DRAMATISTS GUILD FOUNDATION

Helping writers bring their important stories to life.

New York, NY   |  www.dgf.org

Mission

The Dramatists Guild Foundation (DGF) is a national charity that fuels the future of American theater by supporting the writers who create it. DGF supports playwrights, composers, lyricists, and bookwriters at all stages of their careers by sponsoring educational programs, offering space to create new works, and providing emergency aid to writers in need. Their work ensures that the art form of theater can thrive, because in nurturing and protecting the creators of today, they guarantee the stories of tomorrow.

Ruling year info

1964

Executive Director

Rachel Routh

Main address

520 8th Avenue Suite 2401

New York, NY 10018 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

13-6144932

NTEE code info

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 Dramatists Guild Foundation (DGF), founded in 1962 by renowned American lyricist and Dramatists Guild President Alan Jay Lerner, is a national not-for-profit organization that fuels the future of American theater by supporting the writers who create it. DGF’s mission is to nurture writers for the theater; to fund not-for-profit theaters producing contemporary American writers; and to heighten awareness, appreciation, and support of theater across the country. By supporting and nurturing the creators of today, we protect the stories of tomorrow. DGF’s core programs help the American theater thrive by providing playwrights, composers, lyricists and bookwriters with the resources they need to create and produce works that have significant societal impact. We sponsor educational programs; provide awards, grants and stipends; offer free space to create new works; and give emergency aid to writers in need.

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?

DGF: Fellows

The Fellows program is a selective, year-long intensive for playwrights, composers, lyricists, and bookwriters. The program pairs talented writers with accomplished professional mentors, who help them hone their process, and find their unique voice.

This program increases the likelihood that Fellows will be able to turn their passion and talent into a successful career, impacting audiences around the globe. The Fellows program, currently headed by Michael Korie (Grey Gardens), Laurence O’Keefe (Legally Blonde), and Diana Son (Stop Kiss), is highly sought after for its uniquely successful format of partnering playwrights and musical theater writers together in the learning process. In addition, Fellows receive a stipend and the opportunity to partner with several arts organizations for Fellows-specific development opportunities.

Population(s) Served
Adults

DGF’s founding program, Emergency Grants, provides funds for writers facing tragic circumstances. It is vital to support writers in times of need so that they can get back to doing what they do best. DGF provides emergency financial assistance to individual playwrights, composers, lyricists, and bookwriters in dire need of funds due to severe hardship or unexpected illness.

If you are a writer in need, we can help.

Population(s) Served
Adults

In addition to funding new work, DGF has partnered with the Dramatists Guild of America to change the national conversation about how writers are treated by the institutions that produce their work.

Writers Alliance Grants are awarded both to nonprofit theaters and to writers in celebration of working relationships that align deeply with DGF core values. The writer is one whose work pushes boundaries and shows tremendous promise. The theater, which is either currently or slated to work with that writer, is one that holds itself to superlative ethical standards in supporting the livelihoods and careers of writers.

Applicants will be scored on their contracts with writers and the artistic merit of the project for which they are requesting funding.

Population(s) Served
Adults

DGF’s Traveling Masters program makes it possible for writers nationwide to learn from luminaries of the modern stage.
Traveling Masters is a national education program providing students, professionals, and theater lovers with free master classes and workshops on the craft of writing. This supplements arts education for students and adults who might otherwise have limited access.

This program makes it possible for writers to connect with giants of the American theater. These esteemed mentors then inspire, challenge, and empower those writers to create their best work.

Traveling Masters began in 2011 with one master. Now the program has reached over 15,000 students and we are on track to reach all 50 states by 2020.

Population(s) Served
Adults

Writers need a space where they can feel inspired, supported, and free to explore. The DGF Music Hall provides just that to any writer at no cost.
The Music Hall is an airy, salon-style space that has all the resources that a writer might need, including a baby grand piano donated by Lynn Ahrens and Stephen Flaherty, music stands, a conference room-sized table, a state-of-the-art projector, a surround sound system, and a theatrical library.

The Music Hall was created and is offered for free thanks to the generosity of Carol Hall (Best Little Whorehouse in Texas) and the Grisham Foundation.

Resources at the Music Hall include:

Seating for 30-35 guests
Two couches
One large dining table
Seven music stands
Projector
Surround sound
Steinway baby-grand piano

The Music Hall’s general hours of operation are 10:30am-9pm Monday-Friday, and 12-4pm Saturday-Sunday, with some exceptions.

Population(s) Served
Adults

In April 2018, DGF launched its New Voices program, which brought trained teaching artists into 4th grade classrooms where they led the students in the collaborative creation of their own plays. It is crucial that young students are given the proper access and training to theater so they can share their stories and learn the power of their own voices. These young playwrights will help the art form thrive for years to come.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth

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 dollar amount of grants awarded

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Related Program

DGF: Emergency Grants

Type of Metric

Outcome - describing the effects on people or issues

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

DGF provides emergency financial assistance to individual playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists in dire need of funds due to severe hardship or unexpected illness.

Total Revenue Raised

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

Artists and performers

Type of Metric

Input - describing resources we use

Direction of Success

Increasing

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

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.

Music Hall: In New York City, where space is at a premium and rents are notoriously expensive, writers often struggle to find a suitable and affordable space to create, rehearse, and present their work. The DGF Music Hall provides just that to writers, at no cost. The Music Hall is an open, salon-style space that has all the resources that a writer might need. We are aiming to keep The Music Hall free to writers, and open 7 days a week including nights.

DGF Emergency Grants, one of our founding programs, provides emergency financial aid to writers in need across the U.S. Many recipients exist in our country’s lowest socio-economic brackets with 43% of Emergency Grant recipients living outside the Greater New York Area. They are living without health insurance or stable income to address emergencies when they arise. Our goal is to provide financial aid to all applicants who qualify. Since the start of the pandemic, DGF has awarded over $3.1 million.


DGF Fellows, our year-long intensive for emerging dramatists, accepts a diverse class of storytellers every year. We aim to continue the program and grow it to include more writers. Since the program’s inception in 2000, we have bolstered the careers of roughly 200 writers. 44% are female-identifying. As a result of strategic outreach initiatives, DGF has raised the percentage of Fellows of color from 11% in 2000 to 54% in 2020. DGF Fellows has propelled the careers of such notable voices of color as Chisa Hutchinson (2015 Lanford Wilson Award recipient), Rajiv Joseph (2010 Pulitzer Finalist), Michael R. Jackson (2017 Jonathan Larson Grant Recipient), and Antoinette Nwandu (Whiting Award Recipient).

DGF will target sustainable growth among a younger demographic.
Host a series of smaller events, remotely and live, targeting writers starting out their careers, including DGF Fellows, that expand DGF’s national reach and open opportunities for new donor acquisition.
Partner on events with other theater related groups that cater to younger audiences.
Expand DGF’s digital reach through social media platforms that speak directly to younger audiences.

DGF will clarify its work and mission within the theater community.
Identify financial grants and other programming that will amplify DGF as a resource for writers and shape the narrative with media outlets.

DGF will diversify its current sources of funding
Develop research pipeline and prospecting for foundation support- including leverage board member relationships in the foundation and corporate world (relationship building)
Develop and expand earned revenue opportunities, create other revenue sources
Research and expand opportunities in virtual fundraising.

DGF will create a portfolio of related programming centering the
needs of a diverse community of writers in as many geographical locations
as possible to ensure a national reach.
DGF will redesign COVID-19 Emergency Grants to meet transitional/post-pandemic needs of the DGF community.
Revise application and eligibility process to ensure greater equity and minimize bias in granting programs.






















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.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    Dramatists Guild Foundation (DGF) is a national charity that fuels the future of American theater by supporting the writers who create it. DGF fosters playwrights, composers, lyricists, and librettists at all stages of their careers. We sponsor educational programs; provide awards, grants, and stipends; offer free space to create new works; and give emergency aid to writers in need. By supporting and nurturing the creators of today, we protect the stories of tomorrow.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person), Constituent (client or resident, etc.) advisory committees, Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, 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,

  • What significant change resulted from feedback?

    Steven Schwartzberg Grants for Mental Health and Wellness expanded to provide unrestricted grants so writers could choose the mental health services/providers that were most helpful to them. This change was based on feedback from writers during our pilot phase in 2020/2021. Added, “DGF serves all dramatists based in the United States, regardless of their immigration status." Translated Emergency Grants web page and instructions to Spanish

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our community partners,

  • How has asking for feedback from the people you serve changed your relationship?

    Asking for and receiving feedback has made our organization better. We have asked theater writers what would be most helpful to them, especially during Covid, and have expanded our Emergency Grants program to include grants for Housing Assistance and Mental Health and Wellness.

  • 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 act on the feedback we receive, We tell the people who gave us feedback how we acted on their feedback, We ask the people who gave us feedback how well they think we responded,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

DRAMATISTS GUILD FOUNDATION
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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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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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  • 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.

DRAMATISTS GUILD FOUNDATION

Board of directors
as of 07/19/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Andrew Lippa

Composer, Lyricist

Term: 2015 - 2023

Kevin Hager

Hager Advisors

Susan Laubach

Author, Playwright

Joesph Bierman

Sales and Marketing Consultant

Gretchen Cryer

Playwright, Lyricist

C. Graham Berwind, III

Berwind Corporation

Gary DiCenzo

Cognios Capital

Elizabeth Dewberry

Broadway Producer, Lyricist, Author

Louise Evins

Evins Communications

Eleni Gianulis

Hyphenate Creative Management

Michael Gordon

Baker & Hostetler LLP

Roe Green

Roe Green Foundation

Branden Jacobs-Jenkins

Playwright

Donald Loftus

Playwright, Librettist and Lyricist

Lin-Manuel Miranda

Composer, Lyricist, Actor

Barbara Olcott

Director Emeritus of Great Waters Music Festival

Benj Pasek

Composer

Justin Paul

Composer

Peter Ratray

Actor, Director, Teacher

Harris Schwartzberg

The Schwartzberg Cos.

Doug Wright

Playwright

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 6/23/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
White/Caucasian/European
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

No data

Equity strategies

Last updated: 06/14/2022

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 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 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 use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • 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 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.