Stepping Stone Grant Program

In 2018, we interviewed theatre companies of all sizes from the Chicago area to understand the greatest needs in the theatre community. What we heard was that opportunities for growth are often fleeting, and theatre companies struggle to raise enough money before the opportunity evaporates. We support companies at critical moments in their growth by providing significant gifts over three years to allow opportunities to blossom. Our belief is that by investing in arts organizations in this way we will allow them to quickly reach new heights on their own terms.


Applications Closed

Awardees have been announced for our 2018 Stepping Stone Grants.

Applications for our 2019 Awards will be available in the Fall. Please check back for more details about timing and requested information.

Chiara Mangiameli and Rick Bayless in Lookingglass Theatre Company’s production of Cascabel, 2014. Photo by Liz Lauren.

2018 Bayless Family Foundation Application Guidelines:

The Bayless Family Foundation supports established Chicago Theatre organizations who have a vision for growth institutionally and artistically.  Therefore, we would like to announce the inaugural Stepping Stone Grant.  Chicago theatre organizations must meet with the following guidelines to be eligible to apply:
  • Be a registered 501(c)3 organization presenting theatre in the Chicago area. 
  • Have produced a season of work for a minimum of 5 consecutive years.
  • Have an annual budget of at least $250,000.

Our Grant:

Up to $150,000 to be paid out over 3 years.  The intent of the grant is to build the capacity of the awarded organization.  
*It should be noted that these grants are highly competitive, and we expect more qualified applicants than can be supported.
We are accepting proposals November 26th through December 28th and we will contact recipients in January.

2018 Bayless Family Foundation Application Questions:

Name of Organization *
Your Name * 
Email *
Mailing Address *(Street Address, City, State, Zip Code)
Is this address also your performance space? *
Are you an Itinerant company?
Performance Venue Address (if different from mailing address) (Street Address, City, State, Zip Code)
Do you present a season of theatre productions in the Chicago area? *
Has your company been in continuous operation of the above for at least 5 years? *
What year were you founded? *
Total Budget of Current Fiscal Year: *
Current Fiscal Year end date: *
Are you an ALAANA arts organization? *
Number of full-time staff: *
Total number of annual employees: *
Amount Requested: *
If you were to receive our grant, how would you use the award money in your yearly budget to remove a barrier and sustain the vitality of the organization? *
Please attach your IRS Form 990 from 2017
Please attach your IRS Form 990 from 2016
Please attach your IRS Form 990 from 2015