Frequently Asked Questions
Yes! TMU grants are made twice a year. In order to submit a Full Proposal, you must first fill out an Initial Inquiry by November 1 (for grants happening in July of the following year or later) or May 1 (for grants happening January 1 of the following year or later). If you are invited to apply, you will need to fill out a Full Proposal by February 1 (November 1 initial inquiry deadline) or August 1 (May 1 initial inquiry deadline).
We believe that direct, person-to-person, international exchanges produce multiple benefits at various levels:
Individual: Exchange is personally transformative, creating space for individual reflection, healing, mental and spiritual well-being. Exchange is contemplative and provocative, challenging individuals to question their own biases, privilege, views, and preconceptions.
Interpersonal: Exchange builds trusted, lasting and rewarding personal friendships and professional relationships. Exchange results in deeper empathy and mutual understanding between diverse people from different cultures, identities, places, and lived experiences.
Professional: Exchange provides opportunities for professional development, inspiration, motivation, and validation. Exchange enables creative and scientific collaboration, resulting in new knowledge, new ideas, new bodies of work, new ways of thinking and doing.
Communal: Exchange builds a collective sense of belonging, community, solidarity and security, provides moral support, and helps overcome isolation and marginalization.
Systemic: Exchange serves as a form of direct ‘citizen diplomacy,’ encouraging greater cooperation, harmony, respect, tolerance, and mutual understanding among people, cultures, and countries. And exchange reveals our interconnectedness with others (both human and nonhuman) within both our wider societal and natural systems.
Happiness: Exchange is fun, joyful, playful and pleasurable, and enhances overall quality of life.
Each word in our name – Trust. Mutual. Understanding. – has significance in how we understand the meaning of direct, person-to-person exchanges and in how we strive to support exchanges between our grantees. We aspire for these six fundamental principles in the exchanges we support:
Trust: Exchange builds trusted relationships through authenticity, honesty, openness, respect, and transparency.
Mutualism: Exchange is fundamentally reciprocal, based upon principles of mutuality, collaboration, co-creation, generosity, interdependence, and upon shared experience, learning, resources, and benefits.
Openness: Exchange requires a sense of curiosity and wonder, a willingness to listen to and learn from one another, to strive to understand different cultures, perspectives and people, and to challenge ourselves and open our minds to new knowledge and possibilities.
Equity: Exchange strives to acknowledge and shift systemic economic, environmental, racial, and social inequities, injustices, and power imbalances between people by uplifting isolated and marginalized voices, celebrating and promoting diversity of geographies, perspectives, and life experiences.
Commitment: Exchange represents a commitment to a long-term supportive allyship between and accountability to one another. Exchange is about endurance, longevity, sustainability and persistence even (and especially) during times of chaos, conflict and pressure.
Resilience: Exchange must be adaptable, flexible, resilient, and responsive to changing contexts, environments, needs, and crises.
TMU provides grants for costs associated with professional exchanges (both in-person and virtual) in the arts, the environment, and the intersection between these.
TMU supports exchanges between professional artists and designers, art managers and curators – primarily within the visual and performing (dance, music, theater) arts. In the performing arts, our grantees typically include choreographers, composers, directors, performers, and playwrights. In the visual arts, our grantees typically include artists and designers from a variety and combination of mediums, including ceramics, drawing, graphic design, painting, photography, printmaking, and traditional crafts. Our grantees also include professional art and design administrators/managers, archivists, curators, historians, researchers, and those specifically working on cultural and language documentation and preservation.
We do not typically support professional exchanges focused on architecture, film, video, or literature.
Commonly supported exchanges in the arts include: creative artistic collaborations, curatorial research projects, performances given in conjunction with lectures/demonstrations and/or workshops, historic preservation projects, arts management programs, cultural documentation activities, and exchanges intended to aid nongovernmental arts organizations seeking greater institutional capacity and stability, and network-building.
TMU supports exchanges between professional, environmental activists, conservationists, researchers, and scientists. Our grantees typically include those whose work emphasizes biodiversity preservation, ecosystem & habitat preservation, environmental advocacy, environmental law, environmental science, environmental sustainability, land use planning, species conservation, and sustainable development.
Commonly supported exchanges focused on the environment include: activities that facilitate more effective international contact and networking between environmental organizations; advanced training programs; joint events, conferences, seminars & workshops; collaborative environmental research projects; collaborative environmental actions, projects and programs (focused on the issue areas listed above); and exchanges intended to aid nongovernmental, environmental organizations seeking greater institutional capacity and stability.
Intersection of Arts & Environment
TMU also supports exchanges at the intersection of the arts and environment. Typically, these types of intersecting exchanges fall into two categories:
-collaborations between professionals in arts and environment intended to learn and draw inspiration from one another, cooperate, and/or explore areas for integrating ideas and methods from one another into their respective work
-activities led by native communities that support Indigenous ways of knowing and being, wherein the arts and environment are inherently interconnected
**We do not support exchanges where the primary participants or beneficiaries are youth or students.
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, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan. Countries not listed here are ineligible for funding.
Allowable expenses eligible for TMU funding include:
-Expenses associated with supporting IN-PERSON exchanges;
-Expenses associated with supporting VIRTUAL exchanges;
-Indirect/Administrative expenses (up to 30% of total allowable expenses)
Expenses associated with supporting IN-PERSON exchange
Expenses related to supporting exchange are eligible for TMU funding, including:
-international airfare & airport transfers
-visas and applicable visa processing fees
-translation & interpretation costs
-entrance & registration fees for exchange-related conferences, events & trainings
-costs associated with more environmentally-friendly travel and other allowable expenses (e.g., reducing or compensating for/offsetting greenhouse gas emissions from exchange-related travel; low-carbon events, etc).
Expenses associated with supporting VIRTUAL exchanges
Costs associated with virtual exchanges are also eligible for TMU funding, for example:
-staff time related to planning for and participating in virtual exchanges
-related technology (hardware, software, and/or cloud-based tools, fees & subscriptions) for online communication and collaboration
-online event registration fees
TMU allows up to 30% of the total eligible expenses associated with supporting exchanges to be allocated toward administrative or indirect costs. (For example, if the total eligible, direct expenses for exchange are $10,000, then $3,000 can be added to cover administrative or indirect costs).
Projects that involve direct, in-depth professional interaction in the arts, the environment, and the intersection between these with the potential for sustained collaboration, show evidence of professional accomplishment, and respond to social contexts and engage local communities.
TMU grants are made to American nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations. Typically, it is these organizations that submit Initial Inquiries and, if invited, Full Proposals. TMU does not make grants directly to individuals* or institutions abroad. However, an Initial Inquiry may be made by an individual or institution in any of the countries in which TMU is active. If invited, individuals or organizations that do not have 501(c)(3) status may then submit a Full Proposal through the fiscal sponsorship of an American nonprofit organization. The fiscal sponsor must submit a letter stating their involvement with the project and their willingness to administer any grant funds, as well as a copy of their 501(c)(3) determination letter.
*Note: TMU only supports exchanges between adult professionals in the arts and environmental fields. We do not support exchanges where the primary participants or beneficiaries are students or youth.
TMU is highly invested in our grantees. Our staff members are always looking for opportunities to see and share your work. If you have an upcoming performance, conference, exhibition, meeting, or other event, please let us know by sending us an email at tmu (at) tmuny.org. If you are interested in publicizing your event on our website or Facebook page, please send us a link to the event’s landing page. Contact us at the above email address for more information.
While we do not have a specific report form for grantees to submit after the completion of their project, we do require grantees to submit a narrative report and financial statement certifying that all grant funds provided by TMU have been expended in accordance with the conditions set forth in the award letter. The financial statement should be set up in the same format as the approved project budget.
You can send photographs to TMU via email. Because images may be used for publication in our annual report, they should have a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Please also include the following information keyed to each photograph:
- Names, titles, and organizational affiliations (if known) of people in the photograph
- Location of scene, including city, country, and institution/organization, if applicable
- Approximate date of photograph
- Activity documented, such as “discussion between workshop participants” or “rehearsal of company members”
- Photo credit
Photos that show interaction of project participants or that document exchange activities, locales, or outcomes—rather than posed shots of individuals or groups—are best. TMU may at any time use materials from final reports for publications and we make all attempts to appropriately credit work. If your photos are selected for publication, we may contact you to provide further information. Even if photos are not published, they will be placed in TMU’s grant file for the project. If you do not want photos to be used in any publication, please state so in your final report.
Grantees should submit their narrative report and financial statement within three months of completing the project. Final reports must be received before a new application for funding can be reviewed.