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Next Application Cycle of Frankenthaler Climate Initiative To Launch on April 3, 2022

Advancing its $10M Commitment to Climate Action in the Visual Arts, Helen Frankenthaler Foundation Expands its Climate Initiative with Next Round of Grants Supporting Both Collecting and Non-Collecting Visual Art Institutions as well as Art Schools

The Helen Frankenthaler Foundation will open the next application cycle of the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative, an unprecedented $10-million commitment to support energy efficiency and clean energy projects in art museums and institutions across the U.S., on April 3, 2022. Following the first phase of the initiative, which awarded funds exclusively to collecting museums, this second cycle of grants will reach a broader community within the visual arts by accepting applications from both collecting and non-collecting museums and institutions, including art schools, that are seeking to assess and rectify their impact on the environment.

Developed and implemented in partnership with the RMI, a leading non-profit advocate of clean energy systems, and Environment & Culture Partners, the leading non-profit advocate of cultural sector climate action, the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative has already awarded $5.1 million to 79 institutions to date from its first grantmaking cycle. Letters of interest for the second cycle are due by April 17, 2022, with monetary awards expected to be announced this summer. More information about the application process is available at

The Frankenthaler Climate Initiative continues the Foundation’s commitment to social impact philanthropy begun in 2020, including its multi-year COVID-19 Relief Effort for artists and arts organizations. Most recently, the Foundation has also launched the Frankenthaler Climate Art Awards, in collaboration with the Asia Society, to support emerging artists whose work addresses climate issues.

“We are excited to build upon our groundbreaking Climate Initiative and continue our partnership with RMI and Environment & Culture Partners with this next cycle of grants,” said Lise Motherwell, Board Chair of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation. “For this second round, we felt it was essential to extend the invitation to a greater variety of arts institutions in order to inspire climate action more broadly across the arts sector.”

Added Fred Iseman, President of the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, “We are by definition an arts foundation. The climate threat, however, crosses all boundaries. We have decided to open the aperture on FCI’s funding to capture a broader group of arts institutions. We hope that by funding steps toward zero-carbon at art schools, in particular, we can enlist the sensibilities and talents of artists and future artists to this urgent cause. Think of great crises depicted by great artists: Goya, Max Beckmann, Motherwell. Our goal with FCI is to be a climate catalyst - not just for art buildings - but also for artists where they make or show their works. They, in turn, we hope, will catalyze the art public and the cultural world, as other artists have advocated for other social causes in their art.”

Eligible visual art institutions are invited to submit letters of interest through the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative website, from April 3 through April 17, 2022. Three types of energy efficiency and clean energy generation projects will be considered for funding:

  • Scoping grants help museums understand the climate and energy mitigation opportunities at their facilities.
  • Technical assistance grants support the specification and budgeting of an identified efficiency project to allow for procurement and financing.
  • Implementation grants provide partial seed funding for fully specified projects.

“As cultural institutions take responsibility for their impact on the environment, they require funding across all levels of commitment, from the first evaluation to a full systems upgrade. The generous support of the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative will create permanent changes within arts institutions for generations to come,” said Jules Kortenhorst, CEO of RMI

Sarah Sutton, CEO of Environment & Culture Partners, added “the sector’s readiness to take this important action is exciting and so encouraging, but funding has been a key limiting factor. The vision and passion of the board, through the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative, has created a sea change in energy work in this sector.”

Monetary awards will be issued in proportion to the scope and timeline of the project. Full application details are available at

About the Frankenthaler Climate Initiative

The Frankenthaler Climate Initiative is the first nation-wide program to support energy efficiency and clean energy use for the visual arts and the largest private national grant-making program to address climate change action through cultural institutions. Its grants provide critical support to visual art institutions in the United States seeking to assess their impact on the environment and to lower ongoing energy costs. The Frankenthaler Climate Initiative builds on the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation’s commitment to social impact philanthropy, catalyzing change across critical issues in the arts.

The Frankenthaler Climate Initiative was launched in 2021 and is managed in association with RMI, an independent nonprofit that engages businesses, communities, institutions, and entrepreneurs in accelerating the adoption of market-based solutions that cost-effectively create a clean, prosperous, and secure low-carbon future, and Environment & Culture Partners, a nonprofit that creates relationships and leads collaborations that engage the cultural sector in broader climate action.

The inaugural grant cycle awarded 79 institutions with more than $5 million in funding, to achieve several interdependent climate goals including improving building standards and achieving long-term financial and operational stability through energy savings at institutions like the Met Cloisters (NY), ICA Boston (MA), and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston (MA); supporting institutional goals such as climate neutral commitments made by the Guggenheim Museums (NY) and the Museum of Modern Art (NY); and advancing institutional preparedness and response to climate-driven disasters, such as Museo de Arte de Ponce’s (Puerto Rico) structural renovations towards a climate-and-earthquake-ready museum.

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About Helen Frankenthaler Foundation

Established and endowed by Helen Frankenthaler during her lifetime, the Helen Frankenthaler Foundation advances the artist’s legacy and inspires a new generation of practitioners through a range of philanthropic, educational, and research initiatives. Since becoming active in 2013, the Foundation has continued to strategically expand its program, which includes organizing and supporting significant exhibitions of the artist’s work, fostering new research and publications, advancing educational programs in partnership with arts organizations around the world, and launching groundbreaking initiatives that foster systemic change in the field. As a primary resource on the artist, and a steward of her collection and archive, the Foundation holds an extensive selection of Frankenthaler’s work in a variety of mediums, her collection of works by other artists, and original papers and materials pertaining to her life and work.