1880 Century Park East
Los Angeles, CA
90067 US

The Skylark Foundation is committed to encouraging innovation, striving for social justice, and supporting diversity. We award grants to organizations or projects that translate these values into strategically designed and executed activities.

Learn About Skylark Founder Blake Byrne

The Skylark Foundation, a private family foundation, was founded in 1995 by Blake Byrne upon his retirement from the broadcast industry.  Byrne’s passion for philanthropy is equaled by his passion for contemporary art, which has resulted in major gifts of art to public and private institutions.

John Sonsini

John Sonsini
Blake, 2005
Oil on canvas, 72 x 60
Collection of Blake Byrne


The Skylark Foundation was founded in 1995 by Blake Byrne. The foundation board members are Mr. Byrne and his two children, John Byrne and Jocelyn Byrne. The focus of the foundation is to serve the communities where the family members live: Los Angeles, California; Santa Fe, New Mexico; and Charlotte, North Carolina.

Barbara Schwan is the Executive Director of The Skylark Foundation. She has overseen the foundation since 2001. From 2013 – 2016, she organized the exhibition Open This End: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Blake Byrne for the foundation, which traveled to four universities and colleges between 2015 and 2016. She is also the curator and registrar for the Blake Byrne Collection.

Organizations we have supported include:

Los Angeles, California
Gay & Lesbian Elder Housing (GLEH)
Joshua Tree Highlands Artist Residency (JTHAR)
City At Peace, Los Angeles
Healthcare and Elder Law Programs (H.E.L.P)
Jeff Griffith Center, Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center
Justice by Uniting in Creative Energy (J.U.i.C.E)
The Trevor Project

New Mexico
International Land Sensitive Art Foundation (iLSAF)
Environment New Mexico
The Quivira Coalition
Warehouse 21
Santa Fe Watershed Association
The Wildlife Center

Charlotte, North Carolina
Carolina Children’s Home
Loaves & Fishes Food Pantry
Crisis Assistance Ministry
Jacob’s Ladder
Regional AIDS Interfaith Network
Freedom School Partners
YWCA of the Central Carolinas Transitional Housing Programs

From 2013 – 2016, The Skylark Foundation focused on one major project: Open This End, a two-year traveling exhibition of contemporary art composed of selected works from the Blake Byrne Collection. It included gifts of art from the collection that have been donated to the Museum of Contemporary Art Los Angeles and The Nasher Museum at Duke University, as well as works from the current collection.


The Skylark Foundation focuses primarily on organizations located in Los Angeles, North Carolina, and Northern New Mexico. We normally support about 10 organizations each year with grants ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.  Proposals from the following areas are considered:

Los Angeles, California
Services for the elderly, services for LGBTQIA youth and artist in residence programs.

New Mexico
Funding based on ongoing dialogue and dynamic response to the evolving challenges facing communities and ecologies in need.

Charlotte, North Carolina
Services for people in crisis-–with a strong emphasis on education.

To be eligible for funding, an applicant must be tax-exempt for federal law purposes, and operated and organized so that it does not discriminate in the hiring of staff or the provision of services on the basis of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, national origin or disability.

The Skylark Foundation does not make grants for:

Individual Scholarships
Operating Fund Drives
Debt Reduction
Political Events
Capital Building Campaigns

Application Process

Step One: Initial Request

Prospective applicants should submit a proposal summary that briefly describes the project seeking funding.  Please include background information about your organization, the nature of the project, a cost estimate for the project in general, the amount you anticipate requesting from The Skylark Foundation, and the primary contact person.  In addition, please list the grants received from other foundations that support this project, as well as other foundations from which you are seeking support.

Step Two: Interview

Applicants whose proposal summaries qualify for consideration will be contacted for a phone interview followed by an on-site visit when possible.

Step Three: Full Proposal (if requested)

Following the interview, applicants that remain qualified for consideration will be asked to submit a full grant proposal. Grant proposals should include the following:

  • A brief mission statement
  • Background information including the organization’s objectives, programs and accomplishments to date
  • The purpose for which this grant is requested
  • Expected results or outcomes of this project
  • Strategy for measuring project results
  • An estimate of the total budget for this project, and the amount requested from The Skylark Foundation
  • A list of other sources and amounts of funding on this project
  • A list of directors and officers of the organization
  • A list of individuals responsible for this project
  • A current financial statement showing annual income and expenses for the organization, and a current balance sheet
  • A copy of the organization’s tax exemption letter from the IRS

2019 Deadlines

For consideration in 2019, initial requests should be received by August 31, 2019. If a full proposal is requested, you will be notified in ample time to submit a full proposal by November 1, 2019.  Grants will be awarded and distributed at the end of December, 2019.



1880 Century Park East, Suite 1404 t: (310) 271-9700
 Los Angeles, CA 90067 e: Email Us



Open This End Exhibition

Open This End:
Contemporary Art from the Collection of Blake Byrne 

Joseph R. Wolin, Curator

Organized and Sponsored by The Skylark Foundation

Open this End, 1968
Andy Warhol
Collection of Blake Byrne


Exhibition Tour:
Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University
Durham, North Carolina
February 19 – July 12, 2015

Ohio State University Urban Arts Space
Columbus, Ohio
August 25 – November 7, 2015

Miriam and Ira D. Wallach Art Gallery, Columbia University
New York, New York
January 20 – March 12, 2016

Ronna and Eric Hoffman Gallery of Contemporary Art, Lewis & Clark College
Portland, Oregon
September 8 – December 11, 2016


Exhibition Overview
An exhibition of both iconic and lesser-known works from thirty-eight of the most significant and compelling artists of the last fifty years, Open this End: Contemporary Art from the Collection of Blake Byrne traces a number of intertwined narratives in the history of recent art, from the 1960s to the present. The exhibition’s title comes from a 1962 painting by Andy Warhol, the earliest work in the show, and frames the exhibition as a present to be unpacked, a surprise that audiences will delight in discovering.

The exhibition has been curated by Joseph R. Wolin, a curator, professor and writer based in New York.

A catalogue was created in collaboration with scholars from the participating schools. We’re proud to be working with Duke University, The Ohio State University, Columbia University and Lewis & Clark College.

It is our hope is that this project will inspire others to share their art collections for educational purposes and start an ongoing dialogue about art collecting, philanthropy and ethics.