FOUNDERS GRANTS: Concept Development & Project Fulfillment

Supports projects unique and new to the field that will positively advance the field of theatre for young audiences nationally.
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Founders Grant:
for concepts, ideas, approaches, research and/or development strategies

Application Guidelines Deadline: Application period for 2019 is now CLOSED.
2020 Founders Grant information will be posted here, late summer.


The CTFA is seeking projects from 501c3 IRS certified not-for-profit theatres and theatre artists in the United States to encourage and support the development of new and innovative concepts and approaches to theatre for young audiences that: - Have the potential to demonstrate diversity, racial equity and inclusion. - Promote the involvement of communities that have been historically disadvantaged and socially and politically excluded based on race. - Serve as a model to address issues of social justice and inclusion.

CTFA understands that
idea development time needs an underwriter. The Founders Concept Development Fund Grant allocations for 2019 will dedicate Founders Fund distributions up to $2,000 to support the creative process needed to develop innovation and think beyond the box.
We are looking for the most creative and visionary ideas that will advance the field of theatre for young audiences nationally, particularly projects that:
• are in the early germination stage • break new ground • focus on the planning process of the development of an innovative concept for theatre • will make a significant difference in the field of theatre for young audiences, not in just one community or one theatre but can be applied nationally • can be feasibly completed by the applicant • and projects ideas where CTFA funding will make a difference in the outcome of the project
Multiple Founders Concept Development Grants of up to $2,000 will be awarded in 2019. The following general information is to help you prepare the strongest possible application.


501c3 IRS certified, not-for profit Theatres in the United States, established for at least three consecutive years, with a demonstrable record of artistic quality. Theatres not previously known for producing work for young and family audience may apply, but the specific project under consideration must serve children, youth, schools, communities and/or families.
-Individual theatre artists in the United States working on the creation of a play, production or project with a strong potential for innovation and artistic excellence. Projects may be initiated by playwrights, scenic, sound, lighting, and/or costume designers, directors, teachers, etc.
-Teams of theatre artists and collaborators from a variety of disciplines outside of theatre seeking to explore new approaches to form and content in theatre for youth (TYA) (i.e. scientists, educators, historians, psychologists, visual artists, etc.). At least one of the collaborating partners must be a 501c3 certified not-for-profit theatre, established for at least three consecutive years, with a demonstrable record of artistic quality.

WHAT WE FUND - Grant amounts up to $2,000 -A project in the early stage of conception, not currently in operation, but sufficiently developed to inspire confidence in its potential for innovation and artistic excellence -A creative and visionary project that will advance the field of theatre for young audiences and serve as a model to address issues of social justice and inclusion. -A project that goes above and beyond the traditional concepts of theatre for young people in terms of:
  • Content: subject matter, themes explored, non-traditional characters, etc.
  • Methodology: scripted plays, devised works, immersive experiences, etc.
  • Community Interaction: partnerships, ancillary events, community engagement and/or
  • Evaluation: concrete ways to measure impact and success.
-A project that will make a difference in the field of theatre for young audiences on a national level.

Funding from Founders Concept Development grants can be used for:
  • Travel for research
  • Travel to help bring collaborative teams together for initial brainstorming and workshop development
  • Underwriting the cost of release-time for individual artists to focus on a project
  • Underwriting partnerships between theatres and schools, universities, and other communities
Founders Concept Development Grants are not intended to be the sole support of funding for a project, but could effectively augment other sources of support.

• Only one grant proposal, per grant year, may be submitted to the Foundation by an applicant
• Priority consideration will be given to applicants not funded by a CTFA grant during the previous 2 years
• All organizational applicants must provide a one-to-one match. In-kind salaries and services may be counted if they are specifically earmarked for this specific project.
• Projects proposed by individual professional theatre artists do no need to provide a one-to-one match.

We do not fund:
• General operating support such as on-going support for regular season productions or projects that are part of the ongoing work of the applicant.
• Projects that are already underway
• Free performances or ticket subsidies
• Activities undertaken for academic credit
• Projects proposed by companies that do not provide a one-to-one match.

• The funding time frame for Concept Development Grants begins no earlier than September 1, 2019 and is to be completed by March 1, 2020. (Some exceptions may be granted.)
• REQUIRED ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Recipients of any CTFA Grant must include the CTFA logo in all official programs, publications and marketing and the statement: “Funded in part by a Founders Grant from the Children’s Theatre Foundation of America.”
• All Founders Concept Development Grant recipients will be provided with a CTFA Board Liaison to serve as a resource for the creative team. (See Board Liaison details below.)
• If a play script or other tangible creative work is the outcome, in part or whole, of the grant, that work must be made publicly available for use within three years of completion of the grant.

Grant awardees will be provided with a CTFA Board Liaison. The Liaison will serve as a resource for grant recipients in a variety of possible roles such as:
● ensuring that mutual expectations are clear between CTFA and the awardee.
● conducting a site visit during the course of the project
● offering advice, when appropriate, on planning, implementation, documentation, evaluation and/or dissemination of the project
● linking project leaders to resources (peers, specialists, published and internet resources) for information and other technical assistance
In the application you will be asked to describe how the Board Liaison might best function as an asset to your particular project.

CTFA Founders Concept Development Grants have a ONE STEP, ON LINE, application process. (See Application Form)

Concept Development Grant Application must be received by Midnight, PST on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.

Submit the Concept Development Grant Application online at NOT CURRENTLY AVALABLE.
The Selection Committee may also request additional information or clarification of any part of this application.

Applicants will be notified of funding decisions on or before August, 2019.

Questions regarding the Concept Development Grant application can be directed to Founders.CTFA@gmail

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The Children’s Theatre Foundation of America is committed to the values of diversity, racial equity, and inclusion. The Foundation supports theatre artists and organizations that share the Foundation’s values working to address past and current injustices to groups that have been historically disadvantaged and socially, politically, and economically excluded. MORE…