Dedicated to the art of puppetry.

aka Puppeteers of America   |   Minneapolis, MN   |
GuideStar Charity Check


EIN: 74-6062478


Puppeteers of America is a national non-profit organization founded in 1937 to provide information, encourage performances, and build a community of people who celebrate puppet theatre. We support puppeteers and advance the art of puppetry by presenting knowledge, providing inspiration and promoting preservation. The specific purpose of Puppeteers of America, Inc. is educational. To instruct the public and raise awareness about puppetry as a means of communication, an extension of human expression, and as a performing art. This includes teaching the community about the importance of puppetry as well as enhancing the proficiency of the Art of Puppetry, both professional and amateur, by publications, educational materials, workshops, forums, and festivals.

Ruling year info



Dustin Curtis

Main address

310 East 38th Street Suite 127

Minneapolis, MN 55409 USA

Show more contact info



Subject area info

Arts and culture

Population served info

Children and youth


Economically disadvantaged people

NTEE code info

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Arts, Cultural Organizations - Multipurpose (A20)

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

We provide and preserve historical information, encourage performances and skill-building, and build a community of people who celebrate puppet theatre. We support puppeteers and advance the art of puppetry by presenting knowledge, providing inspiration and promoting preservation. Our mission is to support general and specialist education, and appreciation of the American Puppetry Arts.

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?

National Puppetry Festival

The National Puppetry Festival, organized and produced on the odd years, is where Puppeteers, enthusiasts, educators, friends, and the general public gather to celebrate the puppetry arts and experience the best of American Puppetry. Enthusiasts from all over the country and across the globe come to experience workshops, performances, exhibits, and people. The festival offers an extensive public program, access to artists and an academic symposium for educators focused on Education and Therapy in the puppetry arts.

Puppet festivals are inspiration made real. Imagination brought to life. Creativity shared, bonds made, and friendships forged that will last beyond the festival.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
Economically disadvantaged people

The Puppetry Journal is the official magazine of the Puppeteers of America. It is published four times a year to members of the organization. Each issue is about forty full-color pages.

In each Journal, we produce a mix of articles, photographs, columns and other features – a mix that documents contemporary puppetry and profiles the work of contemporary puppeteers, but also explores the legacy of our historic and fascinating art.

The Puppetry Journal has a 68-year history of providing an ongoing chronicle of American puppetry

Population(s) Served

Puppeteers of America has 8 administrative regions in the United States. On even-numbered years, we appoint a program director to produce a puppetry festival locally in their region. Smaller than a National Festival, these 3-day programs build skill and experience for regional performers and engage a wide variety of the public.

Population(s) Served
Children and youth
At-risk youth
Economically disadvantaged people

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 conferences held

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

Regional Puppet Festivals

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

We re-established four regional puppetry festivals around the United States following the pandemic. We also increased public participation by offering a grant-funded adult short-form puppetry program.

Number of free participants in conferences

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success


Context Notes

We have hosted a new digital programs for World Puppetry Day and a Digital Series: Meet Our Mentor which interviews contemporary puppet artists and explores who inspired them.

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.

-The goals for the end of the 2023 fiscal year is to add 300 members to our current membership and to raise $30,000.00 in donations.
-We wish to increase our free public programming by 50% at the National Festival.
-We want to expand our online offerings by at least two new series.
-We wish to incubate and support a diverse set of puppeteers for the future.

Our strategies are to connect with the public post-pandemic with our National Puppetry Festival. This large-scale event is meant to showcase the puppetry arts and our organization. We are also planning on bringing in support and grants to implement our digital humanities programming. All of this outreach will drive revenue and membership.

PofA is a very strong organization with lots of volunteers. We have been building a digital support network to support the groundbreaking online programming we spearheaded during the pandemic. Zoom Webinar, digital festival attendance, and have experienced entertainment professionals to support and produce our in-person and digital programming.

We now have zoom webinar, an activated Youtube, and support systems for both our National and the regional puppetry festivals. We have also modernized our operations and hired contractors to support new specialist roles.

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 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

  • 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 engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

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


Fiscal year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

Revenue vs. expenses:  breakdown

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info
Note: When component data are not available, the graph displays the total Revenue and/or Expense values.

Liquidity in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 351.12 over 10 years

Months of cash in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 12.6 over 10 years

Fringe rate in 2022 info

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Average of 19% over 10 years

Funding sources info

Source: IRS Form 990

Assets & liabilities info

Source: IRS Form 990

Financial data

SOURCE: IRS Form 990


Revenue & expenses

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Balance sheet

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

The balance sheet gives a snapshot of the financial health of an organization at a particular point in time. An organization's total assets should generally exceed its total liabilities, or it cannot survive long, but the types of assets and liabilities must also be considered. For instance, an organization's current assets (cash, receivables, securities, etc.) should be sufficient to cover its current liabilities (payables, deferred revenue, current year loan, and note payments). Otherwise, the organization may face solvency problems. On the other hand, an organization whose cash and equivalents greatly exceed its current liabilities might not be putting its money to best use.

Fiscal year ending: cloud_download Download Data


Financial trends analysis Glossary & formula definitions

Fiscal Year: Jan 01 - Dec 31

SOURCE: IRS Form 990 info

This snapshot of PUPPETEERS OF AMERICA INC’s financial trends applies Nonprofit Finance Fund® analysis to data hosted by GuideStar. While it highlights the data that matter most, remember that context is key – numbers only tell part of any story.

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Business model indicators

Profitability info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) before depreciation -$108,254 -$50,804 $7,272 $43,751 $1,538
As % of expenses -41.4% -12.5% 3.9% 35.2% 0.7%
Unrestricted surplus (deficit) after depreciation -$108,254 -$50,804 $7,272 $43,751 $1,538
As % of expenses -41.4% -12.5% 3.9% 35.2% 0.7%
Revenue composition info
Total revenue (unrestricted & restricted) $180,962 $379,985 $180,853 $116,886 $235,399
Total revenue, % change over prior year -60.1% 110.0% -52.4% -35.4% 101.4%
Program services revenue 73.6% 80.4% 39.0% 53.7% 40.8%
Membership dues 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Investment income 10.7% 4.8% 7.8% 2.3% 0.4%
Government grants 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 10.6%
All other grants and contributions 15.7% 14.8% 53.1% 41.4% 47.4%
Other revenue 0.1% 0.0% 0.1% 2.6% 0.8%
Expense composition info
Total expenses before depreciation $261,784 $406,973 $186,914 $124,281 $224,180
Total expenses, % change over prior year -45.3% 55.5% -54.1% -33.5% 80.4%
Personnel 20.3% 5.2% 0.0% 0.0% 1.1%
Professional fees 14.4% 28.5% 22.8% 42.3% 31.0%
Occupancy 1.7% 1.1% 2.6% 3.3% 2.0%
Interest 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Pass-through 0.0% 2.9% 25.2% 22.5% 34.6%
All other expenses 63.6% 62.4% 49.4% 31.9% 31.3%
Full cost components (estimated) info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Total expenses (after depreciation) $261,784 $406,973 $186,914 $124,281 $224,180
One month of savings $21,815 $33,914 $15,576 $10,357 $18,682
Debt principal payment $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Fixed asset additions $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Total full costs (estimated) $283,599 $440,887 $202,490 $134,638 $242,862

Capital structure indicators

Liquidity info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Months of cash 7.3 5.2 10.1 17.4 11.5
Months of cash and investments 22.9 15.3 33.7 58.1 29.3
Months of estimated liquid unrestricted net assets 20.0 11.4 25.2 42.1 23.4
Balance sheet composition info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Cash $159,795 $174,877 $156,946 $180,720 $214,571
Investments $340,592 $343,432 $368,626 $421,083 $331,887
Receivables $0 $3,979 $3,979 $3,979 $55,505
Gross land, buildings, equipment (LBE) $0 $0 $0 $0 $0
Accumulated depreciation (as a % of LBE) 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Liabilities (as a % of assets) 0.2% 0.1% 0.1% 5.2% 13.8%
Unrestricted net assets $436,046 $385,242 $392,514 $436,265 $437,803
Temporarily restricted net assets $77,837 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Permanently restricted net assets $17,320 N/A N/A N/A N/A
Total restricted net assets $95,157 $167,359 $167,359 $167,359 $167,359
Total net assets $531,203 $552,601 $559,873 $603,624 $605,162

Key data checks

Key data checks info 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022
Material data errors No No No No No


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

Letter of Determination is not available for this organization
Form 1023/1024 is not available for this organization


Dustin Curtis

Dustin Curtis is the founder of Trivia Puppet Company. Having performed all over the United States and in Italy; Trivia Puppet Company presents new work inspired by training with Teatro Gioco Vita, (Italy), where he studied thanks to a generous UNIMA-USA Education Grant in 2017. An alumnus of the O'Neill National Puppetry Conference, Dustin also studied stop-motion puppet construction and film in Prague. Dustin serves as President on the board of Directors for Puppeteers of America, Since 2021, Dustin founded and presents The annual Puget Sound Puppetry Festival.

Number of employees

Source: IRS Form 990


Officers, directors, trustees, and key employees

SOURCE: IRS Form 990

Show data for fiscal year
Compensation data
Download up to 5 most recent years of officer and director compensation data for this organization

There are no highest paid employees recorded for this organization.


Board of directors
as of 01/17/2023
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board of directors data
Download the most recent year of board of directors data for this organization
Board chair

Dustin Curtis

Trivia Puppet Company LLC

Term: 2023 - 2022

Katrin Blucker Ludwig

Edna Bland

Dustin Curtis

Trivia Puppet Company

Adam Kreutinger

Liz Joyce

Goat on a Boat

Katie Williams

Chris Heady

Brandon Kirkham

Kalob Martinez

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 ? Not applicable
  • 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? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 1/17/2023

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


The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Gender identity
Male, Not transgender
Sexual orientation
Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, or other sexual orientations in the LGBTQIA+ community
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

Transgender Identity

Sexual orientation


Equity strategies

Last updated: 01/17/2023

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

  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • 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.
Policies and processes
  • 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 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.