Prior to partnering with Elevate, The Theatre Lab (TTL) was a successful organization with 20 years of experience and a well-developed grant program. Despite having strong youth programs that would appeal to funders, they relied primary on arts funding. Moreover, they tended to focus on renewing grant amounts rather than upgrading them. Their executive director, who teaches adult theater classes and runs youth programs in addition to fundraising, did not have the time or energy to expand their existing grant program. While TTL was initially looking to fill their recently vacated part-time grant writer position, Elevate was able to see potential for new funding.
Elevate saw the potential of the Theatre Lab’s youth programming to attract funders outside the arts community. We brought multiple new prospects to each of our biweekly meetings and discussed what aspects of The Theatre Lab’s work most aligned with the funders’ interests. By leveraging our knowledge of other sectors, including education and youth, we helped TTL attract funders interested in social services.
As Deb Gottesman, the Executive Director of TTL says: “With Elevate, you get a crew of dedicated, incredibly knowledgeable professionals who become a high level strategy team for your organization. My conversations with our Elevate team have resulted not only in winning proposals, but also in re-envisioning some of the work that we do in the community to better fit with our own strategic objectives.”
In the past 12 months, Elevate has raised The Theatre Lab over $600,000, a 33% increase in funding from foundation and government grants. Elevate has identified 39 new grant prospects, and as a result, Theatre Lab has had major successes with non-arts funders. Executive directors Deb Gottesman attributes this to the “fresh perspective” Elevate brought to a 20-year old grant program. In the past year, they won five new organizational funders, at least four of which are renewable. This has allowed The Theatre Lab’s executive director to focus more on programming and organizational development.
The Theatre Lab is the largest independent theatre education organization in DC. It makes high-quality dramatic arts instruction accessible to youth and adults in Washington, DC at all experience levels and from all walks of life through adult education classes, a one-year certification program, and training in how to produce original dramatic art.
Having been responsible for our development team for 24 years, I can say unequivocally that teaming up with Elevate is the best decision I made. They are excellent prospectors with savvy approaches to opening closed doors, and the whole process is impeccably driven by their timelines and tracking systems.