Overview Eligibility  FAQs Advisory Circle Recipients

This grant program was initially offered with generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation ([email protected]) and the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation as a supporting partner for BITOC in Western states. A subsequent round has been made available by Theater League for BITOC with an operating budget of $500,000 to $3,300,000 nationwide.

The mission of the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation is to improve the quality of people’s lives through grants supporting the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research and the prevention of child abuse, and through preservation of the cultural and environmental legacy of Doris Duke’s properties. For more information, you can visit www.ddcf.org.

The Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation works to advance equitable change by creating access to systems and solutions that expand economic opportunity, promote innovative approaches to education, improve access to supportive care for life-threatening illness, and lift up social impact theatre. We practice active philanthropy, support outstanding leaders with bold ideas, and explore innovative approaches and models that can be tested locally and, if successful, implemented nationally.

Theater League is a not-for-profit civic performing arts organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in the communities it serves with the thrill of live! theater. Founded by Mark Edelman in Kansas City in 1977, the organization has presented the Best of Broadway in theaters across the country to well over a million patrons. Today, the League supports a broad range of professional theater through grants, student ticket subsidies and new works development in its hometown of Kansas City and performing arts organizations around the country.




THRIVE! Uplifting Theatres of Color is being offered with generous support from the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation and the Sheri and Les Biller Family Foundation, and developed and administered by Theatre Communications Group (TCG) with an Advisory Circle of Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC*) theatre leaders. THRIVE! provides unrestricted funds for those who have all too often been outside the grantmaking sector’s funding opportunities: Black theatres, Indigenous theatres and Theatres of Color (BITOC*) based in the US (including Tribal Nations and US Territories) which are closely connected to and have positive impact on their chosen communities.

To do their best work, BITOC need support for salaries, rent, supplies and activities, as well as funds to offset loss of income caused by the pandemic. THRIVE! is providing general operating support so that BITOC can do what they do best - serving communities through theatre. THRIVE! aims to ease some of the pressures that BITOC face in fundraising, assist them in investing in their staff and artists, and help in their organizational success, beyond the scope of artistic projects and programming.

To address historical funding inequities (see BITOC Funding Facts and FAQs), a minimum of 30% of the grants will be awarded to Indigenous theatre organizations, a minimum of 20% will be awarded to Black theatre organizations, with the remaining amount open to all other Theatres of Color. These distribution percentages were jointly created with the THRIVE! Advisory Circle.

Grant Categories

  • RESPOND: 25 rapid response grants of $10,000 each, unrestricted. RESPOND grants aim to address immediate, time-sensitive challenges that prevent ongoing work with their community. Recipients of RESPOND grants will still be eligible to apply for RECOGNIZE grants. 
  • RECOGNIZE: 20 general operating grants of $50,000 each, unrestricted. RECOGNIZE grants will be awarded to BITOC demonstrating a deep level of service to their chosen communities; a clear vision guiding their on-going and future work; and the highest potential for the THRIVE! program to positively impact their organization.
    • In addition, during the grant program period RECOGNIZE grantees will participate in REBUILD: A Learning Cohort working with BIPOC consultants to strengthen their effectiveness in specific areas and may include financial planning, crisis management and scenario planning, and program evaluation. Additional opportunities will include awareness building topics and intersectional programming.

TCG recognizes there have been other significant efforts to financially support and strengthen BITOC led by both BIPOC and PWI, particularly since 2020. TCG is a theatre service organization and regrantor (see FAQs) collaborating with colleagues in the grantmaking sector who are committed to challenging funding inequities. Embedded in TCG’s mission and vision is a long-range goal to address and eliminate the structural barriers preventing BITOC from thriving to their full potential.

The THRIVE! program administrators are Emilya Cachapero (she/her/siya), Director of Grantmaking Programs, and Raksak “Big” Kongseng (she/they), Assistant Director of Grantmaking Programs. Please email Big at [email protected] for more information.

Please visit the grant program guidelines for more detailed information.

Ongoing Commitment to BIPOC & BITOC

The commitment to nurture and support Black, Indigenous, Theatres of Color (BITOC) and Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) is not new to TCG and spans decades. A significant marker was TCG’s 2003 convening of leaders from 21 BITOC at White Oak Plantation, FL, that resulted in the formation of the Consortium of Asian American Theatres and Artists (CAATA) and other BITOC engaging in peer mentoring on capital campaigns and advocacy. Fifteen years later, a 2018 convening in St. Louis—a pre-conference to our national conference in that city—brought together 47 BIPOC theatre-makers and individual artists to build new alliances and organize around shared values. TCG has been an incubator for conversations leading to the newly-formed national organization, Middle Eastern and North African Theater Makers Alliance (MENATMA). We have also been nurturing the growth of a similar network for the Native theatre community. Affinity group meetings for BITOC have been a consistent part of the National Conference programming for more than a decade. Furthermore, our Intergenerational Leaders of Color National Conference gatherings have grown from 25 people to hundreds.

TCG actively leverages its relationships with other grantmakers to advocate for the inclusion and support of a wider cross-section of BITOC, who due to budget size and organizational structure are not currently considered eligible. Working with the Advisory Circle, dIrect dialogues with grantmakers are a core component of REBUILD activities, with the intention of BITOC having opportunities to build their own relationships with grantmakers.

*BITOC and BIPOC are terms used here for solidarity purposes representing a multiplicity of racial, ethnic, and cultural groups. We acknowledge that the terms 'BITOC' and 'BIPOC' are imperfect, not universally embraced by many who identify as People of Color and/or People of the Global Majority, and that language is in a constant state of reimagination and redefinition. For reference, Black, Indigenous, and People of Color represent over 80% of the global population. It is possible that during the program period, the language may shift again.