Merola Career Grants

Since 1999, the Merola Opera Program has awarded grants to alumni of the Merola Opera Program. Grants are awarded by the Merola Board, based on the recommendations of the Merola Career Grants Committee, chaired by the Chairman of the Merola Board, or his/her designee, and composed of the Merola Executive Director and President (both ex officio, nonvoting) plus an even number of Merola Board members (chosen by the Chairman of the Career Grants Committee), as well as the San Francisco Opera Center General Manager and Artistic Director (both ex officio nonvoting) for artistic input.

The purpose of these grants is to assist in furthering the careers of young opera artists.  Grants are not intended to fully fund requests however worthy they may be.

Any expenditure that will further an applicant's opera career will be considered, e.g., voice lessons, language study, coaching, audition and/or competition travel, performance clothing, musical scores, and role preparation.

Funds will not be granted for activities which have already been started or completed and will only be granted for activities occurring within four months of the published application deadline date. 

Application Procedure

The Merola Career Grants Committee meets quarterly and recommends grants to the Merola Opera Program Executive Committee for approval.

  1. Before being considered, artists must complete the application, indicate the specific need(s) for which the funds are being requested, the time period during which the grant will be used, and include a proposed budget with specific known costs (in U.S. dollars).
  2. Application  deadlines are September 1, December 1,  March 1, and June 1 for projects that take place within four months following the application deadline date.
  3. Grant Applications must be SUBMITTED via Submittable by the deadline date.

Grants are typically made for one quarter at a time. The Committee may, in its discretion, act outside the quarterly time frame to consider unexpected opportunities, such as immediate travel to an audition or competition, for which the artist could not have planned. (Please see Merola Emergency Career Grant Application.) The Career Grants Committee may recommend such urgent requests to the Executive Committee for immediate funding.

Merola will inform the applicants of the decision approximately one month after the application deadline date. If recipients wish they may send thank you letters to the Merola Opera Program Board of Directors as well as The Bernard Osher Foundation. We encourage recipients of a Career Grant to write thank you letters to Mr. Bernard Osher, at the Bernard Osher Endowment Fund, Merola Opera Program. A greater portion of Merola Career Grants funding comes from this endowment fund.

If the funds granted cannot be used toward expenses for which the grant was requested and made, or if there are unused funds, in order to maintain eligibility for future grants, the recipient must either return the unused funds or get approval from Merola before using the grant for any other expenses. Otherwise a future career grant application may automatically be rejected for two quarterly cycles.

In January of every year, a form 1099-MISC will be sent to all recipients who have been awarded career grants which exceed the payment threshold for that particular year, currently $600.

Usage Report Requirements

All recipients are required to complete a Merola Career Grant Usage Report, which is sent as a link through Submittable in a separate email. Within four months after the application deadline date of the career grant application or prior to any subsequent grant requests the Usage Report is due. This report must include a short statement, and a comparison between the expenses in the budget submitted with the application and the expenses actually incurred during the grant period. Please include detail and totals for all items that were listed in the budget and for all expense items actually incurred. Copies of receipts for expenses are required to be attached to the Usage Report.

If a Usage Report is not submitted within four months after the career grant application deadline date or if it shows that funds were used for purposes other than those requested, and approval by Merola was neither sought nor given, a Career Grant request may not be considered from that applicant for another two quarterly grant cycles.

Application Procedure

Artists may apply for Emergency Career Grants if they are made aware of important career-building opportunities, but timing makes it impossible to apply and qualify within normal deadlines. If the applicant has received funds from a previous Merola grant within three months of an Emergency Career Grant application, a Usage Report must be submitted regarding the use of those funds up until the date of the Emergency Career Grant request.

Before being considered, artists must complete the Emergency Grant application, indicate the specific need(s) for which the funds are being requested, the time period during which the grant will be used, and include a proposed budget with specific known costs (in U.S. dollars).  

The Committee may, in its discretion, consider unexpected opportunities, such as immediate travel to an audition or competition, for which the artist was not able to have planned. The Career Grants Committee may recommend such urgent requests to the Executive Committee for immediate funding.

 If the funds granted cannot be used toward expenses for which the grant was requested and used, or if there are unused funds, in order to maintain eligibility for future grants, the recipient must either return the unused funds or get approval from Merola before using the grant funds for any other expenses.

 In January of every year, a 1099-MISC will be sent to all recipients who have been awarded career grants which exceed the payment threshold for that particular year, currently $600.


Usage Reports Requirement

All recipients are required to complete the Merola Emergency Career Grant Usage Report, which is sent as a link through Submittable in a separate email. Within four months after the date of the career grant application and prior to any subsequent grant requests the Usage Report is due. This report must include a short statement, and a comparison between the expenses in the budget submitted with the application and the expenses actually incurred during the grant period. Please include totals of each expense listed in the application as well as actual expenses. Copies of receipts for expenses are required to be attached to the Usage Report. 

If a Usage Report is not submitted within four months after the career grant application date or if it shows that funds were used for purposes other than those requested, and approval by Merola was neither sought nor given, a Career Grant request will not be considered from that applicant for two or more grant cycles.

Applications must be accompanied by documentation from an outside source which shows that the requests are, indeed, emergencies. (A good example would be written acceptance during the middle of a quarter from competition or audition representatives requiring that the applicant pay for fees, travel, etc. to the competition or audition before the next Merola Career Grant cycle.) 

Merola Opera Program