What Are The Bank of America ACTivate AWARDS?

Bank of America ACTivate Awards seeks to foster and accelerate a theatre’s efforts to become more equitable, diverse, welcoming, and inclusive to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) individuals and groups.

Theatre Forward and Bank of America have partnered to award the first round of $300,000 to six theatres that will receive grants of $50,000 each for projects that advance Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) initiatives.
The program supports essential work within the theatre and/or projects that are outwardly focused to advance or deepen relationships with the BIPOC community. This is the first of multiple cycles of the Bank of America ACTivate Awards that will be funded by Bank of America.
While most Theatre Forward member theatres have acknowledged the need to become more equitable, diverse, and inclusive, this year the work took on greater urgency. Theatres vowed to change their institutions and take decisive action aimed at transforming their workplaces into more equitable, welcoming, and safe spaces for BIPOC individuals as employees, board members, audience members, and participants in programs.

2021 Bank of America ACTIVATE AWARD RECIpients
Theatres receiving grants in 2021 are Actors Theatre of Louisville (Louisville, KY), American Conservatory Theater (San Francisco, CA), American Repertory Theater (Cambridge, MA), Center Theatre Group (Los Angeles, CA), The Old Globe (San Diego, CA), and Trinity Repertory Company (Providence, RI).

The Bank of America ACTivate Awards are supported by Bank of America, along with the Schloss Family Foundation and The Patti and Rusty Rueff Foundation.
The participating theatres were selected by a panel composed of Stephanie Ybarra, Artistic Director of Baltimore Center Stage; Sandra Gibson, Executive Director at SNF Parkway/Maryland Film Festival; Bill Rauch, Artistic Director of The Ronald O. Perelman Center for the Performing Arts; Kelvin Dinkins, Jr., Assistant Dean and Assistant Professor Adjunct in Theater Management for Yale School of Drama and the General Manager of Yale Repertory Theatre; Eric Ting, Artistic Director of California Shakespeare Theater; and coordinated by consultant Fran Kumin.

History of Grant
This program comes as the next phase after our pilot grant program launched in the spring of 2018 called Advancing Strong Theatre. It was an ambitious initiative to enhance the way theatres engage with and strengthen their local community, deepen relationships, and empower individuals, so that everyone, regardless of income, education, age, race, religion, ability, and/or gender identity, could experience theatre and its benefits.
The 2018 pilot round of grants was awarded to Guthrie Theater, Seattle Rep, Dallas Theater Center, and The Old Globe. It was clear that these projects have made a substantial impact on the lives of their participants, the theatres, and the broader community through storytelling workshops, free-to-public performances, professional tours to community centers, acting workshops, open mics, and other community events.
As a funder of Advancing Strong Theatre, Bank of America knew this work and more had to continue. Now, with an exclusive corporate sponsorship, Bank of America is securing Theatre Forward’s next phase of this grant program on a multi-year basis.

Create. Participate. Captivate. Collaborate. ACTivate.