The Shubert Foundation, one of the most powerful players in the world of theater, is giving out a record amount of grant money this year. With $37.9 million earmarked for more than 650 organizations, the foundation’s newest round of donations maintains its reputation as the nation’s largest funder of nonprofit theaters and dance companies.
It also one-ups the foundation’s record grants from 2022, which saw $37.6 million given out to just over 600 nonprofits. “The increase in both our funding and the number of our grantees comes at a critical time for performing arts organizations across the country,” said Diana Phillips, president of the Shubert Foundation, in a statement. The financial needs of nonprofits, who are currently facing “skyrocketing costs, still-hesitant audiences and the end of federal relief funding,” have never been greater, she said.
The foundation’s increased number of grantees is also due to its newly changed requirements, as it now allows organizations with smaller budgets to apply. The revision “has expanded our reach to companies that focus on bringing professional theater and dance to underserved populations,” said the foundation’s chairman Robert E. Wankel in a statement.
Who are the grantees of the Shubert Foundation?
The New York City Ballet, Ballet Hispanico and Brooklyn Academy of Music are among the lucky grantees based in New York this year, as are theater-focused organizations such as the Second Stage Theater, Public Theater and Adirondack Theatre Festival. Organizations in the state will receive a total of $10.2 million from the Shubert Foundation. Meanwhile, other states receiving more than $1 million for their nonprofits include California, Illinois, Texas and Minnesota, among others. And in addition to its national grants, the Shubert Foundation is giving $645,000 towards theater education at New York City Public Schools.
More than $575 million has been awarded to U.S. nonprofits by the foundation since the establishment of its grant program in 1977. Grants are always unrestricted, meaning the organization cannot control how funds are utilized after they’re given away, and they start at $15,000, typically getting larger for previous grantees.
The Shubert Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the Shubert Organization, the largest theater owner on Broadway and the oldest professional theater company in the U.S. Founded by Sam, Lee and Jacob Shubert at the end of the 19th century, the company has operated hundreds of theaters and produced hundreds of plays, in addition to building some of Broadway’s most important venues like the Winter Garden and the Imperial.
It currently owns and operates 23 theaters, including 17 Broadway venues. The foundation was launched in 1945 by two of the Shubert brothers, Lee and Jacob, in memory of Sam, who died in a railroad accident in 1905. In addition to its grant-making and operational support activities, the Shubert Foundation has also operated the Shubert Archive since 1976, which consists of production designs, scripts, sheet music and photographs from the past 100 years in theater and dance.