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EdTA Introduces New Fundraising Arm, the Educational Theatre Foundation

Statement from Julie Cohen Theobald, EdTA Executive Director and Debbie Corbin, EdTA Board President

In 1929, the founders of the International Thespian Society had a vision to bring new levels of recognition to theatre in schools, and since then we have inducted over 2.3 million students into the honor society. In 1989, our organization rebranded under the umbrella of the Educational Theatre Association (EdTA) to bring support to teachers and increase advocacy and public awareness about the value of curricular theatre.

Now we mark a new step with the launch of the Educational Theatre Foundation, which has been formed as the fundraising arm of EdTA, to provide financial support to enhance theatre education and to expand access to school theatre programs for every student.

Starting in 2018, you will see all fundraising efforts of the organization come from the Educational Theatre Foundation. It will use separate budgets and restricted accounts to ensure that all donations to ETF are directed to philanthropic efforts. No member dues are spent on charitable programs. Unrestricted donations to this year’s annual fund will be directed to ETF to begin our momentum.

We have established the groundwork but are only at the beginning stages of a coordinated effort to secure significant funding to help theatre teachers build and advance their programs.

Julie will continue to serve as the Executive Director of the Educational Theatre Association, and also in a new capacity as President of the Educational Theatre Foundation. Check out the new website at

ETF funding priorities will include:

  • JumpStart Theatre — a program that builds sustainable musical theatre programs in underserved middle schools that previously had none. We are beginning the national expansion of JumpStart Theatre from the pilot program in Cincinnati to the next two cities in 2018: San Diego and St. Louis.
  • Need-based grants to schools — to provide teaching and performance resources and equipment in under-resourced schools. Examples include Send a Troupe to Festival, New Troupe Charter Grants, and new & expanded competitive grants to respond to specific school needs
  • Merit and need-based grants to individuals — to nurture the next generation of theatre teachers and artists. Examples include scholarships, Playworks, Musicalworks, Democracyworks, and professional development grants

ETF has an outstanding team to bring the vision to life. They all share a common passion for the positive impact of theatre on a student’s success in college, career, and life, including: a National Board of Trustees, an Honorary Board, and an Advisory Board.


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