Arts, Education, Los Angeles

David Lee Foundation


The David Lee Foundation aims to support, enhance, and promote professional theater in Los Angeles County. It offers monetary grants to encourage high-quality productions of neglected plays and musicals that, because of financial considerations, are seldom, if ever, done. Grants are given to supplement cast sizes, set and costume budgets, orchestras, and rehearsal time. Although new work is occasionally considered, there is a strong emphasis on the vast canon of neglected works.

With ever increasing costs accompanied by decreasing aid to the arts, theater companies large and small are being forced to work with fewer and fewer resources. As a result, the live theater appears to be shrinking before our eyes. Few theaters can consider a play with over 4 actors and anything more than the most rudimentary of sets and costumes. More often than not we are greeted upon entering the theater with a bare stage, a chair, and a program that lists one or two actors. While this may well be artistically satisfying in some cases, it has resulted in the neglect of many great works simply because of their size. The David Lee Foundation (DFL) seeks to change that.

Established 501(c)(3) professional theaters/companies in Los Angeles County may apply for one production per grant cycle.

  • Only productions operating under Actors’ Equity Contract Agreements will be considered.
  • Booking houses or productions produced elsewhere will not be considered, nor will non-professional (community) theaters.
  • Workshops, rehearsals, transfers, remounting of previous stagings, and touring productions are not eligible.
  • Grants are awarded to assist individual productions, not to fully fund them.
  • Special consideration will be given to those who hire primarily local actors and creative teams.

Interested parties should check back in early April 2024 for instructions to apply for the foundation’s next grant cycle. Please direct any questions to:

Erin Limlingan
Donor Relations Officer
California Community Foundation
Email: elimlingan [@] calfund [.] org

There are two grant cycles:

  • Submissions must be made by May 1st for productions whose opening is the following September 1st or later.

  • Submissions must be made by October 1st for productions whose opening is the following January 1st or later.

Examples of previous grants:

  • A mid-sized theater wanted to produce KING CHARLES III but could not afford the large cast. The DFL provided funds for 10 additional actors’ contracts and expenses. The production would not have taken place otherwise.
  • A director for a small theater had a fresh take on A STREETCAR NAMED DESIRE but because of recent changes to the 99-seat theater plan, they could only afford 4 actors rather than the 9 required. The DLF provided the funds to pay for 5 actors. The production would not have taken place otherwise.
  • A small theater wanted to produce a revival of LE LIASONS DANGEREUSES but found the cost of wigs and costumes prohibitive. The DLF provided a grant for those and the production went ahead.

David regularly directs and writes for major regional theaters, including the L.A. Opera, Pasadena Playhouse, Two River Theater CompanyPapermill Playhouse, Williamstown Theater Festival, Encores, Reprise and the Hollywood Bowl. A nine-time Emmy Award winning director, writer and producer for television, David was co-creator/director of “Wings” and “Frasier”, a writer and producer for “Cheers” and a director for “Everybody Loves Raymond.”  19 Emmy nominations, Directors Guild Award, Golden Globe, Producers Guild Award, Ovation Award, British Comedy Award, Television Critics Association Award (three times), the Humanitas Prize (twice) and the Peabody.