PLATINUM2024

Only Make Believe, Inc.

aka Only Make Believe   |   New York, NY   |  www.onlymakebelieve.org

Mission

Only Make Believe (OMB) creates and performs live in-person and virtual interactive theatre with children in hospitals, special education schools, and care facilities. Inspiring joy and imagination, our professional actors engage children with medically fragile conditions and developmental disabilities, fostering social and emotional growth. OMB is dedicated to the principle that nurturing a child’s imagination is a vital part of learning and developing life skills.

Ruling year info

2001

Executive Artistic Director

Ms. Tamela Aldridge

Main address

121 West 27th Street Suite 403

New York, NY 10001 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-4133410

NTEE code info

Theater (A65)

Performing Arts (A60)

Theater (A65)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The therapeutic qualities of theatre are inaccessible to many children and their families while they are in hospitals and care facilities for a myriad of reasons: complexity of health issues for the patients, financial limitations due to medical expenses and/or the time-consuming nature of medical treatment. In bringing our performances to partner facilities, we remove the hardships that may be associated with travel for a family with a child experiencing an illness.They are in a safe environment, with staff that is equipped to respond to their needs, with no additional costs to the children or their families for the service Only Make Believe provides. The majority of the children we serve do not have normal childhoods and suffer from chronic disease and physical and emotional disabilities. Our performances are a rare opportunity for children to express themselves beyond the restrictions of their illness and experience hope, humor and healing via live theatre.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Only Make Believe - New York

Only Make Believe presents 6-week cycles of theatrical performances, using paid professional actors, free-of-charge to children in hospitals and care facilities.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with disabilities

Only Make Believe presents 6-week cycles of theatrical performances, using paid professional actors, free-of-charge to children in hospitals, care facilities, and special education programs.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
People with disabilities

Where we work

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Total number of works in collection

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Caregivers, Families

Related Program

Only Make Believe - New York

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Only Make Believe has 8 original, interactive scripts for our in-person and virtual performances that can be modified for varying populations.

Total number of free seats filled for performances

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, Caregivers, Families

Related Program

Only Make Believe - New York

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Only Make Believe performances serve children with medically fragile conditions & disabilities, their siblings, families, caregivers, and staff members in more than 50 partner facilities.

Total number of free performances given

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Children and youth, People with diseases and illnesses, People with physical disabilities

Related Program

Only Make Believe - New York

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Only Make Believe provides in-person performances to more than 35 partner facilities in New York City, Washington, DC, and virtual performances to 15 additional cities nationwide.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

Only Make Believe (OMB) serves children who are in hospitals and care facilities for a range of reasons including but not limited to: psychiatric disorders, physical illnesses, and intellectual/developmental disabilities. Although the children we meet are all different, they share a very significant thing in common: They all spend a large portion of their time in hospitals and care facilities talking with health care professionals, being reminded of their illness/disability and feeling isolated from their family and community. Only Make Believe strives to give these children an opportunity to forget the world around them and have fun through the therapeutic power of theatre, while simultaneously giving them tools to bolster their self-confidence, self-esteem, and their outlook for their future. Only Make Believe provides a unique experience which supports learning, entertains, and helps emotional development.

The Only Make Believe program is quite simple: For 35-60 minutes children can forget their physical, emotional and/or intellectual challenges and simply enjoy fun, hope and laughter using their imaginations via the magic of theatre.
Only Make Believe has three program models in rotation. The base of all the models is the same. Over the course of 6-week cycles, a cast of three paid, local professional actors visit each site once a week, performing original interactive plays, where the children dress up and become the stars of the show. The actors bring an OMB trunk filled with handmade costumes, made by our volunteers, for the hospitals and children to keep. Our OMB on CCTV program model allows children who are unable to leave their hospital rooms to participate and enjoy interactive theatre via closed circuit television. The children are able to view the performance on the televisions in their room and call in via phone to participate during the live show. Our third program model is for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. All the OMB show scripts are modified specifically for accessibility for these participants. These modifications include using tactile and visual performance aids as opposed to a traditional story narrative to engage the children.

Our financial resources include: Foundation Grants, Corporate Grants & Contributions and Individual Contribution (Solicited & Unsolicited).
Currently, Only Make Believe has a Board of Directors comprised of 16 philanthropists, 6 full-time staff members and a professional acting company of 28 thespians in New York City and Washington, DC. Our organizational partners include 48 hospitals, care facilities, and special education programs who enable Only Make Believe to fill their buildings with imaginative play, eliciting joy, hope and laughter from the child they serve.
As far as community involvement in our mission, we rely heavily on the support of volunteers and provide many opportunities for community service. This includes corporate and individual volunteers events; teams of volunteers that visit the hospitals and throw a "cast party" for the children; and volunteers who use their special talents and/or professional skills to help OMB in a variety of different ways.

Accomplishments for OMB in New York City include:
• Selected to light the Empire State Building annually since 2012. Previous ESB Lighting ambassadors for OMB include Sir Ian McKellen, Susan Sarandon, and Jude Law.
• National feature on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams showcasing OMB's work at NYU Rusk Institute for Rehabilitative Medicine where OMB has performed continually since 1999.
• Serving more than 67,988 children since 1999, performing more than 300 shows each year in more than 40 care facilities throughout the NYC metro area.

Accomplishments for OMB in Washington, DC include:
• Serving more than 9,200 children in the DC metro area since 2012
• 2017 DC Mayor's Art Award Finalist
• Grant award recipients of the DC Commission on the Arts & Humanities, Bloomberg Philanthropies, National Endowment for the Arts

What's Next? Only Make Believe is to launch our program in additional locations nationwide to serve as many chronically ill and disabled children as possible.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We collect feedback from the people we serve at least annually, We take steps to get feedback from marginalized or under-represented people, We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We look for patterns in feedback based on demographics (e.g., race, age, gender, etc.), We look for patterns in feedback based on people’s interactions with us (e.g., site, frequency of service, etc.), We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response, We act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback

Financials

Only Make Believe, Inc.
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

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lock

Connect with nonprofit leaders

Subscribe

Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

Only Make Believe, Inc.

Board of directors
as of 01/24/2024
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board co-chair

Ms. Sally Wheeler Maier


Board co-chair

Ms. Jennifer Hammerstein

Jennifer Hammerstein

No Affiliation

Joe DiPietro

Playwright/Producer

Waseem Noor

No Affiliation

Sarah Rosand

No Affiliation

John Hardiman

Sullivan & Cromwell

Sally Wheeler Maier

No Affiliation

Bradley Butwin

O'Melveny & Myers LLP

Laura Angel-Lalanne

Schulte Roth & Zabel

Holly Fedorcik

No Affiliation

Ken Haller

Saint Louis University School of Medicine

Mirza Kafedzic

Mizuho Americas

David Travin

PJT Partners

Ken Haller, MD

Cardinal Glennon

Achilles Perry

CIBC

Lara Flath

Skadden Arps

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? Yes
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Yes
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Yes
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Yes
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Yes

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/24/2024

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? Candid partnered with CHANGE Philanthropy on this demographic section.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation

Disability

We do not display disability information for organizations with fewer than 15 staff.

Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/24/2024

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.