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Give My Regards to Charity: Nonprofits That Support the Performing Arts


In honor of the 55th annual Tony Awards, June 3, 2001, GuideStar salutes nonprofits that support all forms of the performing arts

"I believe in the theater; I believe in it as the first glamorizer of thought. It restores dramatic dynamics and their relations to life size," Sir Laurence Olivier told the House of Lords in 1971.
For the actress Julie Harris, "God comes to us in theater [in] the way we communicate with each other, whether it be a symphony orchestra, or a wonderful ballet, or a beautiful painting, or a play. It's a way of expressing our humanity."

A look at the independent sector shows that many Americans agree with the legendary actor and award-winning actress. Tens of thousands of nonprofit organizations support the performing arts.

Many focus on music, from Bach to the blues, from woodwind ensembles to drum and bugle corps. Others bring amateur or professional theater to their communities. Dance groups offer ballet or modern dance training. Community organizations raise funds to restore historic theaters or build new ones. Libraries sponsor poetry readings.

The organizations reach out to audiences of all kinds. Some produce theatrical events for the entire family. Others sponsor free concerts or art lessons for schoolchildren. Many provide performing opportunities for the physically and mentally challenged.

From preserving ethnic dance and music to sharing religious beliefs, the nonprofits' missions and programs are as rich and varied as the performing arts themselves.


  • Philanthropic Research, Inc. GuideStar database.
  • Simpson, James B., comp. Simpson's Contemporary Quotations. Boston, 1988, nos. 8965, 8947.


suzanne-coffman-150x150.jpgThe preceding post is by Suzanne Coffman, GuideStar’s editorial director. See more of Suzanne’s sector findings and musings on philanthropy here on our blog. 
Topics: Charity Nonprofits Tony Awards