Today the Bush Foundation named Theatre B as a member of the Community Creativity Cohort. This honor carries with it the opportunity to be in community with 15 other extraordinary organizations from across the region as well as a $100,000 unrestricted, one-time grant award. Our Ensemble and Board wants to send out a big thank you to the Bush Foundation for the honor!
Our Executive Director, Carrie Wintersteen, offers some perspective on this opportunity:
A Note from Carrie
You will either step forward into growth, or you will step backward into safety. – Abraham Maslow
“In its 13 years, Theatre B has had fairly steady, incremental growth. There have been a few spurts, but for the most part, we plant what seeds we can and harvest in equal measure. As a nonprofit, there is never much to store up for a rainy day, but fortunately we are not going hungry.
“ArtsLab gave us our biggest growth spurt, with financial support and, more importantly, training and guidance to help us thrive. In one season both our budget and our audience participation doubled, and we hired our first staff member. Giving Hearts Day was our first big fundraising activity. When we began participating three years ago, we had hopes of buying new seats, paying artists, and hiring more staff. Then our building was sold and our rent doubled. We made modified investments in artists and staff, but our patrons still must endure the coziness of our 1970’s-era seating.
“This year, grant funding is fueling our growth. The awards and honors have been a tremendous boon to our programming and our reputation. However, grants can be unreliable and inconsistent, and they often support programs, not general operating. It becomes a balancing act to apply for and receive grant funding, then put staff in place to manage the programming without assurance that the financial support will remain.
“Now the Bush Foundation is honoring Theatre B with a large grant award that we would like to invest in artists and programming. But rent continues to increase and the facility question looms large (again, the seats must wait). This is a one-time award, so operational investments require considerable planning and effort to maintain this growth beyond the Community Creativity Cohort award. To build on this investment, Theatre B will draw on its ArtsLab training, advancing our community engagement efforts, capitalizing on our skilled and dedicated artists and staff, and investing time and resources to plan strategically for the future.
“Our vision is to elevate artists and celebrate the theatrical art form. Through advanced training for artists, greater emphasis on local stories and local storytellers, development of new work, and lasting collaborations to serve our neighbors, Theatre B will mature as a professional theatre company woven tightly into the fabric of our community.
“If I have learned anything in my 13 years with Theatre B, it is this: Do good work. Serve the community. Tell your story. Support will come. We are so grateful for the support from our audiences, our donors, business partners, government agencies, and foundations. This award from the Bush Foundation invites us to step forward boldly and trust in our vision.”