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2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Story District

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Arts Services, Cultural & Ethnic Awareness, Performing Arts, Theater

Mission: Story District's mission is to train ​and showcase storytelling talent in the Washington, DC, area and to be an exemplar of transformative autobiographical story performance as a way to enrich an understanding of the world, build community, promote compassion, and highlight our shared humanity.

Results: Story District storytellers and fans reiterate regularly that Story District is important because we create content and provide a space that promotes authentic human connection and give voice to diverse life experiences. They say that telling and hearing stories opens their minds to new perspectives and makes them feel more connected and grounded. Story District is most proud of celebrating our 20th anniversary, which reflects steady growth and sustainability, exemplary artistic works, excellent educational programs, and a thriving community that we have built over the years. “I Did It For The Story: A Tribute to 20 Years of Storytelling" featured 20 storytellers performing to a nearly sold out audience at the Lincoln Theatre. Story District has also been nominated for Innovation and Excellence in the Arts for the DC Mayor's Arts Award in 2012 and 2016, dubbed the "gold standard in storytelling" by The Washington Post, and featured on the cover of The Washington City Paper in September 2017. In August 2016, Story District moved into a space of its very own– storefront space in Park View – where we are able to host our classes, rehearsals, student showcases, board meetings, and community events. Each year, we produce about 30 performances for at least 10,000 patrons featuring more than 200 storytellers on topics like “Sucker for Love" with true stories about romance, “Mind Over Matter" with stories about living with mental illness, “Out/Spoken" with stories from LGBTQ community, and more. Our education programming includes a five-week Storytelling 101 series, a 7-week course for veterans twice a year, a one-day Boot Camp, and free introductory “flash" classes serving about 350 adult students, and occasionally youth, each year. We supported nonprofit organizations, universities, government agencies, and private companies through customized shows and trainings for professionals on the fundamentals of storytelling. Story District has built a library of videos for our fans to enjoy and our storytellers to have as a tool for their artistic development. In 2018, we plan to re-launch our podcast series with 26 new episodes that will feature live performances, interviews with storytellers, roundtable discussions about topics in storytelling, and live coaching. For the last three years, Story District has received funding and technical support from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. Through this program we have undergone in-depth external analysis of our capacity with recommendations for growth; professionalized our human resources infrastructure; put essential policies and procedures in place; improved our budgeting process and financial systems; rolled out a successful re-brand from SpeakeasyDC to Story District, and executed an extensive strategic planning process.

Target demographics: promote compassion and community through storytelling

Direct beneficiaries per year: 12,000

Geographic areas served: DC, MD, VA

Programs: Story District's mission is to train ​and showcase storytelling talent in the Washington, DC, area and to be an exemplar of transformative autobiographical story performance as a way to enrich an understanding of the world, build community, promote compassion, and highlight our shared humanity.

Community Stories

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