Shubert Foundation: Grants for Theater

OVERVIEW:  The Shubert Foundation is the nation's largest foundation providing unrestricted grants specifically to theater and dance communities. It grants over $25 million each year to around 500 different non-profit organizations, making Shubert one of the largest performing arts funders in the country. The majority of this funding overwhelmingly supports theater.

IP TAKE: Unlike some of its peers, Shubert gives unrestricted grants for general operational support rather than for specific projects, which can be quite a boon to grant seekers’ overall bottom line. Note, that it prioritizes organizations with established track records of at least three successful seasons. However, if an organization is younger than that, it is still a good idea to contact Shubert, as it welcomes inquiries.

PROFILE: Founded in 1945, the Shubert Foundation was created by Lee and J.J. Schubert to honor the memory of their brother, Sam. Its affiliate, the Shubert Organization, owns and operates 21 theatres, including 17 on Broadway. The foundation seeks to support “the live performing arts in the United States, with a particular emphasis on theatre and a secondary focus on dance.” Shubert’s support for theater comes from its Theater Grants program.

The Shubert Foundation does not make grants to individuals and only supports US organizations, which must have current 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status. Additionally, supported organizations must have a proven history of artistic, administrative, and fiscal responsibility. The foundation invites calls from grant seekers whose history is relatively short in order to discuss their situation in more detail before applying. And for grant seekers who do not make the cut, it provides other funding resources. Grant seekers can access lists of past grantees here.

Although Shubert's grants provide unrestricted funds, there are items it will not fund, so grant seekers should be sure to read the FAQs carefully.

All grant applications must be completed through Shubert's online grant portal. Applicants must provide complete financial statements, which have been audited by a certified public accountant, for the appropriate fiscal year. Grant seekers with audited financial statements whose annual budget is under $150,000 should contact Shubert before applying. Different rules may apply. Read the full rules and requirements here.

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