The Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts provides AMI/USA members with the opportunity to expand on arts related activities in their Montessori environments.

Grant awards may be used to purchase art materials, art history materials, musical instruments, songbooks, costumes and set decorations. Grants may also be used to attend professional development workshops. Requests for amounts from $100 to $400 will be considered. Funding for these grants is made possible by the generous support of AMI/USA members and friends.


The logo for this fund was created by Amiri Farris, a multimedia artist, along with other illustrations for one of Sanford’s songbooks for children. It encompasses Sanford’s philosophy about life – nature, peace and music!


Scroll down for the 2024-25 Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts application!

Table of Contents

History of the Fund

Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts was established in 2021 in memory of Sanford Jones, beloved friend of the Montessori community and an unparalleled force of creativity, humanitarianism and resiliency. A native of Virginia, Sanford studied music and history at Westminster Choir College, Rutgers University and Roanoke College. A piano student of Frances Clark and member of Westminster Choir under John Finley Williamson, he taught at Westminster Choir College and The New School for Music Study in Princeton, New Jersey. Sanford composed many songbooks for children and also has created a line of educational materials used in Montessori classrooms internationally. His repertoire of thirteen children’s operas has been performed over 500 times.

Internationally known as a Montessori educator, lecturer and composer, Sanford Jones made significant contributions to the Montessori movement, including the founding and directing of four schools on the East Coast. Sanford was the founding president of the North American Montessori Teachers’ Association (NAMTA) and former Executive Director of the Association Montessori International of the United States (AMI/USA). He was presented with a Wisdom of the Elders Award in 2012 from the Montessori Accreditation Council for Teacher Education (MACTE) in recognition of a lifetime of dedicated service to Montessori education.

Program Criteria

Grants are awarded via a merit‐based review process based upon the criteria below. Projects integrating culturally relevant art education strategies, contemporary art and/or artists from diverse cultures, and those artistic endeavors that serve as a process for students to connect content through their own cultural and social identities are strongly encouraged.

  • Artistic, Cultural and/or Programmatic Merit
  • Learning Outcomes and Evaluation
  • Student Benefit and Accessibility
  • Managerial and Fiscal Competence
  • Grants range from $100 to $400

Applicant Requirements

Applicant must hold a current AMI/USA Membership. AMI/USA membership ($99/year) is required for all applicants even if they are not AMI trained and can be purchased along with the grant application. AMI/USA is a country affiliate of the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) that focuses on supporting the needs of schools and members in the United States.

Click here for more information about the benefits of AMI/USA Membership!

AMI/USA staff and board members, and their relatives, are ineligible to apply for this grant.

Eligible Project Expenses

  • Art materials
  • Art history materials
  • Musical instruments
  • Songbooks
  • Costumes
  • Set decorations
  • Professional development workshops

Ineligible Project Expenses

  • Artist fees
  • Fellowships and/or scholarships
  • Project income exceeding project expense (income more than $400)
  • Subsidizes entertainment costs (e.g. theater parties, gallery/museum openings, receptions)
  • Supports fundraising activities

Additional Documentation

To be submitted with application:

  • CV or Resume;
  • Letter of Support;
  • Personal Essay, and;
  • Project Description including budget realistically reflecting the costs of executing the projects or lessons.

Grant Timeline

  • Application Opens: February 17, 2024
  • Application Closes: December 31, 2024
  • Applicants notified within 6 weeks of application
  • 100% of funding received upon execution of agreement
  • Final Reports Due: Friday, June 13, 2025

Award Information

Grant Amounts, Cost Share, and Matching Funds

Grants range from $100 to $400.

In developing an application, we urge all applicants to request a realistic grant amount.

Applicants whose grants are recommended for less than the amount requested will have the opportunity to revise the project budget to reflect any necessary changes to the project, based on the recommended funding amount. We reserve the right to limit support of a project to a particular portion or cost.

Period of Performance

Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts support of a project can start no sooner than the “Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project”. Grants awarded under these guidelines generally may cover a period of performance of up to one year. The one-year period is intended to allow an applicant time to plan, execute, and close out its project.

Any planning costs that are included as part of the project must be incurred during the established period of performance. No pre-award costs are allowable in the Project Budget.

Project costs that are incurred before the “Earliest Start Date for Proposed Project” will be removed from the Project Budget.

A grantee may not receive more than one Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts grant for the same activities during the same period of performance.

Award Administration

We expect to announce grant decisions within six weeks from the date of your application. Note that the announcement is likely to take the form of a preliminary congratulatory message, request for project or budget revisions, or rejection notification.

The official grant award notification,  a notice of action authorized by the AMI/USA Finance Department Management for Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts, is the only legal and valid confirmation of award. Receipt of your official award notification can take several weeks depending on a number of factors such as reviewing changes to the project budget, the number of awards to be processed, and other AMI/USA business.

Changes in Projects

Applicants must notify AMI/USA immediately of any significant changes in their project that occur after they have submitted their application. If the project or teacher capacity changes significantly before an award is made, the Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts may revise or withdraw the funding recommendation.

Grantees are expected to carry out a project that is consistent with the proposal that was approved for funding by AMI/USA. If changes in the project are required, the grantee must submit a request with justification for the changes to be reviewed by the AMI/USA office. Approval of changes is not guaranteed.

Project Reporting and Evaluation

We ask all applicants to define what they would like to achieve, how they will evaluate the degree to which it is achieved, and upon completion of the project what they have learned from their experiences. Such feedback need not entail large-scale or expensive evaluation efforts. You should do what is feasible and appropriate for your project. When a grant is completed, you must submit a final report detailing your accomplishments, who benefited and the resulting impact of your project as well as list the involvement of key partners and funders.

Beyond the reporting requirements for all grantees, select Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts grantees will be asked to assist in the collection of additional information that can help AMI/USA determine the degree to which objectives were achieved. It may be requested that you provide evidence of project accomplishments including, but not limited to, work samples, community action plans, cultural asset studies, programs, reviews, relevant news clippings, and playbills.

Code of Ethics

AMI and AMI/USA are organizations whose regulation of conduct is limited to pedagogical matters. All those connected with AMI and AMI/USA are expected to conduct themselves lawfully and in a manner that both exemplify and supports the propagation and furtherance of the ideas and principles of Dr. Maria Montessori for the full development of the human being.

Award Recipients

Marshall Crenshaw, 2022-23 Recipient

A Song for All the Nations – an outdoor musical performance by the elementary students of Community Montessori School that seeks to employ authentic global folk music and movement.

“It was an honor to receive the Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts award. The performance I created, A Song for all Nations, brought together over 80 elementary students from Community Montessori School. They learned authentic global folk music and learned to play a variety of musical instruments. Working on the performance further promoted their interest and knowledge in diverse cultures and peace education.”

Click here to view the video!

Katherine Russell, 2022-23 Recipient

A sewing kit for every student in my class with needles, hoops, fabrics, colored yarn, beads, shells, bells, sequins, tiny decor, pin cushion, and fabrics for their age and ability.

“Good friendships developed through sewing together. Children were not just proud of their work but that they had helped others complete theirs. We could not have had this successful project without the Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts award. Thank you so much for funding our sewing art projects.”

Katherine Russell, 2023-24 Recipient

The goal for the music class is a greater level of engagement and for everyone to be playing music, to build more skills independently and in small groups, to follow their interests, and to collaborate with each other more fully while deepening skills, experimenting with something new, and sharing music and skills with others.

“Overall, this grant strengthened the culture of music at our school, both as a collaborative venture and as a thing that some students like to do solo during some breaks when they’re overwhelmed with the social and want a quick break before the rest of the day. This was a wonderful opportunity and I’m so glad I found out about it.”

Application Process

  • Complete the application form below
  • Upload your CV or Resume, Letter of Support, and Personal Essay
  • Include Project Description with:
    • Date and Location of Project
    • Program Goals/Outcomes
    • Budget

Following review of the completed application, AMI/USA will finalize the status of each request and complete the process with the issuance of the grant funds. Please contact AMI/USA if you have any questions about submitting this application.

We appreciate your interest in the Sanford Jones Fund for the Arts!