The Shubert Foundation Spreads Support Far & Wide Across the Theater World

Anyone with a passing interest in theater knows the Shubert name. At the turn of the 20th century, the Shubert brothers entered the theater business in New York and grew it into a veritable empire, eventually creating The Shubert Organization and its philanthropic outgrowth The Shubert Foundation (See Shubert Foundation: Grants for Theater). The Shubert Foundation is now one of the leading grantmakers to the theater arts in the country (and to a lesser degree, dance). The foundation issues grants totaling over $20 million to hundreds of theaters and production companies across the U.S. annually

The Shubert Foundation was founded with the goal of "sustaining and advancing the live performing arts in the United States, with a particular emphasis on theatre and a secondary focus on dance." Under the leadership of the board's Chairman Philip J. Smith and President Michael I. Sovern, the Foundation's gifts have increased substantially in just the last ten years, from around $14 million in 2003 to over $20 million in 2012.

The Shubert Foundation's principal goal is to support nonprofit, professional theater and dance companies in the U.S. (Read executive director Vicki Reiss' IP profile). The grants are unrestricted and can be used for any operational support costs the grantees determine, but it does require that all applicants are 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organizations and prefer organizations with an annual budget of at least $150,000 (those with less are asked to contact the foundation before applying).

The bulk of the foundation's grants go to not-for-profit, professional resident theaters, but it does give some support to dance and a few related arts and education programs. The lion's share of course goes to theater and the number of organizations that received support in 2012 was around 300 or so, with gifts ranging from the hundreds of thousands, like the $300,000 gift to Lincoln Center in NY and also to Chicago's Goodman Theater, to the tens of thousands. No gift, however, was below $10,000, with most of them hovering somewhere in the mid to low five figures.

The competition for funds from The Shubert Foundation can be rigorous, but its coffers allow funding for an array of projects and organizations. Check out the grant application process and see if your organization might be eligible for some of The Shubert Foundation's generous support.