How the Parsons Foundation Supports Los Angeles Theaters

The Los Angeles-based Ralph M. Parsons Foundation believes that museums and arts programs are just as important to our collective well-being as after school services, community clinics and food banks. So it really should come as no surpirse that the foundation continues to give Los Angeles theater a boost. 

Last year, the Parsons Foundation awarded a two-year $150,000 grant to A Noise Within, a Los Angeles company that plans to perform Tartuffe, Macbeth, and Come back Little Sheba in its 2013-2014 season. According to the theater group, “A Noise Within's mission is to produce world-class performances of the great works of drama in rotating repertory with a resident company, to educate and inspire the public through programs that foster an understanding and appreciation of history's great plays and playwrights, and to train the next generation of classical theatre artists.”

Parsons has supported a number of theater groups over the past decade, but A Noise Within has gotten the most support -- landing grants in 1998, 2000, 2003, 2004, 2006, 2011, and 2013. A few of these grants went for general operating support and a few to other things. The largest was a $500,000 grant in 2011 to complete a capital campaign. (Read Ralph M. Parsons: Los Angeles Grants).

The small staff at the Parsons Foundation makes grant decisions collectively, and all the program officers there are generalists. The foundation's president, Wendy Garen, plays a very hands-on role in the grantmaking, reading every proposal that comes in the door. 

A Noise Within has been around since 1991, when the group staged a relevant and accessible production of Hamlet when very little classical theater was being performed in Los Angeles. Over the past couple decades, the theater has achieved reliable connections with local philanthropies to produce the fund the type of quality performances that are demanded. In addition to Parson's $75,000 grant, The Rose Hills Foundation and the S. Mark Taper Foundation each kicked in $50,000 for the 2013-2014 season.