Providing financial relief and support for Washington, DC-area theatre-makers when they need it.
About the Taking Care Fund
Theatre professionals—actors, designers, directors, stage managers, box-office staff, choreographers, administrators, technicians, and more—experience unforeseen personal emergencies like everyone else. But unlike some others, professionals in the arts earnings are rarely proportional to their vital contributions. And like many, they don’t have access to regular health insurance without universal health care in the United States.
In 2012 The Taking Care Fund was established by Theatre Washington to assist area theater professionals in times of unforeseen medical hardship. We offer support in the form of an outright gift that the recipient does not repay.
In March 2020, in response to the pandemic outbreak, we created a microgrant program to provide $500 grants to theatre professionals who faced financial hardship from closings, postponed productions, and other lost wages. Six months later, the Taking Care committee decided to increase gift amounts for up to $5,000 for longer-term expenses like rent coverage, debt relief, and medical care. The average grant in 2021 is $1,500.
Moving forward, we plan to keep the Taking Care program as open and accessible as possible to community members who face various challenges and lack of resources. The Taking Care Fund will stay open to support individuals in the theatre community through personal emergencies, medical emergencies, debt relief, and expenses related to dependent care. Theatre Washington is committed to keeping the Fund open – for applications and donations – for as long as the community needs it, increasing the level of support, and providing a continuous monthly grant cycle. With a generous $100,000 matching gift from The Revada Foundation of the Logan Family, we have set a new goal of raising a total of $1,000,000 for the Taking Care Fund.
Theatre Washington welcomes questions on the Taking Care Fund and its application process. Contact Cody Whitfield at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Applying to the Taking Care Fund
The Taking Care Fund is for area theatre professionals residing and working (currently or within the past two years) in the Washington, D.C. area who have an unforeseen medical or personal emergency, including loss of work. Funding is available in grants ranging from $500 to $5,000, with the average gift estimated to be $1,500. Theatre Washington staff and the Taking Care Advisory Panel review applications every month. Grants are awarded to applicants with the greatest need based on the information provided on the application. The grant amount is determined by the number of applications received. Grantees submit supporting paperwork for payment to be disbursed. If grantees are unable to do so within one year of the date of their grant acknowledgment letter, then the grantee will need to reapply to the Taking Care Fund to be reapproved for funding. The Taking Care Medical Emergency Fund is active for Washington, D.C. area theatre professionals dealing with an unforeseen medical emergency. Funding is available ranging from $500 to $5,000, and applications are reviewed weekly.
Who is the Taking Care Fund for?
If you’re a member of the DC, MD, VA theatre community, then the Taking Care Fund is for you. Actors, designers, directors, stage managers, box-office staff, choreographers, administrators, technicians, playwrights, and more are eligible to apply. Applicants must reside and work in the DC, MD, VA area, or have such credits within the last two years.
What do I need to apply?
An application requires no supplemental documentation, only a completed application (Found here). Please read the questions carefully and answer as many as possible in as much detail as possible. If anything is unclear, Theatre Washington will contact applicants and make updates with any necessary clarifications.
What happens if my grant is approved?
In order to satisfy legal requirements, Theatre Washington gathers documentation that demonstrates need before disbursing funds. Generally speaking, eligible documentation needs to include the grantee’s full name, the name of the billing company, the date, and the amount charged to pass an audit. Usually screenshots of a webpage, email, or app do not meet eligibility criteria. Once documentation has been submitted, Theatre Washington will connect with grantees through www.bill.com in order to disburse funds through direct deposit.
What type of documentation do I need to provide?
Documentation can include living expenses or funds associated with the need demonstrated in the application. The Taking Care COVID-19 Expanded Emergency Relief Fund reimburses for grocery bills, utility bills, phone/internet bills, fully executed current lease agreements, or a rental ledger with an official letterhead or signature. The Taking Care Medical Emergency Fund reimburses for medical invoices, explanations of benefits, receipts from prescribed pills or equipment, or physical therapy. Neither of these lists is all-inclusive, and Theatre Washington will work with you to determine the best documentation to provide for your situation.
Can I send in a credit card statement?
Credit card statements are applicable only if they are itemized; the amount that can be reimbursed are the “Purchases” or “Transactions” made that month.
Why do I need to provide any documentation at all?
Theatre Washington’s financial activities are subject to periodic audits by an independent firm to determine whether it’s acting within its mission or committing fraud that would cause it to lose its 501(c)3 status. Since the pandemic began, Theatre Washington has distributed over $700,000 through the Taking Care Fund. Every cent of it is accompanied by documentation that justifies the community’s need, according to criteria provided by the auditors. If Theatre Washington didn’t request documentation before disbursing funds, then it would be at risk of losing its non-profit status, jeopardizing further rounds of funds from being disbursed.
How long does it take for funds to be disbursed?
Once eligible documentation has been submitted, funds are usually disbursed within ten business days.
Do I need to repay funds that I’ve been awarded?
No. Funds are provided as outright gifts and do not need to be repaid.
Donating to the Taking Care Fund
Theatre Washington announced a new goal to raise one million dollars for the Taking Care Fund, with a generous $100,000 matching gift from The Revada Foundation of the Logan Family. As of August 2021, the Fund has raised over $600,000 from more than 1,200 community donors. The fund is genuinely a community-supported gift to the local theatre industry. Besides direct donations, funds are raised by the yellow bucket brigade collections after local theatre performances. Theatre Washington is a 501c3 organization. The amount of your contribution to the Taking Care Fund is tax-deductible.