Sunday, August 23, 2009

Meeting with the Shubert Foundation

Posted by Bruce Miller
Phil and I go to New York two or three times a year, and during each of these business trips, we try to address several institutional objectives. Last week’s NYC excursion included our annual visit with Amy Dorfman, Program Director of The Shubert Foundation.

Amy is as informed an arts leader as you'll meet. I’m acquainted with few individuals who know more about professional theatre in the United States, in terms of either art or management. Sometimes Amy visits us here in Richmond and sees one of our shows. More often we visit her in New York. During each of these visits, Phil, Amy and I have the chance to catch up on what’s happening among regional theatres nationally and in our respective necks of the wood.

The Shubert Organization, a for-profit entity, manages the largest commercial theatre empire in the nation. Since the deaths of the founding Shubert brothers, The Shubert Organization has been fully owned by The Shubert Foundation, a nonprofit entity. It is a very unique model. Today, 100% of the profits earned by the Shubert Organization go to fund the good work of the Shubert Foundation.

According to the Foundation Center Online, in fiscal 2008 the Shubert Foundation had total assets of $323,089,815, placing it somewhere in the middle of the 200 largest foundations in the nation. Total giving by The Shubert Foundation in fiscal 08 amounted to $16,930,435.

The Shubert Organization owns and/or operates 17 Broadway theatres—the Ambassador, the Barrymore, the Belasco, the Booth, the Broadhurst, the Broadway, the Cort, the Golden, the Imperial, the Longacre, the Lyceum, the Majestic, the Music Box, the Plymouth, the Royale, the Shubert and the Winter Garden—and one Off-Broadway theatre, The Little Shubert. Outside New York, the Shuberts own both the Shubert Theatre in Boston and the Forrest in Philadelphia, and manage the National Theatre in Washington, D.C.

In the last three decades, The Shubert Organization has dedicated its energies and resources to a long-term campaign for the revitalization of the American theatre. Its many projects have included the refurbishment of all Shubert playhouses, devoted participation in civic and community affairs, and a continuing effort to rehabilitate the Times Square Theatre District.

The principal goal of The Shubert Foundation is to support nonprofit, professional resident theatre and dance companies in the United States. The Foundation provides grants “only to organizations that have an established artistic and administrative track record, as well as a history of fiscal responsibility.”

The roster of Shubert Foundation grantees includes the most accomplished nonprofit professional theatre and dance companies in the nation. Barksdale and Theatre IV are proud to be recipients of Shubert funding.

Tomorrow, I’ll write about the history of the Shubert building in which we meet. Just like many things involving the Shuberts, it’s filled with drama.

--Bruce Miller

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