Founders Fund Grants - HISTORY & RECIPIENTS

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Help us by supporting the Founders Fund
Your general donation to the Founders Fund helps underwrite projects of national significance through Founders Grants and special focus projects such as Art of the Matter and ReImagine. Your gift supports the dreams of the artists and organizations dedicated to theatre for children and youth.

  • Annual gifts in support of the work of CTFA
  • Gifts from wills and bequests can become a part of the Founders Fund.
  • This Fund holds most of our Authors Legacy gifts.
  • In Memory & Honoring gifts
Founders Grants Projects of National Significance - Recent History

2023 Concept Development Grants-Theatre/Organizations (Average Award: $2,200.00)
Denenburg, Kurtz, Sillau - Omaha, NE --
Adaptation of "Just Ask! Be Different, Be Brave, Be You" by Sonia Sotomayor, as a fully accessible TYA production by, with, and for individuals with disabilities. The creative team will also make an inclusive casting guide for putting the play together (allowing for flexible inclusion of scenes and songs based on representation in the community) and a pre and post-show workshop series.

Mendez & Rodriguez - Houston, TX --
Adaptation of “Aniana del Mar Jumps In” by Jasminne Mendez as a musical, tells the story of a Dominican teenage girl in Galveston, TX, who loves the water and struggles when autoimmune disease threatens her dream of becoming a competitive swimmer. The creative team is excited to bring more stories of Latino families to the theatre field in Houston and beyond..

Andrew Keegan Theatre Company - Washington, DC -- “Midiculous” is a new script development from a Black creative team, using workshops with middle school students to center youth voices and develop sketch comedy that provides a “tragicomic exploration of just how ridiculous middle school has always been, grounded in an ultimate realization that we are all the better for surviving it.”

Omaha Theater Company/The Rose Theater - Omaha, NE -- “Livin’ in Color” is a student-created devised theater and performance piece celebrating what it means to be a young person of color in our world today. This grant will support the expansion of the program to include compensation support for bilingual teaching artists, the creation of a student-designed mural set piece, and rehearsal care materials for students. build bonds.

Smith & Parker - Brooklyn, NY -- “STEMMERSIVE” is a series of immersive theatrical experiences for young audiences designed to increase the visibility of women, and women of color in particular, in science. This grant will support their second show in the series, which will be presented in rural Maine and in NYC next year, and is part of their goal to build a roster of 3-5 tourable and technologically self-sufficient productions.

2021-22 Special Initiative Grant (Co-Sponsored with CTFA, The Kennedy Center, TYA/USA ASSITEJ, Write Now )
ReImagine: New Plays in TYA , USA — which aims to support the development of and visibility of new works for young audiences written by Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC).

2020 Project Fulfillment Grant-Theatre/Organizations
(Award: $ 30,000.00)
Imagination Stage, Washington, D.C. — To develop “10 Seconds” – a new TYA piece with aligned educational elements that are inspired by real life experiences of students and law enforcement officers who participate in their Police and Youth Partnership program and are designed to be offered through local public schools and community venues. SEE MORE…

2019 Concept Development Grants-Theatre/Organizations
(Average Award: $2,000.00)
Filament Theatre, Chicago, IL -- To bring together a composer with the theatre artistic director in a workshop to create an original narrative told through the audience with generated sound and music and without reliance on the spoken language, using collaborative musical puzzles to create “escape rooms” where children save the world through sound.

Imagination Stage, Bethesda, MD -- To partner with a playwright and the DC Police Foundation to collaborate with the theatre’s youth program to create and work to build on leadership skills, conflict resolution and violence prevention and build bonds.

Mirror Image Arts, Denver, CO -- To create a social-emotional learner (SEL) performance and creative drama workshop series for 5-8 year olds with Theatre Artbus, as part of a 5 year strategic vision.

Teatro Dallas, Dallas, TX -- To research Latin American studies about ancient Mexican ecology and agriculture to create a script for an interactive bilingual play – “We Were Tlali.”

Trusty Sidekick Theater Company, New York, NY
-- To create a durational theatrical experience, part live performance, part game/digital based, that empowers the audience as hero of the story and blurs lines of where the real world/hospital setting stops and the play begins.

2018 Project Fulfillment Grant-Theatre/Organizations
(Award: $ 27,600.00)
Rising Youth Theatre, Phoenix, AZ -- To create Face to Face a youth-led intergenerational performance and dialogue experience where people across backgrounds and circumstances come together for conversations around understanding and dismantling oppression at the intersection of race and class. SEE MORE…

2017 Concept Development Grants-Theatre/Organizations (Average Award: $1,500.00)
Bay Area Children's Theatre, Oakland, CA -- To plan, research and create a unique and innovative pre-theatre experience for children in the interactive lobby space of their new theatre complex.

The Keegan Theatre, Washington, DC -- To develop a new dynamic work with word poet Regie Cabico and up to 5 others to devise a spoken word performance geared toward children an dare-teens integrating rhythmic elements and repetition.

Young Playwrights’ Theater, Washington, DC -- To move the 2-phase event of creative rapid response workshops culminating in “Silence is Violence” event responding to students’ issues of fears, etc., to a 3-phase model that will create and tour performances of fresh content to schools and communities.

North Carolina Theatre for Young People at the University of NC, Greensboro, NC -- To support the residency of Edume Rankin, Artistic Director in Santiago, Chile, as part of a broader project for international exchange, to co-create art with Visual Theatre professionals and to reach marginalized audiences.

2017 Concept Development Grants-Artist/Individuals (Average Award: $2,000.00)
Sandy Fenichel Asher, Lancaster, PA -- To create an “American Theatre for the Very Young: A Digital Festival” to let those working in the field for the very young to see each other’s work, reach out to each other, grow together, educate each other, celebrate each other’s accomplishments, etc. June 2017: READ MORE…Opportunity to Submit Video for consideration in A DIGITAL FESTIVAL.

Ms. Troy Scheid, Houston, TX -- To develop “Grandpa’s Garden”, a new devised work in collaboration with actors, educators and children where the themes family, nurturing, roots, environment and generations interlace, eating to the script, production an finally theatre-based extension activities for classroom teachers.

2016 (Average Award: $4,000.00)
Bay Area Children's Theatre, Oakland, CA -- To create and produce a new play, Story Explorers, a new and original musical based on stories created by children living with special needs and performed for children and their families living with special needs and the general public.

Chicago Children's Theatre, Chicago, IL -- To support commissioning and producing the world premiere, Birthday Suit.

2015 (Average Award: $4274.50)
Omaha Theater Company, Omaha, NE-To develop and produce new interactive play for youth diagnosed with Autism Spectrum.

First Stage, Milwaukee, WI-To support a world premiere of THE SNOW by providing playwright fees, commissioning costs and expenses.

2013 Founders Fund Project-Special Initiative Grant: The ART OF THE MATTER Grant --the largest single sum to ever be awarded by the CTFA-- was presented in 2013 to SOHO REP (Soho Repertory Theatre, Inc.) a leading hub for innovative contemporary theatre and recipient of the 2006 OBIE Award for Sustained Artistic Excellence, will join with Brooklyn Arbor, a new public elementary school in Brooklyn with a creative, diverse student population and a magnet grant for Global and Ethical Studies to develop and present WASHETERIA.

2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 (Funding was in support of Getting to the Art of the Matter Grant, a Special Initiative Grant of the Founders Fund)

2010 (Average Award: $1,999.25)
AATE, Bethesda, MD, to support a world premiere of Suzan Zeder’s Ware Trilogy as part of the 2011 AAATE Conference in Chicago.

Oregon Children's Theatre, Portland, OR, to support a series of green initiatives in conjunction with the commissioning of a new play by Joan Cushing.

First Stage Children's Theatre, Milwaukee, WI, to offset artistic costs of increased commissioning costs for original work.

TYA/USA, Chicago, IL, to support fees related to bringing members of London’s Oily Cart Theatre to conduct workshops at the One Theatre World national meeting to explore techniques of working with autistic children.

2009 (Average Award: $1,666)
Here Arts Center, New York, NY, for support of the world premiere of Aunt Leaf, a multimedia theatre piece for children ages 9 and up about the power of imagination, created by playwright Barbara Wiechmann and director Jeffry Mousseau.

Nat Eek and Ann Shaw, Santa Fe, NM, to partially fund the printing of Volume II of The History of ASSITEJ (1976-1990).

Joan Lazarus, Austin, TX, to support the identification of master theatres and models of K-12 theatre education programs that embodies the characteristics and elements of best practice. Results will be submitted for publication and presentation at national conferences.

2008 (Average Award: $2,500)
The Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis, MN, to support the convening of theatre artists, educators, and early education professionals as part of an initiative to create new plays/curricula for children ages 3-5.

Seattle Children’s Theatre, Seattle, WA, to support the commission of the world premiere of Pharaoh Serket and The Lost Stone of Fire.

Arizona State University, School of Theatre and Film, Tempe, AZ, to support an academic symposium “The Ethics of Representing Childhood-Popular Culture, Performance, Pedagogy, and Policy.”

2007 (Average Award: $1,700)
ASSITEJ/USA, to assist in the funding of one or more graduate students or early career professionals to attend ASSITEJ in Australia and to represent the US in the Next Generation Project.

Oregon Children’s Theatre, Portland Oregon, for script development of Lois Lowry’s youth novel, Gossamer, to be co-produced in the following year by Oregon Children’s Theatre and First Stage of Milwaukee.

Jeanne Klein, Lawrence Kansas, to support research and writing of a book explaining how children formulate aesthetic judgments about theatre from early-middle childhood.

Here Arts Center of New York, to support an international festival featuring Dutch and French productions for young audiences.

2006 (Award: $700)
AATE Playwriting Network to support seven long-distance apprenticeships to secondary playwriting students with adult playwrights in the field. Students will receive written feedback on their plays by correspondence. The student work and the process to develop it will be presented in a session at the 2007 AATE conference.

2005 (Average award: $1,750)
ASSITEJ/USA to fund travel subsidies for graduate students and early career professionals and an Intern Mentor to attend the 15th World Congress and Performing Arts Festival of ASSITEJ International IN Montreal, Canada from September 20-30, 2005.

Arizona State University Department of Archives and Special Collections to create transcripts of the Child Drama Collection’s audio and video oral histories of leaders in the field and to provide access points to them on the web.

The Children’s Theatre Company, Minneapolis to support the development and production of a new play for teen audiences, Anon(ymous) by Naomi Iizuka.

Seattle Children’s Theatre in support of the world premier of Robert Schenkkan’s The Devil and Daniel Webster

Oregon Children’s Theatre in support of playwright Eric Coble, playwright for the adaptation of The Giver and its premier production.

2004 (Average award: $4,250)
AATE Playwriting Network for support of three secondary theatre teachers who are committed to developing new works in their schools with the opportunity to observe and participate in the development of a script at one of three development venues.

The Indiana Repertory Theatre in support of the Bonderman Playwriting Project in its transition from the sponsorship of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis to the Indiana Repertory Theatre.