Nonprofits fund theater orgs

Shubert Foundation doles out $12.5 million

Two arts-focused nonprofits are spreading grant money around to legit orgs, many of which are struggling amid the economic downturn.

The Shubert Foundation is doling out more coin than it did last year, while the Tony Randall Theatrical Fund is distributing dollars to 10 Off Broadway troupes.

Shubert Foundation coin will top $17.5 million this year, with about $12.5 million going to theater orgs — 6% more than in 2008.

The Randall Grant, previously a $100,000 subsidy awarded to one production of a classic text, has been temporarily restructured to provide smaller grants for general operational support of a number of companies.

The uptick at the Shubert Foundation, the nonprofit company affiliated to Broadway landlord the Shubert Org, was due in large part to the strong Rialto sales posted over the past season (and in which the Shubert Org shared), said Shubert chairman Philip J. Smith.

The foundation will bestow 2009 funds upon a long list of legit troupes, including Gotham natives the Roundabout, Manhattan Theater Company, New York Theater Workshop and Soho Rep, as well as regional orgs including Boston’s Huntington, Minneapolis’ Guthrie and the Bay Area’s Berkeley Rep.

The 10 Randall grant recipients include the Civilians, Elevator Repair Service, LAByrinth Theater Company, the Atlantic and the Vineyard. Heather Randall, who chairs the fund, said she plans to return the grant to its prior incarnation as a single award sometime in the future.

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