USITT Announces New Fund-Raising Campaign - Setting the Next Stage

by Stage Directions
USITT has started a new fund-raising campaign, Setting the Next Stage
USITT has started a new fund-raising campaign, Setting the Next Stage

Technology Institute to Raise More Than a Half-Million Dollars Before Its 60th Anniversary

At the Annual Meeting of the USITT membership on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, a major fund-raising initiative was announced that will culminate with the Institute’s 60th anniversary in 2020. The campaign, Setting the Next Stage, was announced by Immediate Past President Mark Shanda.

Setting the Next Stage seeks to raise a minimum of $600,000 to meet the goals of improved financial liquidity, security and stability for the Institute, through increasing the values of four well-established USITT funds.

— Increase the Edward F. Kook Fund by $100,000 to support new, original and imaginative research to benefit the entertainment industry.

— Increase the Samuel Scripps Fund by $100,000 to support member opportunities abroad by providing funding for the U.S. entry in the Prague Quadrennial, sponsored by USITT, support for individual members entry and participation in World Stage Design, and funding travel grants for international activities.

— Increase the New Century Fund by $200,000 to increase and secure our student and young professional awards programs. The Institutes’ major diversity and inclusion activities, safety outreach initiatives, and mentoring programs are all supported by New Century Fund gifts.

— Increase the USITT Fund by $200,000 to expand the financial base securing the future of USITT. Only the investment income earned by the USITT Fund’s principal can be used and these fund donations are seen as having a “forever impact.”

In addition, the campaign seeks to double the number of contributors participating in the Loft Block Society, the Institute’s planned giving program.

Shanda reported that, prior to the Setting the Next Stage announcement, $337,000 has already been pledged.

“We are intensely grateful to those who have already pledged their support,” said Executive Director David Grindle. “These leading individual and corporate partners have shown incredible generosity. Their gifts will help us secure additional gifts and they will also play an important role in ensuring that USITT will enter into its second 60 years as a strong and vital organization.”

In addition to being able to make a one-time gift or a multi-year pledge on the website,, the Institute also rolled out a text-to-give program that allows individuals to text USITT to 444999 to make a gift using their credit card.

Lea Asbell-Swanger, Bill Byrnes, Michael Murphy, Sylvia Hillard Pannell, Carolyn Satter, and Mark Shanda are serving as co-chairs of the Setting the Next Stage campaign, noted Institute President Dan Culhane.

“We are grateful for the hard work of these six individuals and for their continued dedication to the Institute,” said Culhane. “With their leadership, I am sure that Setting the Next Stage will be an incredible success.

Further information from USITT: