LHAT is Committed to Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, & Belonging

Updated 08.15.2023

LHAT DEIB Iniatives

The League of Historic American Theatre's approach to diversity is simple: it's about embracing everyone. We are cultivating a culture where all members, staff and volunteers can bring their best selves to the conversation, and everyone feels welcome and heard at all League events. Achieving this is the hard part, and we will continue to work each day to get better.

July 2018 - LHAT presents three sessions at the national conference dealing with diversity and equity:
  • Breaking Barriers: Diversity in Arts Leadership and Programming
  • Impact and Equity: Historic Theatres and Two Collective Impact Initiative Models
  • Women Who Wow: How to create, encourage or be a leader who sees beyond gender
July 2019 - LHAT presents a session at the national conference in Philadelphia:
  • New Ways to Diversify and Expand Your Audience
January 2020
  • LHAT Board of Directors participate in diversity, equity and inclusion training with Equity Quotient
July 2020
  • LHAT offers DEI training to 50 members during its virtual conference
January 2021
  • LHAT Board of Directors participate in additional DEI training with Equity Quotient
July 2021
  • LHAT offers "Raise Your EQ: Racism 101" presented by Equity Quotient during second virtual conference
July 2022 - LHAT offers DEIB sessions at its national conference in Cleveland:
  • Those People: How a historic theatre and youth arts activist transformed a community
  • Special Plenary Session: Social Justice and Equity an abbreviated presentation of "To My White Friends Who Know Me" produced by Karamu House in association with Dr. Deborah Plummer
July 2023 - LHAT offers DEIB sessions at its national conference in Kansas City:
  • The Jayhawk Theatre offers a special DEIB presentation during the pre-conference Ramble
  • Building Cultural Bridges in a Small Rural Community session presented by Tibbits Opera House
  • Transforming Memberships & Donor Programs to Advance Equity and Social Justice session presented by Paramount Austin, TX
  • Networking Sessions on shows and films that have now become politicized as well as an interactive version of the Building Cultural Bridges in a Small Rural Community.

LHAT Announces DEIB Initiative With $10,000 Grants

Our latest effort begins August 16, 2023 as we announce three $10,000 DEIB grants available to theatre members in good standing.

What would you do to advance DEIB efforts at your organization if you were given $10,000? Would you educate your staff? Would you offer new programming? Would you strive to see greater diversity around your boardroom? Maybe there is an underserved population within your community whose voices need to be amplified. Could your stage be their megaphone?

The League is now accepting proposals for DEIB initiatives that can be achieved with at least a $10,000 grant. Budgets can be larger than the grant amount. There are only three grants to be given, one to each of the following categories: live performances spaces with budgets exceeding $1 million, live performance spaces with budgets under $1 million, and film houses of any size. You will be competing with the very best historic theatres in the nation. We can't wait to see what you propose.

  • August 16, 2023 - Application Portal Opens.
  • October 1, 2023 - Deadline to apply is midnight (PT).
  • December 2023 - Awardees will be notified and monies disbursed.
  • January-July 2024 - DEIB projects must begin, however, the work can continue past July. You simply must be far enough along in your work to be able to give a presentation about your efforts at the LHAT National Conference in July. (place and time TBA)
  • December 2024 - Projects completed, and a final report submitted to LHAT in the form of an article for the InLeague Magazine.

The LHAT DEIB Grant Initiative was born out of a desire to foster the long-held belief that the arts have the power to change stereotypes, open minds and heal hearts. Our membership of almost 400 historic theatres and 70+ service providers touch tens of millions of artists, patrons, and employees each year.

The League has a proven record of disseminating best practices and creating networking opportunities so that theatre operators can learn from one another. Simply put: What starts here could truly change the world.

We know that what you think might happen might not happen the way you envisioned, or it might not happen at all. Start with a good idea. If it doesn't work, that's okay. We can all learn from what worked as well as what didn't.

  1. If we are paying our membership in monthly installments, can we still apply?
    Yes. You may apply if your payment installments are up to date.
  2. If we operate as a for-profit, can we still apply for a grant?
    Yes. However, as a for-profit entity you will be receiving funds for services rather than a grant. LHAT will be paying you to develop a DEIB program that can be presented at the national conference. You will be responsible for any taxes owed just as you would for any other earned revenue you receive.
  3. What if our theatre is not open and/or operating yet? Can we still apply?
    Yes. DEIB work can begin as you prepare for your eventual re-opening. Maybe this work will help galvanize your community around your opening.
  4. How does LHAT define DEIB work?
    Actually, the question is how YOU define DEIB work. Theatres operate differently in different communities. We leave it up to you to define what DEIB means for your organization within the community you serve. We are open-minded to many possibilities that might exist.
  5. Can an Allied Member or Subscriber Member apply?
    No. These grants are currently only available to Theatre Members in good standing.
  6. What if my project will cost more than $10,000?
    You are welcome to match this grant with any other funding opportunities. Your project budget must be at least $10,000 but you can use this grant as part of a large initiative. Just keep in mind the stated deadlines if you are waiting on additional funding. You must have begun your work in January of 2024.
  7. Do I need to be a 501(c)3 organization?
    No. But you do need to be able to accept revenues and track your expenditures. The League expects to see an accounting of how funds were used/spent. If you are not operating as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, please consult with an accountant or other financial advisors to ensure that you understand the tax and legal ramifications of accepting a grant or funds for service (see #2).
What you need to gather before you go online to apply for a Grant:

Important: you will not be able to save your work and come back to it. The online application is not long, but once you begin you must be prepared to finish before logging off. Here is what you will need, before you go online:

  • DEIB is the accepted initialization for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion and Belonging. Please begin your application by defining those four concepts as interpreted by your organization. Please limit your answer to approximately 320 words.
  • Your current annual operating budget/total expenses
  • Number of FT employees
  • Number of PT employees
  • Number of Volunteers
  • Estimated number of annual events
  • Your community (service area) demographics:
    • Population size
    • Racial % breakdown (Asian, Black, Latino, Middle Eastern, Multi-Racial, Native American, White, etc.)
  • A narrative about your DEIB initiative limited to 1,200 words and saved as a PDF file
    • Ideally, we would fund projects that could be replicated by other theatres or at least inspire other theatres to pursue their DEIB goals. Be sure to include how you will measure success. We know that what you think might happen might actually not happen the way you envisioned, or it might not happen at all. Start with a good idea. If it doesn't work, that's okay. We can all learn from what worked as well as what didn't. And remember, you are defining DEIB based on your organization and your community. We are open to differing interpretations. Important: Make sure the name of your organization is written at the top or in the header of your document.
  • A simple budget for your project:
    • Please show us any revenues (if any) that you expect beyond this grant and all expenses associated with this project. The project must be at least $10,000, but you can submit a larger budget if you plan to match this grant with other funding. Please convert an Excel spreadsheet or Word document to PDF to submit your budget. We can only take a pdf file. Important: Make sure the name of your organization is written at the top or in the header of your document.
  • If you are operating as a non-profit, please upload any one (only one) of the following: your most recent audit, your most recent 990 or your most recent financial statements. If you are unable to do that, please upload a document explaining your situation. File types can be pdf, doc, docx, png, jpg, or gif.
  • Please understand, that if given a grant, you (or a representative from your organization) will be expected to register and attend (at your own expense) the 2024 LHAT National Conference (location TBD) and participate in a panel discussion about the DEIB work you have done. (You can budget to use up to $500 of this grant to offset expense to attend the conference.)

To Apply for a Grant: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/LHATDEIB2023