The Black Seed is a first-ever national strategic plan to create impact and thrivability for Black theater institutions, unprecedentedly conceptualized and led by the Black theater field. The Black Seed is a force for systemic change in the arts and culture world: a national Think Tank of Black theater institutional leaders; a fund seeded by a collective of funders; National Leadership Circle for major donors to invest in Black theater institutions across the nation; The Black Seed Cohort comprised of national networks and coalitions; and a national marketing campaign to tell the story of Black theater in America.

The Black Seed embodies the profound words of Richard Wright, as we - the Black theater field - fling [ourselves] into the unknown . . . to see if we could grow differently, if we could drink of new and cool rains, bend in strange winds, respond to the warmth of other suns and, perhaps, to bloom.


Black Theater institutions shape our national narrative and public discourse. Yet, inequities persists. Of the $4 billion in philanthropic support from foundations to arts organizations, 58% of that goes to the largest 2% of organizations; all white-led. The other 98% of organizations split the last 42% and arts organizations serving communities of color shared only 4% of that pie. The median budget size of the 20 largest arts organization of color surveyed by the DeVos Institute is 90% smaller than their mainstream counterparts, and more than half of these organizations were operating in 2013 with budget deficits. Black theater is at a critical moment. Over 600 Black theater institutions existed from 1961-1982. Many are described as having a “meteoric existence” with few surviving a decade and even fewer celebrating 15-year anniversaries.


The Black Seed Think Tank will consist of Black theater institutional leaders who will receive one-to-three years of investment in impact initiatives and who will convene annually to set an agenda for moving the Black theater field towards greater thrivability.


The Black Seed is a synergistic solution to a long-standing problem of inequitable structures and systems; we are greater - as a sector - than the sum of our individual parts.