Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQs (applies to all programs)

The Fund only supports the work of living American composers of classical concert music with an emphasis on supporting important works of composers who are younger and at the beginning stage of their career as well as music by more mature composers who deserve wider recognition and support. During each meeting the Advisory Committee will determine who best deserves support among the current applicants.

Composers with U.S. citizenship, as well as composers that have lived and worked in the U.S. for a significant period of time, are eligible. The Fund does not set rigid parameters but considers any questionable situations on a case-by-case basis. For the Fund’s purposes, “American” refers to the United States, its territories, and possessions.

Yes. The application will require an American fiscal sponsor with 501(c)3 status. Any awards will be paid to that fiscal sponsor. All financial figures in the proposal should be converted to U.S. dollars.

No, in general jazz is not supported. The Ditson Fund supports contemporary American classical concert music.

Applicants to the Recording Program may also apply to the Performing Ensembles, Institutions, Summer Festivals and Conferences Program, if the applicant satisfies the program eligibility requirements.

Generally, applicants to the April deadline of the Performing Ensembles, Institutions, Summer Festivals and Conferences Program may not apply to the November deadline, nor may applicants to the Recording Program apply to the April deadline, except in instances approved by the Fund in advance.

The Ditson Advisory Committee makes all decisions.

Educational institutions may not apply directly, but they may serve as the fiscal sponsor for projects that involve professional musicians (including faculty). Projects including student ensembles are generally not eligible for support. Projects that primarily involve professional musicians are eligible even if some students also participate.

The Ditson Fund will not fund indirect costs on a project, so it is advised that you do not include them in the budget.

Only the donation of goods that have a fair market value are allowable as a budgetary item, consistent with IRS regulations for filing Form 990.

If you wish to show the value of the donation of services, you may do so in a supplementary note to the budget, but only if the contributed services:

  1. create or enhance nonfinancial assets, or
  2. require specialized skills, are provided by individuals possessing those skills and would typically need to be purchased if not provided by donation.

In this case, indicate the full value of the donated services in the supplementary note. Within the budget itself, indicate the actual amount of money paid for the services. If the services were completely donated, the amount of the expense should be $0.

Donated services that do not meet either of the two criteria should not be represented anywhere in the budget.

The Ditson Fund does not support music education programs.

Programs are very competitive. Unfortunately, each year many worthy projects cannot be funded. You are welcome to contact the Grants Manager at ditson@columbia.edu for feedback about how your proposal could be improved in the future.

Getting started with the application process

If you are setting up an account for the first time, upon logging in, you will be directed to a page to enter a password for your account. Choose a password and save it.

Then, in the "Grant Programs" menu, select the program you wish to apply for. Read the guidelines and have the required information readily available.

If the grant cycle is open, you will see the "Start a New Application" button. Click on it to begin the process.

If this is your first application, or if you have not updated your organization's information in a while, you will be directed to your account information to update this data.

Begin the application by completing the requested information and following the instructions. It is not necessary to complete the application in any particular order, although most applicants will find it useful to proceed in the suggested order.

Clicking "Preview" will show you what your entire application looks like at any point in the process.

Be sure to save your work often by clicking the "Save" button in the lower-left hand corner of the page. You may save your work at any time. It is not necessary to complete the application in one sitting; you can return to it over a period of days or weeks, as long as you submit it by the deadline.

When you are ready to submit your application, click "Submit This Application" in the lower-right hand corner. If the system detects missing items, you will be asked to complete those items. If the application is complete, you will be taken to a final preview of your application. If you are satisfied with your application, click the red button to submit it; if you would like to make further changes, click the white button.

Once an application is submitted, it is not possible to make further changes to it, so please review your work carefully.

To access all your applications at any time, both in progress and completed, click on "My Account" in the upper-right hand corner of the page.

Please read the FAQs for more information.

Organizational Support Program FAQs

Performing groups such as orchestras, opera companies and chamber music groups with a consistent core membership, as well as ‘flexible’ ensembles with consistent artistic leadership and identity, are considered performing ensembles. Dance companies are also eligible to apply for projects that involve live performances of contemporary American music.

For  the Fund's purposed, an institution is an established organization having an important role in contemporary music, that is not a performing ensemble, summer festival, or conference.

Festivals of contemporary American classical concert music that take place during the summer months: June, July and August. The Fund only supports the work of living American composers of classical concert music with an emphasis on supporting important works of composers who are younger and at the beginning stage of their career as well as music by more mature composers who deserve wider recognition and support.

Conferences devoted to the performance of American classical concert music that take place during the summer months: June, July and August. The Fund only supports the work of living American composers of classical concert music with an emphasis on supporting important works of composers who are younger and at the beginning stage of their career as well as music by more mature composers who deserve wider recognition and support.

Ensembles without non-profit status may seek support with the sponsorship of a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status. You must submit a letter from the sponsoring organization describing the nature of the arrangement, and undertaking to be responsible for disbursement of funds if a grant is awarded. In addition, you must include the sponsor’s IRS tax-exempt determination letter. Create one PDF that contains both items.

Ensembles applying with a fiscal sponsor should create the account using their own contact information, not that of the fiscal sponsor.

The project description should be a detailed description of the specific project for which you are requesting support.  For example, applicants should include information about the performers, repertoire, venue(s), timeframe and audiences served for a proposed concert series. For non-concert projects, applicants should supply details about the personnel and participants involved, timeframe for completion, and end goal of a proposed project.

A proposal narrative should be a general description of your organization’s activities, plans for the upcoming season, and any other significant points to make your case for support. Applicants applying for general operating support are required to submit only a proposal narrative. Applicants applying for project support are required to submit a proposal narrative and a project description.

Submit your ensemble's budgets. We will follow up with you if we need more information about your fiscal sponsor.

Organizational budgets refer to three consecutive years of revenue and expense statements:

  1. the actual statement from the preceding fiscal year
  2. a projected statement (budget) for the current fiscal year
  3. a projected statement (budget) for the fiscal year for which support is requested

We strongly recommend using our Excel template to create your statement, which indicates the format level of detail we generally like to see. However, we will accept other formats.

Financial statements refer to statements, often prepared by an accountant and sometimes audited, that reflect a more complete picture of an organization's financial details, including statements of activity, cash flow, balance sheets, and accompanying notes. Not every organization is required to have an audited financial statement, and it is not necessary for you to include one with your application, unless requested by the Fund Administrator.

Applicants to the April 15 deadline will be advised of decisions in or about July of the application year. Applicants to the November 15 deadline will be advised of decisions in or about January of the year following the application year. Please do not contact the Fund for grant decisions.

Recording Program FAQs

Individuals (and ensembles without non-profit status) may not apply directly, but may seek support with the sponsorship of a non-profit organization with 501(c)(3) status. You must submit a letter from the sponsoring organization describing the nature of the arrangement, and undertaking to be responsible for disbursement of funds if a grant is awarded. In addition, you must include the sponsor’s IRS tax-exempt determination letter.

Alternatively, individuals (and ensembles without non-profit status) may request that their record company apply for the project directly. For the Recording Program, record companies may be either non-profit or commercial.

In order to be considered a commercial record company for the Fund's purposes, your company must have a Federal Employee Identification Number (EIN) and a business checking account in your company's name. In addition, you will be responsible for completing annual IRS expenditure responsibility forms if you are awarded a grant.

Individuals or ensembles applying with a fiscal sponsor should create the account using their own contact information, not that of the fiscal sponsor.

Because this program is extremely competitive, the Fund will not accept multiple proposals in the same round from organizations other than recording companies.

As long as the recording has not been released by the time of the application deadline, you are eligible to apply. We understand that some projects may be released before funding decisions are announced.

Only works that are complete by the time of the application deadline are eligible for support.

Yes, but only the music of the living American composers would be eligible for support.

It is not necessary to list the works for which you are not requesting support in the Works to Be Recorded section, nor is it necessary to provide scores or audio samples for these works. Please mention these works briefly in your proposal narrative so that the review panel fully understands the context of the project.

We prefer to see the budget for the entire project, but you may decide to provide us either with the full budget or an abbreviated budget that only covers the works for which you are requesting support. Indicate which of these two options you have chosen in the Notes section of the budget form.

Yes. Recordings that will be distributed primarily or solely digitally, whether by download or streaming, are eligible. For all projects distributed digitally, grantees will be required to post liner notes and credits on an appropriate page of their web site.

Recordings intended purely for archival or study purposes are not supported.

This should be the place where you “make the case” for funding your project. Explain why you have chosen to record the proposed works, the significance of your recording, the quality and appropriateness of the performers and recording personnel, and any other information that would assist the panel in its review.

Award decisions will be announced in or about January of the following year. Please do not contact the Fund for grant decisions.

Technical FAQs

Immediately upon registering on the site, you should receive a confirmation e-mail at the address that you provided. Normally, you should receive a second e-mail approving your registration within two business days, which will contain instructions about how to log into the site. If you don't receive either of these messages, first, check your junk e-mail folder. If the message is not in your junk e-mail box, call us at 973-476-5657 or e-mail the Fund Admistrator at ditson@columbia.edu so that we can assist you further.

For optimal security, it is recommended to choose a password that contains at least six characters. It should include numbers, punctuation, and both upper and lowercase letters. However, passwords with a low security rating will still be accepted. You are responsible for keeping your password secret. You can change your password at any time by going to the "Username & Password" section of "My Account".

Please note that our personnel do not have access to your password. However, we can assist you to change it if necessary.

Click on "My Organization" on the upper-right hand corner of the page, then update your information.

Click on "My Account" on the upper-right hand corner of the page, then click "Username & Password" to update your information.

To access all of your applications, both in progress and completed, click on "My Account" on the upper-right hand corner of the page. Your applications and their statuses will appear on the right hand side of the page.

You can either click the vertical tabs on the left and side, or click the previous and next links at the bottom of the page. It is not necessary to complete the application in any particular order.

No, the text boxes have unlimited capacity. Drag the bottom right hand corner of the text box down to increase the viewable area. However, it is recommended that you make your answers as concise as possible while still making the case for your application.

Fields marked with a red star are required.

iTunes, from Apple, is freely available on Macs and PCs. Here's how to create an mp3 file in iTunes. There are various other ways to create audio excerpts using free or low-cost programs. Here are links to a few. (The Fund does not endorse any of these programs and is providing the links only for ease of reference.)
Snapper
Audacity
Quicktime
Windows Media Player
Sound Forge
Goldwave

All supporting documentation must be submitted in PDF format.

If the original document only exists in hard copy (such as an IRS determination letter), you will need to scan it first, and then create the PDF.

If the document exists as a computer file (such as a Word or Excel file), you can create the PDF directly on the computer (this is preferred to scanning the document).

To create a PDF on a Mac: Click here for instructions.

To create a PDF on Windows: The most reliable method of creating PDFs on Windows is with the commercial software Adobe Acrobat. However, there are various ways to create PDFs on Windows using free or low-cost programs. Here are links to a few. (The Fund does not endorse any of these programs and is providing the links only for ease of reference.)

PDF Creator
CutePDF
pdf995
PrimoPDF
Adobe PDF Online

For certain items, such as financial statements, you may need to combine several PDFs into one combined PDF before uploading it to our site.

To combine PDFs on a Mac: Click here for instructions.

To create a PDF on Windows: The most reliable method of creating PDFs on Windows is with the commercial software Adobe Acrobat. However, there are various ways to combine PDFs on Windows using free or low-cost programs. Here are links to a few. (The Fund does not endorse any of these programs and is providing the links only for ease of reference.)

PDF Split and Merge
MergePDF
PDF Merger
PDFCombine

You can click on the cross to re-order your work samples. Be advised, however, that the panel may elect to listen to one or more of your work samples in a sequence other than the order in which you provide them.

Be sure to update your browser to to the latest version. We support the latest versions of Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, and Chrome. If the problem persists, please contact us.

Please contact us and we will reply. If the question is of sufficient general interest, we will post it to this page, however, you will not be identified.

Digital Millennium Copyright Act ("DMCA") Policy

If you believe that content available by means of this web site infringes one or more of your copyrights, please notify us by means of an emailed notice (“Infringement Notice”) providing the information described below to the email address listed below. If The Alice M. Ditson Fund takes action in response to an Infringement Notice, it will make a good faith attempt to contact the party that made such content available by means of the most recent email address, if any, provided by such party to The Alice M. Ditson Fund. Please be advised that you will be liable for damages (including costs and attorneys’ fees) if you materially misrepresent that a product or activity is infringing your copyrights. Thus, if you are not sure content located on or linked-to by this web site infringes your copyright, you should consider first contacting an attorney.

All Infringement Notices need to include the following:

  • An electronic signature of the copyright owner or a person authorized to act on their behalf;
  • An identification of the copyright claimed to have been infringed;
  • A description of the nature and location of the content that you claim to infringe your copyright, in sufficient detail to permit The Alice M. Ditson Fund to find and positively identify that content;
  • Your name, address, telephone number and email address; and
  • A statement by you: (a) that you believe in good faith that the use of the content that you claim to infringe your copyright is not authorized by law, or by the copyright owner or such owner’s agent; and (b) under penalty of perjury, that all of the information contained in your Infringement Notice is accurate, and that you are either the copyright owner or a person authorized to act on their behalf.

Infringement Notices should be sent to ditson@columbia.edu