LENOX, MA (August 3, 2021) — WAM Theatre is proud to be one of the 20 nonprofit organizations awarded a Community Investments for Greater Change grant from the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM)

WFWM distributed grants through this initiative to WAM and other organizations working with women and girls whose work aligns with one or more of these strategic pillars: economic security; freedom from gender-based violence, harassment, and harm; and, parity in positions of leadership, representation, and power.

“As a professional theatre company operating at the intersection of arts and activism, WAM is thrilled to be among the awardees of this prestigious grant,” said Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM Theatre Producing Artistic Director. “We have long admired how the Women’s Fund of Western MA operates and the equitable process implemented during this granting process serves as an excellent model for all of us who are in the work of community investment.” 

In fulfillment of WAM’s philanthropic mission, the organization donates a portion of the proceeds from their Mainstage productions to carefully selected beneficiaries. Since WAM’s founding in 2010, they have donated more than $80,000 to 22 local and global organizations taking action for gender equity in areas such as girls education, teen pregnancy prevention, sexual trafficking awareness, midwife training, and more. 

“Funding distributed through these three grants programs allow us to continue addressing the issues in our community that were identified in our 2019 Status of Women and Girls in Western Massachusetts report,” said Nicole Young, community investments manager for the Women’s Fund.

That report highlighted challenges faced by women and girls of color, many of which live in poverty and struggle with depression and teen pregnancy at higher rates than white females. It also showed that women in general are less represented than their male counterparts in politics, health care and higher education positions. In an effort to further racial equality many grants were awarded to organizations led by women and Black, Indigenous, and people of color.

“We’re excited to have an opportunity to support the work of 20 organizations that are within our entire footprint, which touches all of the four counties in Western Massachusetts, with over 50% of them led by Black, Indigenous, and People of Color,” Young said. “Through this work, we anticipate fostering new beginnings for women and their families and to help local organizations build capacity and further their missions.”

In line with this work, WAM is excited to  conclude their 2021 season from October 7-24 with the fall Mainstage production of KAMLOOPA by Kim Senklip Harvey. This high energy story follows two young urban Indigenous sisters and their encounter with a spirited shapeshifter en route to the largest powwow on the West Coast. For tickets and more information about the 2021 Season and WAM Theatre’s programs, events, and artists, please visit www.WAMTheatre.com.

WAM 2021 Sponsors

WAM Theatre is supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts through the New England Arts Resilience Fund, part of the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund, an initiative of the U.S. Regional Arts Organizations and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, with major funding from the federal CARES Act for the National Endowment for the Arts.

WAM’s current sponsors include Adams Community Bank, Berkshire Roots, Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Blue Q, Blue Spark Financial, Brabson Library & Educational Foundation, Canyon Ranch, Chez Nous, The Dylandale Foundation, Greylock Federal Credit Union, Haven Cafe and Bakery, Health Professional Coaching, Heller & Robbins, Interprint, Lake House Inn, Lee Bank, Lee Bank Foundation, Only in my Dreams Events, Onyx Specialty Papers, Outpost Productions, Prix Fixe, RB Design Co., The Rookwood Inn, T Square Design Studio, Toole Insurance, and a. von schlegell & co.

WAM Theatre’s 2021 Season is also supported in part by grants from The Berkshire Film and Media Collaborative, Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, Massachusetts Cultural Council, and Mass Humanities. And also by grants from the Dalton Cultural Council, Lee Cultural Council, Lenox Cultural Council, Pittsfield Cultural Council, and the Otis Cultural Council.

ABOUT WAM THEATRE

WAM Theatre is a professional theatre company based in Berkshire County, MA, that operates at the intersection of arts and activism. WAM creates theatre for gender equity and has a vision of theatre as philanthropy. 

In fulfillment of its philanthropic mission, WAM donates a portion of the proceeds from their Mainstage productions to carefully selected beneficiaries. Since WAM’s founding in 2010, they have donated more than $80,000 to 22 local and global organizations taking action for gender equity in areas such as girls education, teen pregnancy prevention, sexual trafficking awareness, midwife training, and more. 

In addition to Mainstage productions and special events, WAM’s activities include innovative community engagement programs and the Fresh Takes Play Reading Series. To date, WAM has provided paid work to more than 500 theatre artists, the majority of whom are female-identifying.

As a civic organization that embraces intersectional feminism (feminism that acknowledges how multiple forms of discrimination overlap), WAM understands that to address one piece of systemic discrimination means we have to address them all. This is on-going personal and professional work at WAM for the staff and board, detailed in their recently released accountability plan.

WAM Theatre has been widely recognized for having a positive impact on cultural and community development in the region. WAM is the recipient of the Creative Economy Standout Berkshire Trendsetter Award and previously, was named Outstanding Philanthropy Corporation of the Year by the Western MA Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Kristen van Ginhoven, WAM’s Producing Artistic Director, was honored by the Berkshire Theatre Critics Association (BTCA) with the prestigious Larry Murray Award, presented at the discretion of the BTCA Board to a person or theatre project that advances social, political, or community issues in Berkshire County. 

For more information, visit www.WAMTheatre.com

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