The Vilcek Foundation headquarters in New York City

Our Mission

The Vilcek Foundation raises awareness of immigrant contributions in the United States and fosters appreciation of the arts and sciences.


What We Do

The arts and sciences need diversity to thrive. Diversity sparks dialogue. Diversity propels innovation. Diversity refines ideas. Immigrants from around the world bring the diverse perspectives that are crucial to strengthening America’s cultural and scientific community. At the Vilcek Foundation, we honor these essential contributions by recognizing the accomplishments of immigrants and advocates for immigrants in the arts and sciences.

We are committed to inclusive exchange. Through our prizes, we reward immigrant artists and scientists at every stage of their careers. Our grants support the programs and initiatives of other organizations that complement our mission. Whether displayed in an exhibition in our gallery space, sent on tour in a traveling exhibit, or loaned to another organization, our art collection connects the foundation with cultural institutions around the world, facilitating academic and artistic dialogue.

The arts and sciences are creative endeavors, constantly evolving and influencing our society. We are passionate about celebrating immigrant artists and scientists. Their work contributes to the advancement of culture for all of us.


Who We Are

The foundation was established in 2000 by Jan and Marica Vilcek, immigrants from the former Czechoslovakia. Our mission was inspired by Jan and Marica’s respective careers in biomedical science and art history, as well as their personal experiences and appreciation for the opportunities offered to them as newcomers to the United States. Since then, the foundation has awarded over $6.4 million in prizes to foreign-born individuals and supported organizations with over $5.8 million in grants.

The Vilcek Foundation is a private operating foundation, a tax-exempt nonprofit organization under IRS Section 501(c)(3).

The Vilcek Foundation is based in New York City, which is located on the ancestral land of the Lenape people, known as Lenapehoking. The Lenape are a diasporic people that remain closely connected with this land. We support Native American sovereignty. Awareness of historical and contemporary Indigenous exclusion and erasure and the associated traumas is critically important, and we are working to overcome the effects of Indigenous exclusion in our operations and programs.