The Black Seed

The Black Seed embodies the profound words of Richard Wright, as we - the Black theater field - fling [ourselves] into the unknown . . . to see if we could grow

A fundraising campaign for The Billie Holiday Theatre


The Black Seed is a first-ever national strategic plan to create impact and thrivability for Black theater institutions, unprecedentedly conceptualized and led by the Black theater field. The Black Seed is a force for systemic change in the arts and culture world: a national Think Tank of Black theater institutional leaders; a fund seeded by a collective of funders; National Leadership Circle for major donors to invest in Black theater institutions across the nation; The Black Seed Cohort comprised of national networks and coalitions; and a national marketing campaign to tell the story of Black theater in America.

Black Theater institutions shape our national narrative and public discourse. Yet, inequities persists. Of the $4 billion in philanthropic support from foundations to arts organizations, 58% of that goes to the largest 2% of organizations; all white-led. The other 98% of organizations split the last 42% and arts organizations serving communities of color shared only 4% of that pie. The median budget size of the 20 largest arts organization of color surveyed by the DeVos Institute is 90% smaller than their mainstream counterparts, and more than half of these organizations were operating in 2013 with budget deficits. Black theater is at a critical moment. Over 600 Black theater institutions existed from 1961-1982. Many are described as having a “meteoric existence” with few surviving a decade and even fewer celebrating 15-year anniversaries.

The Black Seed is a synergistic solution to a long-standing problem of inequitable structures and systems; we are greater - as a sector - than the sum of our individual parts. 

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