Mellon Program Assessment

STRATEGY

AMS Planning & Research was engaged by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in March 2017 to conduct an assessment of the Foundation’s 20 year-old New York Theater Program (NYTP) in the context of the Mellon Foundation’s overall mission and goals, and its focus for the Arts and Cultural Heritage program, with the goal of advising the Foundation regarding the future of the program.

AMS began with an analysis of the current and historical NYTP program, studying NYTP documents, grant requirements, grant applications, program evaluations, and grant award data for all grantee organizations over the duration of the program. In an effort to understand the NYTP’s contribution to the theater in New York City, AMS studied the content, missions, goals, and operations of small to mid-sized not-for-profit theater companies, producers, and presenters in New York City, including both Mellon grantees and non-grantees. For comparison, AMS then undertook a field review (interviews and other research) to understand the perception of the role of NYTP funded theaters in providing the field with diverse new works and artists in order to measure the impact of the New York Theater Program.

To supplement the study of theaters in New York City, AMS conducted an extended review of regional theater companies nationwide to understand the role of the NYTP on a national scale, as well as document the pathways of new work and new artists, and funding for new works of theater. Finally, AMS assessed the impact of and future opportunity for small and mid-sized New York City theater enterprises on the greater field. Based on this research, AMS offered key priorities, opportunities, and future-looking recommendations for the scope and operation of the NYTP.

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