Lighting Grants for HS Theatre


Question to those who may have a clue, or cna use google better than i can.
I've been working primearily in a fair size HS Auditorium, built and originally wired in the 60's, since i started, which is liek 7 years when i was in 6th grade. Anyway, as a high school senior, id love to leave someting cool behind that i can say i put the effor into getting, so im wondering if there are any grants that you guys know of for replacing old electricc


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First off the racial and economic makeup of your school is critical. If your school is a white middle class school it's going to be very hard to find money you qualify for. That's just the way it is. If you are that kind of school I would skip grants and look at putting on a big fund raising event first. A local high school located in a very average white middle class neighborhood has a huge dinner and auction that they do every year which raises over $20,000 a year. It's more work than free money but it's probably a much better way to invest your time as you are more likely to get money this way.

The school I used to teach at was 23% white and 60% on welfare... grants were very easy to get. So if your school has a fairly high minority population or if you are in an economically disadvantaged area then I would say go after grants. I would start by looking at local art's commissions. Here both the city and county have arts commissions who give out lots of $1k-$5k grants every year. My old school had a three year federal grant that was for a total of $2,000,000 at one point. This was a school wide grant to internationalize the curriculum and brought tons of opportunities into the whole school. Between the giant federal pots and the smaller local pots of money there are always local companies who support the arts. I would go to the nearest large theaters and get a copy of their program or check out their websites. Odds are you'll find several foundations that donate money to all the theaters in your area. Contact those foundations about supporting the arts in your school.

Having a tax exempt 501(c)3 status could be VERY helpful to you in doing this. It's not something you can do alone... but it's not that hard to setup. Basically you set up a booster club that people can donate to in order to get a tax deduction. Giving money directly to your school is not considered a tax deductible charitable contribution by the IRS, you need that 501(c)3 status. If your school band or football team has a booster club it's likely they have this status already. At my school we reorganized the status to be a performing arts booster organization so that Band, Choir, and Drama could all take advantage of the status without the work of having 3 separate groups of parents running the organization.

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