Open for applications through September 1, 2024!

Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund Grants

Through the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund, the DeKalb County Community Foundation supports music education through grantmaking to nonprofit and public sector organizations throughout the greater Chicagoland area, prioritizing DeKalb County projects. The Fund's Board of Advisors approve grants in response to applications submitted to them during two grant application cycles. Funding is made possible through a Community Foundation Field of Interest Fund established by the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation.

Applying for a Wurlitzer Foundation Fund Grant

  • All applicants should review the Wurlitzer Foundation Fund Grant guidelines prior to applying.
  • Applications are due by 11:59 p.m. on March 1 or September 1.
  • Applications are accepted online for two months immediately prior to the March 1 and September 1 deadlines.

For questions or more information, please contact Arts & Culture Consultant George Buck at

Apply for a Wurlitzer Foundation Fund Grant >

Nondiscrimination Policy - Grantmaking

No person in the United States shall, on the basis of actual or perceived race, creed, color, ethnicity, national origin, religion, sex and gender identity, sexual orientation, gender expression, age, physical or mental ability, pregnancy, veteran status, military obligations, marital or parental status, political affiliation, or any other improper criterion be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds made available by the Community Foundation, and any other program or activity funded in whole or in part with funds appropriated for grants, cooperative agreements, and other assistance administered by the Community Foundation.

Grants Awarded

Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation History

The slogan for The Wurlitzer Company at one time was….’the name that means Music to millions’. The company began in the United States in 1856 and was primarily known for its production of premier pianos and organs – both pipe and electric. At one time Wurlitzer was the largest musical instrument company in the U.S. Perhaps you have a Wurlitzer piano in your home?

The company owned retail music stores in most major cities from the 1930’s through the 1980’s, with primary manufacturing locations in DeKalb, IL; North Tonawanda, NY; Cincinnati, OH; and West Germany. Although the company went out of business in the mid-1980’s, the Wurlitzer name has endured – currently owned by the Gibson Guitar Company.

The Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation was established in the 1940’s by Farny and his wife Grace. Farny, who died in the early 1970’s, was the last family member involved with the company. The Foundation began with a mission and focus of providing financial assistance to further music education and performance. The majority of its grantees were in the mid-west, but some support went to other parts of the U.S.

Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund Board of Advisors: Charles McCormick, George Buck (Chair), Deborah Booth, Ken Olson

In 2011 the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Board of Directors began exploring ways to maintain the Foundation’s existence in perpetuity. This led to dialogue with the DeKalb County Community Foundation and the perfect solution. Near the end of 2012, the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation converted its operations to become a Donor Advised Fund within the Community Foundation. The Fund was converted into a Field of Interest Fund in 2021. Private foundations often find many administrative benefits operating under the structure of a Community Foundation, while continuing to enjoy its grantmaking role in the community.

The Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund’s creation constituted a 15% increase in the Community Foundation’s total assets and will add about 25% to its annual grant and fund distribution total. Since Charlie and Mary Roberts began the DeKalb County Community Foundation in 1993, this is the single largest gift in the Foundation’s history. Another unique element of this partnership is that the board of directors of the Wurlitzer Foundation requested that their assets remain invested with the First Midwest Bank (Old National Bank) in Sycamore. The Community Foundation Board honored that request, allowing for a locally invested pool of assets for the Community Foundation that can grow with on-going contributions.

The Community Foundation is honored to keep the Wurlitzer name alive in DeKalb County by working with the Wurlitzer Board of Advisors to continue to ‘mean music to millions’ through its grant support of projects that are consistent with its original mission.

If you would like to support creative arts in your community, or wish to discuss establishing a Fund of your own, please contact Executive Director Dan Templin at or 815-748-5383.

Donate to the Farny R. Wurlitzer Foundation Fund >