Arcana Foundation, Inc.


Serving Small and Emerging Nonprofits

About the Foundation

Arcana is a private Foundation founded in October 1986 — intended as a vehicle to give back to a city. The identification of specific matters such as cultural, educational and human services are specific examples of how a little more financial attention and fiscal management could transcend situations to a better position. Arcana Foundation has been around to fund a variety of organizations that tend to these localized needs in the District of Columbia.

From inception, Arcana has given small and large grants to a broad range of large organizations. Institutions for higher education, smaller localized halfway houses and everything in between have been considered worthy of grants. The management and effectiveness of these organizations are always considered…making sure the intention is always accomplished.

The disparity of living conditions will always be part of society; however, if the early causes are identified, Arcana, along with other foundations, could nurture this city to closing this gap, and mending the social fabric.

New organizations start small, with a specific emerging purpose. There is a need, a solution and the expansion of a successful outcome.  

Established organizations that have matured to more sophisticated methods, have acquired corporate funders, with ongoing mass solicitations and perhaps federal/state funding would least be impacted by a Foundation dollar.  

These organizations, set in their ways and substantially funded are not in the scope of the Arcana mission. Our mission is to identify small organizations with the vision of assessing situational needs and finding logical solutions. These organizations may not have the acumen of funding their envisioned needs, but could perhaps be spring boarded into a successful operation with the push of a believing foundation. 



Need a grant?

Our grants are by invitation. If you have been invited to submit a proposal, the first step is to confirm eligibility. Take our quick quiz now.

Eligibility Quiz

Form 990

We invite you to review our finances.

Request our Form 990 ▸




Board of Directors

Arcana is governed by its Board of Directors, individuals with an interest in and passion for Arcana's mission.  The Board provides advice and oversight to address the changing social service needs within the District.

Executive Director

Paula Hansen

Since November of 1993, Paula Hansen has worked with Arcana in some capacity.  Starting off on the financial side, she became familiar with grantees, initiatives and the workings of the foundation while preparing reports for compliance.  She gradually stepped into the position of Executive Director in 2007.  She believes in engaging with grantees and finding creative ways to strengthen their stance for the people they serve.

Paula Hansen holds a bachelor degree in Marketing and Accounting from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.