theatreWashington has announced that effective today, December 17, 2012, Taking Care of Our Own is accepting applications from theatre professionals to assist with unforeseen emergency needs. After a period of building the initial capital through a variety of fundraising initiatives, theatreWashington is launching its application - and gifting - process.
Inspired by programs such as Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids, Taking Care of Our Own is an initiative born to meet a critical need in the Washington community by allocating emergency funds to area theatre artists and professionals who work for the love of the art and not the paycheck.
Linda Levy Grossman, President & CEO of theatreWashington stated, "Rarely does a week go by without hearing about a colleague in crisis, facing financial difficulties, with nowhere to turn. This theatre community and those who support it keenly understand those situations. We're here to help."
From its first moments, Taking Care of Our Own has been a group effort. With more than 25 theatres partnering with theatreWashington to fill the coffers, Taking Care of Our Own continues to grow, ensuring that the program will provide the maximum assistance possible. Funds have been raised by company members making personal appeals following a performance; at the Summer Hummer this past August assembled by Signature Theatre's Eric Schaeffer and Matthew Gardiner; and through sales of merchandise in area theatres and online. Those funds will now be appropriated through an easy and accessible application available online at www.theatrewashington.org.
Any theatre artist or professional residing and working in the Washington DC metropolitan area may apply for this emergency financial assistance. Taking Care of Our Own funding may be provided for medical or personal emergencies, "for something that's catastrophic, unprepared for, and maybe falls between periods of employment," said Janet Griffin, Artistic Producer at the Folger Theatre and member of the Taking Care of Our Own Advisory Panel which will be overseeing the allocation of all gifts.
Griffin added, "People don't think of the fact that [theatre artists] don't have a steady paycheck. Theatre professionals are not just magical people on the stage. They have to pay the electrical bills just like everyone else; they have accidents and need care."
The Advisory Panel includes Schaeffer and Griffin, as well as Rebecca Ende, Managing Director of Theater J; Bill Largess, Producing Artistic Director of the Washington Stage Guild; Mary Resing, Artistic Director of Active Cultures Theatre; and Brad Watkins, Theatre Services Director of theatreWashington.
"Taking Care of Our Own is fueled by an extraordinarily generous spirit among this theatre community," said Ms. Grossman. "This is a way for theatres, professionals, and audiences to come together to demonstrate our collective support of Washington theatre and those who make it happen."