About Us

About The Foundation

In 1925, Senator Simon Guggenheim and his wife, Olga, established the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation in memory of their late son, a promising young scholar who died at the age of 17. In his first letter of gift, Senator Guggenheim wrote that the organization’s aim was to “add to the educational, literary, artistic, and scientific power of this country.” The Guggenheim Foundation offers fellowships to exceptional individuals in pursuit of scholarship in any field of knowledge and creation of any artform, under the freest possible conditions and irrespective of race, color, or creed.

About The Fellowship

Guggenheim Fellowships are intended for mid-career individuals who have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts and exhibit great promise for their future endeavors. 

Fellowships are awarded through an annual competition open to citizens and permanent residents of the United States and Canada. Candidates must apply to the Guggenheim Foundation in order to be considered.

The Foundation receives approximately 3,000 applications each year. No one who applies is guaranteed success in the competition and there is no prescreening; all applications are reviewed. Approximately 175 Fellowships are awarded each year.

During the rigorous selection process, applicants will first be pooled with others working in the same field, and examined by experts in that field. The work of artists will be reviewed by artists, that of scientists by scientists, that of historians by historians, and so on. The Foundation has a network of several hundred advisers, who either meet at the Foundation offices to look at applicants’ work, or receive application materials to read offsite. These advisers, all of whom are Guggenheim Fellows from previous years, then submit reports critiquing and ranking the applications in their respective fields. Their recommendations are then forwarded to and weighed by a Committee of Selection, which then determines the number of awards to be made in each area. Occasionally, no application in a given area is considered strong enough to merit a Fellowship.

We guarantee our advisers and Committee of Selection members, as well as those who submit letters of reference, absolute confidentiality. Therefore, under no circumstances will the reasons for the rejection of an application be provided.

The Committee of Selection then forwards its recommendations to the Board of Trustees for final approval. The successful candidates in the United States and Canada competition are announced in early April.

Photo Credit:

Andrew Seaman