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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

United States Institute for Theatre Technology Inc

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Education, Professional Societies & Associations

Mission: The United States Institute for Theatre Technology, Inc. (USITT) connects performing arts design and technology communities to ensure a vibrant dialog among practitioners, educators, and students.

Results: Our 24 educational offerings annually reach over 6000 professionals at all points in their career span.

Target demographics: young people and professionals

Direct beneficiaries per year: more than 30,000 students by providing inspections and safety training to 24 high schools in the US.

Geographic areas served: the entertainment design and technology industry

Programs: education and training, rigging inspections, and research funding

Community Stories

40 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a member of USITT since 2000. I am deeply proud of the work USITT has done through the Gateway program, it's mentorship programs, and it's programming. Our organization offers unique opportunities elevate and advance our members through training, education, investigation and networking. We lift one another. We care for one another. We are a powerful tribe. USITT has had a profound impact on my career and growth. I am grateful to be a member and to serve.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been a member of USITT for over 15 years and the organization has benefited me at every phase of my career with learning opportunities, networking opportunities that have led to several jobs, and now further connection and learning that I can share with my students who are young entertainment professionals. USITT has something for everyone working in entertainment design and technology no matter their experience or niche in the industry.

Board Member

Rating: 5

People ask me "what is USITT?" And the short answer is, it is an organization that is for all those people who work backstage, the ones you usually don't see onstage at the theatre, in the movies, or at other entertainment events. But the longer, truer answer, is that we are a community of individuals who want to share their passion for the art and craft that they love so well. Whether it is through the annual conference, where we all go to "recharge" our creative batteries, learn, find jobs and network, or simply find and connect with a group of like-minded people, or through symposium, study trips, professional training or section communities, USITT is one of the places where we get to shine a spotlight on our talents, skills and community. And might I add that since we are the ones operating the spotlight, we do an amazing job!

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Board Member

Rating: 5

Originally, I went with my husband (also in theatre) because I thought I would have a "vacation". Now, 17 years later, the vacation still hasn't quite materialized the way I originally planned. However, the work that the Institute does and how it affects my creativity as an artist and designer is so much further reaching than a vacation would have been! Meeting fellow artisans and compatriots has become a wonderful personal and professional resource. And seeing the new crop of designers finding their voice and fulfilling their dreams is truly invigorating and inspiring. So the volunteer work efforts for the past 17 years have been more work than any "vacation" I have ever taken, but so much more satisfying!

Board Member

Rating: 5

USITT is a joyous bridge between the academic and the professional, and between the technical and the artistic. The Institute has also emerged as a role model of diversity and inclusion. I am proud and honored to be a part of the organization.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Not only are they a resource for young artists, but USITT also supports artists throughout their careers as they learn and change as society and technology changes. Truly dedicated to a lifetime of education- this organization advocates empowered learning that affects schools, communities, and artist communities across the country. They are one of the most joyous, most forward-thinking national organizations of its size.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have the privilege of being a member of USITT for over 2 decades. Its dedication to education, networking, and mentoring has created an industry 'go-to' for all things that pertain to the theatre technician. USITT strives to develop opportunities for the student, the early entry career person, and the seasoned professional Volunteers in the industry develop informational sessions at the annual conference that are both stimulating and critical to the growth of those in attendance. The organizational structure in place encourages forward thinking while keeping sharp eyes on the financial impact of these decisions.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of USITT for more than three decades, and in that time I have had the opportunity and privilege to volunteer in a variety of capacities. USITT has shaped and supported my career at every level, it has provided me a network of highly valued colleagues and mentors, and it has delivered the best professional development and education in the entertainment industry. USITT’s commitment to its members and to the industry as a whole has made it the leader in education, safety training, and diversity and inclusion. At the same time, it continues to demonstrate exceptional resource management and enjoys consistently excellent board engagement, member involvement, and fiscal health. USITT has proven itself to be beyond valuable in so many ways, and I am proud to call myself a member of this organization.

Verda M.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been a member of USITT since 2002 when the USITT job placement service helped me get my first job out of grad school. The members connected me with my next job in education and then, again, members of the institute recruited me into the latest stage of my career. USITT members have mentored me through changes in the profession and kept me up to date on the latest tools. They offered help when I faced challenges and gave me resources when I needed help. As I grew in my career, I was given opportunities to mentor the next generation, have a voice in standards and best practice documents that affect our industry, and joined conversations on how we mold the future of the industry. USITT is everything I expect from a professional organization. It also continues to surprise me with the reach of its programs and the ingenuity and generosity of its members.

Madilynn G.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I entered this organization as an early-career professional and USITT has dramatically impacted my first years in the field. Not only have I gained knowledge through educational programming, I've also had leadership opportunities that helped me build my skill set alongside seasoned professionals. Additionally, USITT is taking multiple steps to advance diversity and inclusion in the field through school visits and the Gateway program. The impacts of these young programs are sizable and setting a strong example for the industry.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

Low overhead, high impact, advancing daily on issues of continuing education, diversity & inclusion, safety, and research that affect the entertainment industry.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I am involved with a wide variety of arts and service Not-for-Profits and USITT is by far the most healthy of those of which I am aware. Healthy in multiple metrics...fiscal health and transparency, board engagement, member involvement, and consistent focus on organizational mission. USITT is an industry leader in education, safety training, preserving theatrical heritage, and in diversity and inclusion. The biggest benefit of membership in USITT is the network of theatre and performing arts professionals that I count among my closest friends and professional colleagues. This organization has literally changed my life in many ways.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I've been a member since 1980. It has immeasurably supported my career in regional theatre and again in academic theatre.

Paul169

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a member of USITT for 41 years, and currently serve as a Board member and committee member. This is an excellent educational and charitable organization which serves the live performing arts industry at all levels, including active regional sections throughout the US. This wonderful organization helps create relationships, stimulate ideas and provides a platform to share ideas and knowledge in our industry.

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Board Member

Rating: 5

I began my relationship with USITT in 1974. I become involved then, and am still involved and active now, both on a national and regional level. This is an outstanding non-profit organization with a clear and useful vision and mission. We serve a broad range of constituents in the live performing arts community and industry, through training, conferences, trade shows and networking, with an emphasis on excellence and safety.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a member of USITT for almost 20 years. I can say without a doubt, that this organization has helped me achieve my personal and professional goals. As a student it helped foster relationships with organizations and individuals I would not normally have had access to. As an educator, it provided a network for my students to tie into and utilize as a jumping off point to their careers. As a professional Technical Director for a major regional theatre, it helps me maintain the contacts that I have nurtured over the last two decades. USITT continues to create new and fruitful relationships that help me every day.

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1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I became a member of USITT in 1997 as a graduate student. I have been working professionally in the entertainment field since then and that is largely due to the networking and professional development seminars that USITT has provided over the years. I can't imagine the theatre industry without USITT.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been a member of USITT since 1997. In that time I have marveled at the way this organization has stepped to the front on such issues as diversity and inclusion, advocacy for women, people of color and our LGBTQ community. I have been blessed with wonderful colleagues and friends who are really committed to making a difference in our industry and in our communities. I'm proud to be a member and proud that my donations, although small, can help to support and sustain this organization into the future.

Rafael J.

Board Member

Rating: 5

For the past 20 years, USITT has been my platform of inspiration and improvement. As a theatre educator, author and regional theatre artist, the Institute has offered me support to grow both professionally and personally. The various Commissions are vital for academics and practitioners sharing research, and the Conference's networking opportunities nurture long-term relationships and resources. As a volunteer Board Member, I can attest to the far-reaching influence that our organization has in the fields of design, technology, and management. USITT’s commitment to programming for students, educators, established professionals, and allied organizations is unparalleled. The field work advancing industry standards, best practices, and state-of-the-art research is outstanding. The educational poster sessions and symposia; national exhibits and international installations; and various grants and fellowships programs are exemplary. I give financially and otherwise because of USITT’s investment in our future, support of early career individuals, and across-the-board diversity. With growing student Chapters and Regional Sections, USITT has become an indispensable national leader moving us further into the 21st century and beyond.To quote Maya Angelou, "I'm convinced of this: Good done anywhere is good done everywhere.”
Rafael Jaen

Tammy102

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

Giving to USITT and why it is important. www.usitt.org You would think writing a letter about why I support USITT financially would be easy. In fact, it is. Through my work on the conference committee and now as on the board, I have discovered what an amazing organization USITT is. It is a forward-thinking and leading the industry in safety, rigging, innovation, training, and diversity. I believe in USITT. I believe in the mission. I believe in the quality of programming and training opportunities. I believe in the positive effect it has had in my students' lives and careers. It has opened their eyes to the variety of options for careers, solutions for technology or creative challenges, and the benefit to networking. I believe it is the membership of USITT that makes it such an amazing organization. It is through the generosity of so many people (many of whom who are incredibly humble about their professional accomplishments) who are approachable by individuals of all levels that makes this institution unique and worthwhile. I am proud to support an organization that promotes a lifetime of learning at all levels whether it be the New Century Fund or Diversity Initiative investing in the future professionals of the industry or the Edward F. Kook Fund that invests in research or the Rigging Safety Initiative to provide training and inspections in schools across the country.

Review from #MyGivingStory

Previous Stories
1

Board Member

Rating: 5

It is incredibly difficult to articulate how important this organization is to me. It provides me, a mid-career professional, with stimulating training and a vast network of more than 5,000 people in the theatre & entertainment industry. As an educator, I can draw on my experiences with USITT as well as the accomplished professionals I have met to create stimulating lessons and utilize web-conferencing to facilitate conversations with professionals.

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have found USITT to be of great value as a bridge between the academic and business sides of the creative entertainment fields. It helps educate and establish standards within our diverse industry. In my early career I found it informative and encouraging, while through out the years it has been - and continues to be - a great networking source. Our industry, like many, operates on relationships. I have found that USITT provides the groundwork for a growing network of new incoming talent and reliable established resources.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

USITT is considered by many leading professionals in the entertainment business to be the preeminent support organization for this industry. I am most certainly among those enthusiastic champions who has had his career greatly enhanced through my association with USITT. This vital resource for technical information, new products solutions, establishment of standards, promoter of health & safety issues and interchange of ideas stands far above all others. If you need to know the who, how, when, where and why of anything related to the theatre business, USITT is THE resource.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

This organization has made a huge difference in my career. The opportunity to meet leaders in our field, to continue to learn new techniques, to see the latest technology and newest products, to have resources, advice and quick tips readily shared, all of thsee are amazing benefits of membership in USITT. But you can't put a price on the most important part: the networking. There is a giving, thriving, encouraging community of artists and leaders in this organization. I feel empowered and affirmed after every conference, every meeting, symposium and workshop. This is the best professional organization.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I cannot say enough good things about USITT. I have been a member of this organization for almost 20 years on various levels. It has shaped my career, provided my best professional development and education, and created my network of valued colleagues. Its commitment to its members and the industry as a whole has made it a leader in education, safety and standards and diversity and inclusion. It is without hesitation that I volunteer my time and efforts to make this organization better. I've never worked with a more dynamic board who is engaged and active, shaping the organizations future and contributing to the health and improvement of the design, production and management fields of theatre and live entertainment.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a member of USITT for 21 years. What began as a National Conference attendee has blossomed into a deep and dedicated involvement with Commission and Board leadership. The learning and networking opportunities have proven invaluable. I am proud to serve for an organization who embraces diversity, encourages - and financially supports - research projects, honors its outstanding members and industries achievers, all while remaining a fiscally responsive and sound organization

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

USITT was a fantastic catalyst to my professional success in the field. Joining the institute while I was in graduate school in the 1990's gave me opportunities for networking, professional development, job interviews, exhibitions of my work and a support system with other young professionals, mentored by season professionals. Now, as a mid-career professional designer and educator I am so grateful to be able to give back to emerging young artists and technologists. The framework of the organization and the passion with which the members volunteer countless hours of their time, expertise and even materials to move forward innovative research, incentives and policies for the industry makes it a cornerstone for our field. Watching my students embrace what USITT has to offer has been an incredible experience and I continue to enjoy so many benefits both professionally and personally with life long friendships and professional connections and standards.

1

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Design and Technology with a focus in Costume Design and Technology in 2013. Having been out of college for only two years, I have already worked in my field at a reputable regional theater building my portfolio! I made that connection and was able to land that job while talking to some professionals after a seminar at USITT's Annual Conference. I am now going for my MFA in Costume Design and Technology with a teaching assistantship that includes a full tuition waiver at a university that I love and would not have considered had it not been for my time spent on the Expo floor at conference. I am so grateful for the work done by USITT because it has played such a key role in shaping my career and future!!

1

Donor

Rating: 5

The United States Institute for Theater Technology (USITT) is a volunteer-driven and membership focused organization that provides value well beyond the price of membership. I joined USITT very early in my costume design career and have remained active for 40 years and counting. The organization helped me gain knowledge in my field that was not available elsewhere. It provides a professional environment through which relationships can be formed which aren't available in any other single venue. It helped me achieve professional goals and, through my deep involvement over the years serving on committees, the Board of Directors, and as an officer, I learned so much more. USITT is a singular opportunity for students, educators, free-lance designers and technologists, and yes, for seasoned, celebrated professionals.

2

Board Member

Rating: 5

I serve on the Board for USITT as well as several other non-profit organizations. What I can say is USITT does it right. The opportunities that USITT offers to its membership and how the institute challenges itself to continue to evolve and grow with the industry, is why USITT is the leader in its field. The value of sourcing quality interns and potential employees bring a benefit to my company that is unmatched by other organizations. I am proud to be a professional member of USITT.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I first became a member in 1994 so that I could attend the conference to find a job. I found much more and now give much more. I am extremely proud of our mentorship programs, especial the Gateway which pairs underrepresented design/technology/management students and emerging professionals with experienced mentors.

3 dstew

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I have been a member of USITT for the past seven years and I cannot say how quickly my network developed and skyrocketed my experiences in the production field! An invaluable resource for me as an educator to check in and see what is happening in the industry and bring back to our students. I cannot say enough about this organization and what it means to me professionally and personally.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with USITT for many years, first, as an emerging artist, and now as a veteran. In those early years USITT provided me with a network that has stood by me through my life. Today, USITT provides not only a network but essential training, information, standards, and support for all areas of our industry.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I joined USITT in 1991 and my membership continues to provide dividends from the networking, continual education, to the expo floor at the annual conference where I can see, touch, and try all the latest gear.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I joined USITT as a student four years ago and quickly learned the importance of this organization in the entertainment industry. USITT is a vehicle for knowledge and networking where a balance of contribution and benefits promote our industry. The entertainment industry is so broad in itself - i.e. concerts, events, theatre, opera, live shows, etc - and this organization feeds its benefits to many people involved - i.e. professors, students, professionals, companies, vendors, venues, etc. After graduation, I was looking for ways to keep USITT in my life - so I kept membership as an early career professional and joined the committee to feed into the two way street USITT provides. The values that USITT provide are so unique because they are fueled by the people and places that are passionate about theatre and entertainment technology.

1 johngruber

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

I started with USITT as a student in 2001, and it has been the backbone of support throughout my blossoming professional career. They provide an excellent exchange of ideas at the conference itself, and the theatrical books they help publish improves the quality of work in the United States, but ultimately it's the gathering of other professionals and educators that has me return year after year, as well as delighted to call myself a donor. I can see my involvement to continue for the foreseeable future.

1 Michael341

Board Member

Rating: 5

USITT has been a part of my life for over 25 years and is an invaluable part of my work today. I am a designer, an author, and a university department chair and the Institute contributes to all of these parts of me. Additionally, it feels great knowing of all the outreach and education that I and the rest of the membership are able to share with the future generations of theatrical professionals.

1

Donor

Rating: 5

Low fundraising overhead & focus on grants to young people are a high priority for me as I select organizations for giving. USITT's track record is outstanding as a model for non-profits to emulate.

1

Board Member

Rating: 5

I have been involved with USITT since 1994 in a variety of levels from student member to Board Member. I have gained many great colleagues through out the years that have helped me in many ways, from finding work to solving interesting technical problems. I am very happy to see the growth the institute has gone through in the past few years that is now encompassing year long educational opportunities.

2 Michael K.

Board Member

Rating: 5

I am now, at age 60, on the Board of USITT and I have been a member since I was in my teens. It is an organization that has been a huge help to me as I have worked in the difficult but rewarding career of theater technology. We have as an organization enhanced the awareness of safety and safe practice in an industry that once prided itself on getting artistic choices done regardless of its effect on workers in the theater. We have provided early career and continuing education for all aspects of backstage life. We have promoted networking among professionals who often have to do their work with no colleagues in their home theater that do similar jobs.
The USITT has given me so much that it is a pleasure that I can now late in my career, make monetary donations to continue the work of the institute, but even more importantly I actively give my time to further the mission of USITT