The Shubert Foundation has awarded a record $37.6 million in unrestricted grants to not-for-profit theaters, dance companies, academic theater training programs, and related service agencies, and in addition has made two $1 million gifts to create endowed scholarships for theater students at Spelman College and Morehouse College, two of the most prominent HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).
The grants and gifts were announced by the Foundation today. The $37.6 million figure tops last year’s record-setting $32.1 million by $5.5 million.
“We are delighted to increase both our funding and the number of our grantees this year,” said Diana Phillips, President of The Shubert Foundation, in a statement. “While it has been exciting to see life return to the performing arts, Covid has dealt a terrible blow and there remains enormous need everywhere.”
Established in 1945 by theater impresarios Lee and J.J. Shubert to honor their brother Sam, the Foundation today is the nation’s largest funder of unrestricted aid for not-for-profit theater and dance companies. Since the establishment of the Foundation’s grants program in 1977, the organization has awarded more than $575 million.
According to Phillips, the Foundation sought to broaden access and eliminate barriers to the grants this year, and “welcomed smaller budgeted first-time applicants without requiring audited financial statements.” She said that 18 of the 50 new grant recipients were added to the Foundation’s roster because of this change.
Chairman Robert E. Wankel said the Foundation Board approved the two $1 million endowments for scholarships at Spelman and Morehouse “to further expand opportunities for college students of color to gain broad experiences in the performing arts.”
“Spelman College is honored to receive such a generous endowment gift from The Shubert Foundation in support of the developing theater artistry of women of color,” said Mary Schmidt Campbell, President of Spelman College. “With the College’s expansion and renewal of our theaters and performing spaces underway, the support of our promising young students is the perfect complement.”
David A. Thomas, Morehouse College President, said, “Creativity is the most important talent the world will need in the future. This gift will ensure that men of color are able to use their unique artistic talents to communicate ideas, bridge cultural barriers, problem-solve, and serve as catalysts for motivation, excitement, reflection, and introspection. Leadership in the arts is one of the most critical fulfillments of the Morehouse mission.”