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Lannan Foundation


Last Updated: 2016-05-29

At A Glance

Lannan Foundation

313 Read St.

Santa Fe, NM United States 87501-2628

Telephone: (505) 986-8160


Type of Grantmaker

Independent foundation

Additional Descriptor

  • Family foundation

Financial Data

(yr. ended 2014-12-31)

Assets: $208,320,304

Total giving: $13,102,052





Additional Contact Information

Additional contact information (for Ruth Simms): Fax: (505) 954-5143, e-mail:


Established in 1960 in IL - In 1960 J. Patrick Lannan, Sr., entrepreneur and financier, established Lannan Foundation. A self-educated scholar and liberal thinker, he believed strongly in the social importance of charitable programs and in the cultural importance of innovative and controversial forms of visual and literary art. During his lifetime, Mr. Lannan assembled an extensive collection of contemporary and modern American and European art. Mr. Lannan died in 1983 at the age of 78. In 1986 Lannan Foundation received a substantial endowment from his estate. Under the leadership of J. Patrick Lannan, Jr., the foundation continued its expansion of the collection and instituted national programs for grantmaking in contemporary visual and literary arts

Purpose and Activities

The foundation is a family foundation dedicated to cultural freedom, diversity and creativity through projects which support exceptional contemporary artists and writers, as well as inspired Native activists in rural indigenous communities. The foundation recognizes the profound and often unquantifiable value of the creative process and is willing to take risks and make substantial investments in ambitious and experimental thinking. Believing that globalization threatens all cultures and ecosystems, the foundation is particularly interested in projects that encourage freedom of inquiry, imagination, and expression. The foundation supports this mission with long-term special projects requiring multi-year commitments of funding and technical assistance in the areas of contemporary visual art, literature, indigenous communities, and issues of cultural freedom.

Program Area(s)

The grantmaker has identified the following area(s) of interest:

Art Program

The goals of this funding area are to support the creativity of exceptional contemporary artists, foster serious criticism and discussion of contemporary art, and to bring new and experimental works of art to a wide audience. The program also includes the Acquisition and Exhibition programs. The Acquisition and Gift program enables the foundation to collect the work of contemporary artists as well as making gifts of their work to museums and other public institutions. The Exhibition program was established to support the creation of new work and to give greater exposure to contemporary artists.

Cultural Freedom Program

As defined by the foundation, cultural freedom is the right of individuals and communities to define and protect valued and diverse ways of life currently threatened by globalization. The prize recognizes people whose extraordinary and courageous work celebrates the human right to freedom of imagination, inquiry, and expression. The fellowship's purpose is to encourage and support individuals who are leaders in American and foreign communities to contemplate, reflect, write and study. The money provided with the fellowship may be used for travel, study, research, or other similar purposes. Applications and nominations for cultural freedom awards or fellowships are not accepted.

Grants to Individuals Program

Awards to writers writing in the English language, and grants to visual artists from indigenous communities promoting cultural freedom.

Indigenous Communities Program

The program supports the resolve of rural Native people to renew their communities through their own institutions and traditions. The program supports projects consistent with traditional values in the areas of environmental protection and advocacy, legal rights, language revitalization and preservation, education, and culture. Applications are accepted only from new grant requests from United States Federally recognized tribes or Native controlled 501 (c) (3) organizations whose work is solely focused in the United States.

Literary Program

The purpose of the program is to support the creation of exceptional poetry and prose written originally in the English language and to increase the audience for contemporary literature. The foundation honors writers whose work reflects and changes our understanding of the world. Applications and nominations for literary awards or fellowships are not accepted.

Program-Related Investment

The foundation has made a PRI in the form of a loan to a public policy organization to finance a book-publishing activity. Historically, the foundation has made PRIs in the form of a mortgage loan to an advocacy organization, as well as loans to a Native American organization. Historically, the foundation has also made PRIs to educational and cultural programs.

Readings and Conversations Program

The program invites writers, poets, and social activists to Santa Fe to read and discuss their work before an audience. Some events are simulcast on public radio and each is recorded and joins the Lannan Audio Archive which currently contains hundreds of hours of the audio recordings of these sell-out events.

Residency Program

The program in Marfa, Texas, provides uninterrupted writing time for poets, writers, essayists, scholars, art curators, and activists. Residency durations are usually from one to two months. Candidates for this program are selected through an internal nomination process. Unsolicited applications are not accepted.

Fields of Interest

  • Arts and culture
  • Historic preservation
  • Literature and writing
  • Museums
  • Visual arts
Population Groups
  • American Indians
  • Children and youth
  • Economically disadvantaged people
  • Indigenous peoples
  • Low-income and poor people

Financial Data

Year ended 2014-12-31

Assets: $208,320,304 (market value)

Gifts received: $103,600

Expenditures: $18,955,707

Total giving: $13,102,052

Qualifying distributions: $18,664,727