program reflects her conviction that grantmaking can contribute to this process by supporting international face-to-face contact and professional interaction. TMU’s mission has been shaped by the belief that creative international collaboration encourages global harmony.

TMU continues to support professional exchanges, reflecting the founder’s appreciation of the importance of culture and ecology in people’s lives. Before 1985, there was relatively little American funding for such activities, and what support there was—mainly governmental—was often restricted by political considerations. It remains TMU’s goal to enable talented people to come together from different countries to freely share ideas and stimulate creativity in a nonpolitical context.

TRUST FOR MUTUAL UNDERSTANDING CORE VALUES

Every word in our name has meaning.

Trust: We are legally incorporated as a trust, but trust is also at the heart of who we are, what we do, and how we do it. Our goal as grantmakers is to convey commitment, connection, honesty, transparency, and building trusted personal and professional relationships (between grantees and between us and our grantees).

Mutual: The exchanges we support are collaborative, multidirectional, and rooted in a commitment to equity, mutuality, reciprocity, solidarity, and shared learning and benefit.

Understanding: The international and interregional exchanges we support are intended to promote greater awareness, closer cooperation, empathy, harmony, peace, respect, and tolerance between people of the United States and their peers in TMU’s geographic region of focus.

It’s about our grantees.

Our work as a foundation centers on celebrating, validating, and advocating for the important and creative work of our grantees.

It’s about our mission as an advocate.

The advancement of our work is about increasing awareness among our peers and potential co-funders of the creative richness, environmental challenges, and strategic significance of the countries and regions where our grantees work.

It’s all about relationships.

Our effectiveness and impact as a grantmaker is measured not by metrics but by the authentic personal and professional relationships, collaboration, empathy, mutual understanding, and sharing and direct exchange of people, ideas, and information that our grantmaking enables.

We are grantee-centric.

Our primary commitment as grantmakers is to be empathetic, flexible, and responsive to the context, needs, realities, and trends our grantees face and to meet them where they are.

We respect the identity of place.

We strive to use inclusive language in referencing our specific geographic focus. Geographic references and terminology should not be US-centric but rather should be culturally sensitive and consistent with how local people self-identify.

We are apolitical.

While some of our grantees may be politically active directly or indirectly, our effectiveness relies upon us remaining unbiased, neutral, and apolitical.

Arts and environment are equal.

We give equal weight, consideration, and representation to our two thematic foci of arts and environment and help to break down barriers and make connections between them.

The margins are central.

Our primary commitment is to providing access to opportunity for people, communities, and organizations whose diverse voice and important work may be ignored, overlooked, or suppressed in order to overcome exclusion and isolation.

We are here to stay.

Commitment, constancy, longevity, resilience, sustainability, and stability are central to our work. We have been a presence in this part of the world for 35 years, and we will not change our programmatic areas of focus or our geographic areas of focus, which tend to be underrepresented within the world of philanthropy.

GRANTEES

2020 Cultural Grants

$1,251,200

Total Grants
in 2020

$794,200

Cultural Grants
in 2020

46

Cultural Grants
in 2020

2020 Cultural Grants

Abrons Arts Center

Abrons Arts Center

New York, NY

$20,000

to support the premiere of playwright and director Aaron Landsman's Language Reversal at Abrons Arts Center as part of a larger NYC-wide performance festival featuring local, national, and international artists who create work under charged political and social circumstances.

American Dance Festival

American Dance Festival

Durham, NC

$10,000

to provide one full tuition scholarship to emerging Ukrainian choreographer Katya Chizayeva to participate in American Dance Festival's International Choreographers Residency program in summer 2021.

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Brooklyn Academy of Music

Brooklyn, NY

$10,000

to support Czech and Hungarian participation in performances of Constanza Macras’s Open for Everything in April 2020.

Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation

Byrd Hoffman Watermill Foundation

Water Mill, NY

$10,000

to support the project “Weghur Stories: Collecting Homeland Memories in Central Asia” in 2020.

CEC ArtsLink

CEC ArtsLink

New York, NY

$30,000

to support a series of interregional exchanges in 2020 between visual and performing artists and environmentalists in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European countries, organized by Summa Artium in Budapest, Hungary.

CEC ArtsLink

CEC ArtsLink

New York, NY

$25,000

to bring five early career artists, arts managers, and curators working in the fields of public and social practice art to New York and Philadelphia for two weeks in July 2021 as part of CEC ArtsLink's Art Prospect Fellows program.

CEC ArtsLink

CEC ArtsLink

New York, NY

$55,000

to support a series of interregional exchanges in 2020 between visual and performing artists and environmentalists in Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European countries, organized by Summa Artium in Budapest, Hungary.

CEC ArtsLink

CEC ArtsLink

New York, NY

$15,000

to support the ArtsLink Assembly in fall 2020.

CEC ArtsLink

CEC ArtsLink

New York, NY

$4,300

to support a series of virtual professional development sessions between CEC ArtsLink staff members and regional partners in fall/winter 2020.

City of Asylum Pittsburgh

City of Asylum Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA

$10,000

to support the participation of jazz musicians from Central, East, and Southeast Europe in City of Asylum Pittsburgh's virtual Jazz Poetry Month in September 2020.

Clockshop

Clockshop

Los Angeles, CA

$15,000

to support the participation of four to five artists from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe in the What, How & For Whom/WHW Akademija in Zagreb, Croatia.

Creative Time

Creative Time

New York, NY

$15,000

to support seven Russian and Central and Eastern European artists to participate in the 13th Creative Time Summit in Dallas, TX in spring 2021.

Cultural Survival

Cultural Survival

Cambridge, MA

$18,000

to support four to five participants from Central Asia and Russia in a day-long convening on the revitalization and strengthening of endangered Indigenous languages and traditional environmental knowledge in New York City in April 2020.

Experimental Intermedia

Experimental Intermedia

New York, NY

$10,000

to support the US new music showcase at the Skanu Mezs festival of experimental music in Riga, Latvia in fall 2020.

Eyebeam Atelier

Eyebeam Atelier

Brooklyn, NY

$4,000

to support Eyebeam Atelier Editorial Director Marisa Mazria Katz and artist Glenn Cantave’s participation in the ZEG Storytelling Festival in Tbilisi, Georgia in June 2020.

Flux Factory

Flux Factory

Long Island City, NY

$15,000

to allow ten American artists to participate in the Art Quarter Budapest residency program in Hungary.

Foundation for Contemporary Arts

Foundation for Contemporary Arts

New York, NY

$15,000

to support Foundation for Contemporary Arts' COVID-19 Relief Fund in 2020.

Franklin Furnace Archive

Franklin Furnace Archive

Brooklyn, NY

$7,500

to support the exhibition Classification Patterns: Christian, Muhammad, Lee, curated by Irena Popiashvili in partnership with Fundacja Galerii Czul osc in Warsaw, Poland in fall 2020.

Gaspard&Dancers

Gaspard&Dancers

Durham, NC

$25,000

to support performances of a trilogy inspired by the life and work of American neo-expressionist painter Jean-Michel Basquiat by Gaspard&Dancers at the Dancecription_20 Project in Yekaterinburg, Russia in summer 2021.

Headlands Center for the Arts

Headlands Center for the Arts

Sausalito, CA

$12,000

to support a two-month residency for Slovak artist Jaro Varga.

Independent Curators International

Independent Curators International

New York, NY

$20,000

to bring ten arts professionals from Albania, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, and the United States to Pristina, Kosovo to serve as faculty for courses that will train young arts professionals as part of Stacion - Center for Contemporary Art Pristina's Summer School as School.

International Studio & Curatorial Program

International Studio & Curatorial Program

Brooklyn, NY

$7,500

to support a two-month residency for Latvian artist Kriss Salmanis at International Studio & Curatorial Program in winter 2021.

Jacob Burns Film Center

Jacob Burns Film Center

Pleasantville, NY

$35,000

to support the participation of 15 Romanian actors, critics, filmmakers, historians, producers, and writers in the 15th edition of MAKING WAVES: New Romanian Cinema.

La MaMa E.T.C.

La MaMa E.T.C.

New York, NY

$8,000

to support performances of Ich kann nicht anders (I can do no other) by Slovenian performance collective Beton Ltd. at La MaMa in New York City from January 16 through 19, 2020.

La MaMa E.T.C.

La MaMa E.T.C.

New York, NY

$5,000

to support the exhibition Tadeusz Kantor Happenings at La MaMa Experimental Theatre Club’s La Galleria in October 2020.

Movement Research

Movement Research

New York, NY

$25,000

to support a bilateral residency exchange between Movement Research in New York City and LOKOMOTIVA-Centre for New Initiatives in Arts and Culture in Skopje, North Macedonia.

Museum of Jurassic Technology

Museum of Jurassic Technology

Culver City, CA

$20,000

to support a two-week tour of the 3D film Book of Wisdom and Lies to Batumi, Kutaisi, Telavi, and Tbilisi, Georgia in July 2021.

Museum of Modern Art

Museum of Modern Art

New York, NY

$10,000

to bring Ekaterina Kochetkova, Deputy Director for Regional Development at the Pushkin Museum, to New York as part of the fifth iteration of the MoMA International Curatorial Institute in spring 2020 and to support Alexander Shedrinsky’s travel to Moscow and St. Petersburg, Russia to accompany MoMA staff members as they conduct research at the Pushkin and Hermitage museums in 2020.

New York University

New York University

New York, NY

$5,500

to support acclaimed Polish theater director Krystian Lupa’s participation in a panel discussion and marathon reading of Franz Kafka’s The Trial at NYU Skirball on March 8, 2020.

Peabody Opera

Peabody Opera

Baltimore, MD

$3,000

supplemental award to bring Hungarian costume designer Mari Benedek and set designer Zsolt Kheell to Baltimore for rehearsals and performances of Bela Pinter’s The Champion in February 2020.

Philadelphia Dance Projects

Philadelphia Dance Projects

Philadelphia, PA

$10,000

to support two Hungarian choreographers' participation in the three-week Budapest/Philadelphia Dance Artist Exchange residency hosted by Philadelphia Dance Projects in spring 2021.

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

Rattlestick Playwrights Theater

New York, NY

$25,000

to support the US premiere of Hungarian director Martin Boross's ADDRESSLESS, an interactive theatrical game in which audiences experience firsthand the complex challenges of homelessness, in December 2021.

Residency Unlimited

Residency Unlimited

Brooklyn, NY

$30,000

to support the Young Visual Artists Award (YVAA) program regional meeting in Sofia, Bulgaria in July 2020.

Residency Unlimited

Residency Unlimited

Brooklyn, NY

$115,000

to support 19 Young Visual Artist Awards recipients' residencies at Residency Unlimited.

Residency Unlimited

Residency Unlimited

Brooklyn, NY

$14,500

to support a three-month residency for a Hungarian artist, in partnership with the Agency for Contemporary Art Exchange in Budapest, Hungary, at Residency Unlimited.

Residency Unlimited

Residency Unlimited

Brooklyn, NY

$5,900

to support travel and programming related to Zeta Gallery's coordination of the 2020 Ardhje Award in Tirana, Albania.

Residency Unlimited

Residency Unlimited

Brooklyn, NY

$6,000

to support travel and programming related to Stacion Center for Contemporary Art's coordination of the 2020 Artists of Tomorrow Award in Pristina, Kosovo.

Ryerson University

Ryerson University

Toronto, Ontario, Canada

$10,000

to support Indigenous Russian participation at the Native American and Indigenous Studies Association conference in Toronto, Canada from May 7 through 9, 2020.

The Drama League

The Drama League

New York, NY

$30,000

to support The Drama League's 2020/2021 US/Bulgaria and US/Romania Directors Exchange programs.

TRIBE

TRIBE

Brooklyn, NY

$8,000

to support performances of Shamel Pitts’ Black Hole at Dance Fest Skopje in Skopje, Macedonia in April 2020.

University of Northern Iowa Foundation

University of Northern Iowa Foundation

Cedar Falls, IA

$10,000

to support a bilateral exchange between three Indigenous scholars from the Altai and Buryatia republics of Russia and Midwest region of the US focusing on cultural economy and traditional knowledge.

Urban Jazz Dance Company

Urban Jazz Dance Company

San Francisco, CA

$15,000

to support a two-week tour for six members of Urban Jazz Dance Company to Kaluga, Kostrama, Moscow, and St. Petersburg, Russia to present the piece Deaf Louder.

WaxFactory

WaxFactory

New York, NY

$10,000

to bring five US art scholars, researchers, curators, and theoreticians to Rijeka, Croatia to participate in the exhibition and symposium Nineties: Scars in summer 2020, organized by Institute for Contemporary Art Zagreb as part of Rijeka 2020: European Capital of Culture.

WaxFactory

WaxFactory

New York, NY

$10,000

to support the teaching engagements of Alexandra Beller, Ellen Lauren, and Ivan Talijancic as part of the second edition of the Croatian Cultural Alliance’s Contemporary Performance Practices program in Rijeka, Croatia in summer 2020.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Washington, DC

$10,000

to support two exploratory visits to Poland in 2020 to engage key stakeholders and conduct interviews with theater leaders, artists, critics, and academics in order to lay the groundwork for a more formal exchange program between the theater communities in the US and Poland.

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Washington, DC

$20,000

to support two nine-day trips to Poland—with three new American theater leaders in each cohort—to build long-term relationships across the two cultures and plan for more in-depth future collaboration.

TMU ONLINE APPLICATION

TO BEGIN AN INITIAL INQUIRY, CLICK HERE.

TMU reviews applications two times a year. To make the experience more user friendly, the application process is broken down into two parts:

  1. Initial Inquiry stage
    (Once the initial inquiry is submitted, you will be notified of the status of your project within 14 business days).
  2. Full Application
    (If, after submitting an initial inquiry online, a project is then invited to submit a full proposal, you will receive notification from the Trust for Mutual Understanding via email, which will contain login credentials to the grantee portal. There, you will be able to track the status of your application).

The deadlines are as follows:

  • Initial inquiry: May 1
  • Full Application: August 1
  • Notification: mid-November

This round is for projects happening January 1 or later.

  • Initial Inquiry: November 1
  • Full Application: February 1
  • Notification: mid-May

This round is for projects happening July 1 or later.

Please note that Initial Inquiries and Full Applications are due at 5:00pm EST. Should the due dates of either the Inquiry or Full Application fall on a Saturday or Sunday, they are due on Monday, the next business day. Supporting materials for the Full Application should be received no more than two weeks following the respective deadline. When submitting a letter of recommendation, please clearly indicate the organization that is applying. We do not guarantee a notification of receipt of any supporting materials.

(While the Initial Inquiry may be made by an individual or institution in any of the countries in which TMU is active, the Full Proposal must be submitted by an American nonprofit organization with 501(c)(3) tax status as TMU does not make grants directly to institutions or individuals abroad).

Please contact us if any questions arise during this process.

THE BLOG


Eriola Pira in Discussion With Ivet Ćurlin from What, How & For Whom/WHW

Eriola Pira in Discussion With Ivet Ćurlin from What, How & For Whom/WHW
Members of What, How & for Whom/WHW From the January 2019 edition of Grantee Voices Eriola Pira: We’re sitting here outside Galeria Nova in Zagreb, which What, How & For Whom has been running for some 15 years, and I wanted to start our conversation this afternoon, Ivet, with the history of WHW: how you, Ana Dević, Nataša Ilić, Sabina Sabolović, and designer and publicist Dejan Kršić came to work together as a curatorial collective.

Jonathan Slaght in Conversation with David Gordon

Russian Far East. Photo by Jon Slaght. From the April 2018 edition of Grantee Voices David Gordon: Jon, thank you for taking the time to share your great knowledge and experience with the TMU community. For starters, why don’t you introduce yourself? Tell us who you are. Jonthan Slaght: Sure! My name is Jonathan Slaght. I’m a US-based wildlife biologist. I work for a group called the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), which is based in

András Török in Conversation with Barnabás Bencsik

From an interview conducted November 29, 2017 at Glassyard Gallery, Budapest András Török: I am sitting in the brand new Glassyard Gallery in Budapest with Barnabás Bencsik, who is the curator and co-owner of the gallery, launched at the end of September 2017. Barnabás, you are a well-known curator—you have had a long career. I’m interested in the international aspects of your career. Actually, have there been aspects other than international ones? Glassyard Gallery Barnabás

CONTACT US

Contact Information
Email:

tmu (at) tmuny.org

Mailing:

Trust for Mutual Understanding
1 Rockefeller Plaza
Room 2500
New York, New York 10020

Telephone:

212 649 5776

Fax:

212 649 5777

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