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Funding Opportunities

Making Big Things Happen

Do you have a project or idea that will advance the performing arts?

Does your chamber ensemble want to go pro?

Do you want to organize a dance festival or bring new plays to the stage?

Maybe you have an idea for a killer smartphone app that will enhance the audience experience?

Whatever your dream, the EXCEL program can help put your ideas into action. We provide $100,000 in funding support annually for current U-M students through three different funding pools.

Retired Ambassador Ronald N. Weiser (BBA ’66) and Eileen Weiser (MMus’75) have designated a $1 million gift which will establish the Meta Weiser EXCEL fund in honor of Ron Weiser’s mother. The Meta Weiser EXCEL Fund will support EXCEL’s extensive programming, including workshops, guest residencies, and the distribution of $100,000 in project, venture, and internship funding annually.

The EXCEL Enterprise Fund is a new funding resource for SMTD students. It offers micro grants of up to $1,000 for students to support individual or team projects that have significant professional development and community impact. In exceptional cases proposals may be awarded up to $1,500.

The Performing Arts EXCELerator is an entrepreneurial fellowship program open to all U-M students with early-stage performing arts ventures as individuals or teams. There is no limit on team size, however we recommend 2 to 4 members, and encourage interdisciplinary projects involving two or more U-M departments. Fellows are chosen by application and receive mentoring and support, will have access to up to $1,000 seed money for their projects during Winter 2018. Each team will also have the chance to pitch for up to $4,000 in additional seed money. Additionally, teams will be featured on the SMTD EXCEL website and will be considered for additional external engagements with EXCEL partners.

EXCEL’s partnership with National Sawdust will enable SMTD students the opportunity to perform, workshop, or be in residence at the Brooklyn-based venue. Students interested in the National Sawdust partnership should apply through the Performing Arts EXCELerator.


The School of Music, Theatre & Dance EXCELprize recognizes extraordinary excellence in performing arts entrepreneurship, leadership and social impact. It is awarded at the annual EXCELebration in April to a University of Michigan student or student team that has established a standout performing arts venture. Beyond the cash prize of $10,000, the awardee will receive mentorship by EXCEL staff.


The EXCEL Internship Fund provides students grant awards up to $1,000 to cover living and travel expenses related to a summer internship. In special cases, students may receive awards above $1,000.

Priority Deadline: March 23, 2018; notification date: April 6. Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until funding is exhausted.

Note: EXCEL cannot guarantee space availability in U-M facilities, and any project funded by EXCEL must request space usage according to SMTD scheduling guidelines. All requests from funded projects for SMTD instrument usage must be approved by respective faculty supervisors.