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 goes overwhelmingly to theatre.
IP TAKE: Shubert is unlike many performing arts grantmakers in that their grants are given for general operational support rather than for specific projects, so the restrictions for specific performances don't apply as much as with some other foundations.
PROFILE: The Shubert Foundation supports exactly two arts and culture causes—theater and dance companies. In the past 10 years, the majority of the Foundation's grants were made to theater companies by a wide margin. The grants are unrestricted and can be used for any operational support costs the grantees determine, but they do 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).
Shubert's grants are also national, so you don't have to be located in a huge theater hub like New York or L.A., though a large portion of their support does go to theater companies in these large metropolitan regions. But size doesn't always matter. Theatre IV in Richmond, Virginia recently received $10,000 from Shubert, for example.
Shubert's support ranges from the hundreds of thousands of dollars to the tens of thousands, with most gifts hovering somewhere in the mid-to-low five figures (though none tends to be below around $10,000). The organizations they give to can number anywhere from 300-400 a year. Shubert also has very rigorous standards for who they fund and the competition can be fierce. Organizations applying for their support must have a proven track record of artistic achievement, of developing new work, and of fiscal responsibility to name a few. They adhere quite strictly to these standards. Here's a list of past grantees.
The foundation has switched to an online application system, which is available here.