The Theater Offensive Awarded $100K Boston Queer Arts Organization Grant

The Theater OffensiveThe Theater Offensive receives $100,000 from the Cummings Foundation
Photo: The Theater Offensive

BOSTON, Mass.—The Theater Offensive is one of 100 local nonprofits to receive a grant of $100,000 each through the Cummings Foundation’s “$100K for 100” program. The Boston-based organization’s youth program, True Colors: Out Youth Theater, was selected from a pool of 479 applicants through a competitive review process.

The Theater Offensive (TTO) works in Boston neighborhoods to create original, groundbreaking works by, for, and about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) community. True Colors: Out Youth Theater is the organization’s longest running program, providing year-round theater programming for LGBTQ and questioning youth and their straight allies, ages 14 to 22. True Colors youth are trained in performing arts skills to create and present original theatrical works based on their lives to schools and community organizations across Massachusetts.

Representatives of The Theater Offensive, Willis Emmons (Vice Chair of the Board of Directors) and Nick Bazo (Director of True Colors program and Associate Director of Programs), will join approximately 300 guests at a June 9 reception at TradeCenter 128 in Woburn to celebrate the $10 million infusion into Greater Boston’s nonprofit sector. With the conclusion of this grant cycle, Cummings Foundation has now awarded more than $140 million to local nonprofits alone.

“It’s tremendously meaningful to get this significant, multiyear support from The Cummings Foundation,” noted TTO’s Executive Artistic Director Abe Rybeck. “We’re so proud to be on their incredible list of organizations they support. We’re committed to living up to the foundation’s faith in our work by continuing to deepen artistic creation and youth development among LGBTQ and allied youth in our neighborhoods.”

The $100,000 grant will be used over four years to support True Colors’ Expansion Programming. Previously, True Colors had to turn away half of the youth who auditioned to be a part of the program, due to space and budget limitations. The program also received more requests for performances than it could fulfill. Based on the increased demand for programming, True Colors recently underwent a youth-led expansion that allowed TTO to include three additional components to its programming. These new efforts allow TTO to serve more youth, to serve youth in a deeper way, and to reach more audiences at schools and community centers across Massachusetts.

The “$100K for 100” program supports nonprofits that primarily serve Middlesex, Essex and Suffolk counties. This year the program is benefitting 41 cities and towns within the Commonwealth.

Through this place-based initiative, Cummings Foundation aims to give back in the area where it owns commercial buildings, all of which are managed, at no cost to the Foundation, by its affiliate Cummings Properties. Founded in 1970 by Bill Cummings of Winchester, the Woburn-based commercial real estate firm leases and manages more than 10 million square feet of space, the majority of which exclusively benefits the Foundation.

“We admire and very much appreciate the important work that nonprofit organizations like The Theater Offensive are doing in local communities where our colleagues and clients live and work,” said Joel Swets, Cummings Foundation’s executive director. “We are delighted to support their efforts.”

This year’s diverse group of grant recipients represents a wide variety of causes, including education, homelessness prevention, elder services, healthcare, and food insecurity. The complete list of 100 grant winners is available at

About The Theater Offensive

Since 1989, The Theater Offensive has served its mission with groundbreaking interactive workshops and shows by, for, and about the LGBTQ community. Our work is called OUT in Your Neighborhood, expressing the diversity of the city of Boston, giving voice to underserved LGBTQ community members, and creating avenues for cross-cultural dialogue. It’s mission is to present the diversity of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) lives in art so bold it breaks through personal isolation, challenges the status quo, and builds thriving communities.

About Cummings Foundation

Woburn-based Cummings Foundation, Inc. was established in 1986 by Joyce and Bill Cummings of Winchester. With assets exceeding $1 billion, it is one of the largest foundations in New England. The Foundation directly operates its own charitable subsidiaries, including two New Horizons retirement communities in Marlborough and Woburn. Its largest single commitment to date was $50 million to Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. Additional information is available at

[From a News Release]

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