How to Seek Grant Money for a Community Theater

By Andrea Helaine

If you run a community theater, you may need to expand your funding base to provide your organization with financial security. Nonprofit arts organizations often scramble to attain grant funds for community theater or cultural arts events. Knowing how to seek grant money for a community theater can help you establish positive relationships with donors.

Complete a search for projects using the Foundation Center's grant database. The database, which you access by subscription, offers additional information on specific funders, including their areas of interest and the amount of funding they provide. Request a free 24-hour trial subscription by contacting the Foundation Center in New York at (800) 424-9836.

Search for funding by looking for terms, such as arts education, community theater, theater, performing arts and similar keywords. You can use the same system for other organizations or projects.

Determine if your organization is eligible for particular types of funding. Some organizations limit funding to nonprofit 501(c)(3) organizations or to individuals, businesses or other entities.

Go to the National Endowment for the Arts website to search potential grant opportunities by category, including theater, musical theater and opera. The information is updated annually. Before you apply, determine that your organization is eligible for a grant by checking the requirements. Applying for a grant when not eligible will result in an immediate rejection of your proposal, even if your project has merit.

Contact community foundations that focus on the arts or arts education. Request financial support from foundations in your area that support community theater. Network with local businesses and large corporations in your area to request sponsorship of your theater programs.

About the Author

Andrea Helaine has a Bachelor of Philosophy in theology and is currently finishing her thesis course for a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing. Helaine has been writing professionally for over 10 years and has been published in several anthologies and is currently breaking into the screenwriting market.