Arts, Culture, and Humanities


If you had a room full of people willing to listen to you, what would you say?

aka The Listening, Inc.

Lynchburg, VA


The mission is to engage, change and save lives with the performing arts through community engagement and youth mentoring. There is a community where arts advocacy, social justice, and youth mentoring connect; where young people are encouraged to take notice of the world around them and engage passionately and with purpose. The Listening aspires to be that safe place, where young people are engaged to use the performing arts to ask questions, develop answers, perform with purpose and change the world around them.

Ruling Year



Nicholas Steven George

Main Address

P.O. Box 515

Lynchburg, VA 24504 USA


arts and culture, youth mentoring, community engagement





Cause Area (NTEE Code)

Arts Service Activities/Organizations (A90)

Adult, Child Matching Programs (O30)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS Filing Requirement

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

Social Media

Programs + Results

What we aim to solve New!

The Listening exists because the performing arts still desire to be recognized as a transformative resource. Amid an almost non-existent local spoken word scene, we began by highlighting local creatives such as Anne Spencer in the legacy of the Harlem Renaissance, 1960s Civil Rights Movement, and beyond. Our immediate challenge was to educate our community, showcasing the potential for arts to give expression to deep truths of young people. We managed this by strategically placing events at venues all around the city and collaborating with key stakeholders. We leveraged our evolving brand to garner support from civic and creative leaders, who in turn have introduced larger numbers into our orbit.

Our programs

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

After-School Programming

CDF Freedom Schools

Where we workNew!

Charting Impact

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

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What is the organization aiming to accomplish?

What are the organization's key strategies for making this happen?

What are the organization's capabilities for doing this?

How will they know if they are making progress?

What have and haven't they accomplished so far?

Outside of our events, we also see that there is much work to be done to engage our community. We seek to provide workshops and trainings that equip people with skills that allow them to creative tools to navigate through life. There are parts of life that don’t always need a stage as much as it requires a group of people willing to listen. We hope to also provide support groups for young creatives who are experiencing battles with anxiety, depression and suicidal ideation, identity crises, and more. We also aim to be a part of our young people's experience in the school setting through assemblies and after-school and summer programming, using empirically based curriculum that places the power of the art of literature and spoken word poetry front and center.

Since the beginning, the bedrock of The Listening has been in facilitating a platform that allows the community to come together, artist and audience alike. Using the performing arts as our primary model of impact, we have been hosting open mic sessions since 2013, where people from all around the city have experienced something worth listening to. In addition to these open mic sessions, The Listening has also hosted various movie screenings, featuring films and documentaries that display the impact that the arts have had on our culture and that speak directly to the human experience. Through developing strategic relationships with creative volunteers, local businesses, national organizations, The Listening has a bold vision to see our community changed by socially minded artists who have a burden to use their talent, time, and passion to change the world around them, as well as the world inside of them. We believe that the road towards a better tomorrow is best accomplished together.

The Listening has introduced the local community to the intersection of performing arts and social impact by hosting over 40 events contributing to local creative culture. We engage through open mic sessions, film screenings with moderated discussions, and potlucks with facilitated table conversations around topics relevant to the common good. Our foundational events are themed open-mic sessions that invite artists from the local community and curated signature events including local and national artists. We’ve brought more than 75 artists before more than 750 audience members. We’ve collaborated with many local and national organizations to display the power of the performing arts.

We mark our progress by reflecting on our mission: Engaging Lives: We want to see our community become more interactive across lines of political affiliation, gender identity, sexual orientation, generational gaps, or religious denomination, informing how individuals see the world around them. Changing Lives: We want to contribute to a shift in the perception of the performing arts, and participate in its function as a transformative resource, informing how individuals view themselves within varied social and cultural systems. Saving Lives: We want to be a part of the (performing) arts being utilized in a cathartic, compassionate, and therapeutic capacity, informing how individuals see themselves.

The Listening has recently been listed as one of Lynchburg's outstanding nonprofit organizations for Lynchburg Living Magazine's 2017 Giving Back Awards. The Listening has been identified as one of Lynchburg's Partners in Education, a mutually beneficial program that provides an important way for all who have a stake in Lynchburg City Schools to make a contribution. The Listening continues to champion the cause for lives who have been changed by the performing arts, building a growing base of supporters and volunteers who believe in its mission and contribute to its vision by advocating and participating the ever-evolving local creative community.

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Board Leadership Practices

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


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?



Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year?



Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year?



Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership?



Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years?


Organizational Demographics

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SOURCE: Self-reported by organization


Race & Ethnicity

Sexual Orientation

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This organization reports that it does not collect this information for Board Members.

Diversity Strategies

We track retention of staff, board, and volunteers across demographic categories
We track income levels of staff, senior staff, and board across demographic categories
We track the age of staff, senior staff, and board
We track the diversity of vendors (e.g., consultants, professional service firms)
We have a diversity committee in place
We have a diversity manager in place
We have a diversity plan
We use other methods to support diversity