Edgeville Buzz

Timeline Theatre Awarded Huge $625,000 Grant


Photo: Timeline Theatre’s bold play “Spill”

It has been quite an amazing and successful year for Timeline Theatre. It was back in August that the announcement was made about the theater’s future home at the old Trumbull school at 5200 N. Ashland Ave. The winning bidder, Svigos Development, gave Timeline the OK to occupy most (if not all) of the first floor of the building.

Now, the Chicago-based John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, which supports non-profit organizations with “exceptional creativity and effectiveness,” has officially given a $625,000 grant to the theater.

The foundation awards millions of dollars annually to selected organizations around the globe and has decided to focus specifically on its hometown of Chicago this year. In a Crain’s Chicago interview, MacArthur President Julia Stasch said, “We’ve been doing this award for a decade, and this is the first time we’ve experimented with a thematic approach as opposed to a broad one through multiple domains across the world.”

In a statement, Timeline Theatre explained how it will use the $625,00 grant:

• 85 percent of the money is to be placed in a restricted, Board of Directors-managed reserved fund, created to provide greater financial stability and to support strategic goals. Management will work with the Executive and Finance committees of the Board to determine appropriate uses. Any money spent out of the fund must have a plan for timely repayment.

• The remaining 15 percent will be spent in the short term to upgrade TimeLine’s woefully inadequate technology infrastructure. Two of the primary goals within the strategic plan involve the company’s internal culture and environment, as well as the experience patrons have with the theater. “We want to provide a work culture for artists, staff, board members and volunteers that embodies professionalism and that facilitates great work. And, we want our patrons to have a seamless experience communicating with us and our art. Upgrading our current telephone system and computer infrastructure is crucial to meet these goals.”

Elizabeth K. Auman, managing director for Timeline Theatre, said, “The confidence that the MacArthur Foundation has shown in TimeLine is truly humbling. As we prepare for our 20th-anniversary season and continue to plan for a new home, this award gives us enormous encouragement, an even more solid foundation, and renewed confidence to take our organization to the next level.”

The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation grants are based on the size of the arts group’s budget. Awardees can receive as much as $1 million per organization. There will be 14 recipients this year, all from Chicago and all in the arts.

Auman added, “I am grateful for the MacArthur Foundation’s commitment to the organizations they support, in ways that go beyond annual operating funds. This award is a representation of that commitment. It provides a one-time infusion of capital to reinforce an organization’s operating and programmatic foundation. And it requires that recipients use a substantial portion of the cash prize for a singular purpose that strengthens the organization over time. It is not for general operating support.”

The complete list of this year’s recipients is as follows:

  • A Red Orchid Theatre ($200,000)
  • Albany Park Theater Project ($400,000)
  • Chicago Film Archives ($200,000)
  • Chicago Jazz Philharmonic ($400,000)
  • Chicago Opera Theater ($800,000)
  • Chicago Sinfonietta ($625,000)
  • Eighth Blackbird ($400,000)
  • Hyde Park Art Center ($625,000)
  • Links Hall ($200,000)
  • Lookingglass Theatre ($1 million)
  • Lucky Plush Productions ($200,000)
  • The Hypocrites ($200,000)
  • TimeLine Theatre ($625,000)
  • Young Chicago Authors ($625,000)


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