McCarter Theatre Center is the recipient of a $300,000 grant from the James E. and Diane W. Burke Foundation, one of the largest grants in support of educational initiatives in the organization’s history.
The three-year grant will be used to launch a new phase of growth for McCarter’s education and engagement programs to reach more people in the community.
“We’re so pleased to support McCarter in this way,” said McCarter Trustee and Burke Foundation Officer James Burke. “The arts have such meaning for me, and for the foundation, and have a larger role to play in the development of tomorrow’s citizens and leaders. The Burke Foundation is excited to partner with McCarter Theatre’s education and engagement programs to bring the richness of the theatrical experience to children who would otherwise not be able to enjoy the magic of theater.”
The first year of the grant will support arts access and participation to underserved students across the state. Responding to an ever-growing need for arts organizations to fulfill essential core curriculum standards, funding will be used to strengthen McCarter’s existing in-school programs across the region including those at Trenton Central High School, New Brunswick Regional Schools, Middlesex County Vocational Technical High School, Princeton Public Schools, and Trenton’s Grace Dunn Middle School, among others.
The funding will allow McCarter to substantially increase the number of fully-subsidized tickets to student matinees and provide bus funding to schools for whom transportation cost is the primary barrier to arts access. While McCarter has long been committed to offering financial aid for after school theatre classes and summer theatre camps, the Burke Foundation gift will also significantly increase the pool of available scholarship funds for qualifying families.
McCarter will also create new programming in partnership with community organizations including Eden Autism Services, Homefront, and Princeton Community Housing. By the end of the first year.
“We salute the vision and the investment the Burke Foundation has made in the community and in McCarter,” McCarter Theatre Artistic Director Emily Mann said. “The support of the arts offered by this grant means that over the three-year period thousands of young people in the area will be able to have meaningful participation in the performing arts.”
McCarter Theatre Center, the largest arts organization in the greater Princeton area, launched a major reorganization of its education and engagement programming efforts in the fall of 2013, with a strong focus on community access. Through after-school classes, in-school residencies, adult education classes, community partnerships and more, McCarter is working to bring arts education to the region.
“Theatre education increases creativity, collaboration, and artistry among participants, and we are thrilled that so many more young people from diverse economic backgrounds will have the chance to experience the kind of learning and growth our programs are designed to provide,” said Erica Nagel, director of education and engagement for McCarter. “Through transportation funding, ticket subsidies, expanded in-school programs, new community partnerships, and increased scholarship money, the generosity and vision of the Burke Foundation has made it possible to address the areas identified as the most significant barriers to youth arts participation and access in our community.”