Fund for Diversity in Theater

The Weissberg Foundation’s 2016-2019 Fund for Diversity in Theater is a $1,000,000 commitment to engage and expand new voices and audiences in DC-area theaters. This initiative includes capacity building support to selected grantees and shared learning with the broader theater and philanthropic communities. The selection process has been completed, and the fund is now closed to new applicants.

After a highly competitive request for proposal and proposal review process, the foundation selected six theaters to receive grant funding and compose the cohort of grantees for this exciting pilot program. Each of these theaters demonstrates a deep commitment to advancing diversity on stage, in audiences, and behind the scenes by strengthening their governance, operations, and programming.

2016-2019 Fund for Diversity in Theater Grantees

  • Adventure Theatre MTC
  • dog & pony dc
  • Forum Theatre
  • GALA Hispanic Theatre
  • Mosaic Theater Company of DC
  • Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company

Learn more about our Diversity in Theater Grantees.

Why Diversity in Theater?

We believe in the power of theater to enhance our humanity, stir us to action, and connect us to each other while simultaneously entertaining us. However, along with many who care about theater and social justice, we are concerned about the current demographics of our audiences and what this portends for the future vibrancy of theater.  We also believe there are many perspectives currently underrepresented on and behind our stages.

Goals & Outcomes

Through the Fund for Diversity in Theater, the Weissberg Foundation seeks to accomplish the following:

  • Engage and expand new voices and audiences in Washington-area theater so it is more accessible, inspiring, and compelling to a broad range of theatergoers now and in the future.
  • Nurture an honest, self-examining community of theater leaders who will be open and committed to working together to share learning and ideas for increasing diversity on stage, in audiences, and behind the scenes.
  • Scan the landscape of, support, and learn hand-in-hand with local theaters engaged in diversity work to inform our foundation’s own grantmaking, governance, and operations.
  • Share lessons learned and best practices generated throughout this initiative with the broader theater community and our peers in philanthropy.

Focus on Learning and Collaboration

The Weissberg Foundation is approaching the Fund for Diversity in Theater as an opportunity for learning and collaboration for our grantees, the broader theater community, the foundation, and our peers in philanthropy. To date, this has included consulting with colleagues in the design of the grant initiative, engaging external reviewers in the proposal review process, and seeking feedback from grant applicants on that process.

To nurture a community of theater leaders committed to advancing diversity, we will convene the grantee cohort 2-3 times each year of the grant term to discuss achievements, challenges, and ideas for their work. We will also explore ways to share the learnings surfaced and build on the connections sparked through the convenings with the larger DC-area theater community.

To help build our library of resources related to diversity in theater, visit our resources page and suggest additional ones.

For more information about the Weissberg Foundation’s Fund for Diversity in Theater, please contact Amanda O’Meara at aomeara@weissbergfoundation.org.