Creative expression is the hallmark of a truly civil society. That’s why the John William Pope Foundation supports North Carolina’s vibrant arts community. A free and prosperous nation has the resources to pour into the arts, to preserve a national heritage and legacy for future generations. What begins in the arts often filters down into popular culture, impacting everyone. As a result, every citizen should be concerned about bettering the arts.

A key motivating factor behind the Pope Foundation’s support for the creative sphere is honoring donor intent. A concept that has fallen by the wayside in contemporary philanthropy, the principle of donor intent ensures that a foundation’s resources are allocated in a manner that the original wealth creators would have supported. Too frequently, donor intent is disregarded as succeeding trustees and staff, whether intentionally or not, devote resources to causes that the original founders would have found abhorrent.

Foundation namesake John William Pope and his wife Joyce W. Pope firmly believed in the importance of supporting the arts and creative expression in the Tar Heel state. In keeping with its belief in free-market causes, the Foundation also believes that private resources, not the government, should be the primary conduit for funding creativity.


Four key principles guide the Foundation in our funding of the arts:

  • Art eventually defines and reflects culture. Because we value a free and civil society, we want art to reflect a free and civil society.
  • Supporting the arts in our local community is essential to growing and fostering that community.
  • Respecting donor intent is central to the Foundation’s support for the arts.
  • State, local, and federal governments allocate over $1 billion annually to the arts. The Foundation believes that private, not public, entities should be the principal method for funding creative expression.

The organizations that receive grants from the Pope Foundation in the arts area must reflect these core values.

How to Apply

Click here for information on the application process.