viBe Theater Experience

Empowering teenaged girls through the performing arts!

aka viBe   |   Brooklyn, NY   |  www.vibetheater.org

Mission

viBe Theater Experience (viBe) provides girls (ages 13-19) and young women (ages 18-24) in New York City with free, high quality artistic, leadership and academic opportunities. viBe works to empower underserved teenage girls to write and perform original theater, video. Since 2002, viBe has produced over 50 original productions, 7 CDs of empowering music, dozens of printed publications,podcasts and video clips-- all written, created and performed by NYC teenage girls about the real-life issues they face every day. Through listening to viBe's music, cheering in viBe's theaters, reading viBe's scripts and downloading our performances, thousands of young and diverse audience members have re-thought what teenage girls can
achieve, what artistic performance is about and whom it is for.

Ruling year info

2020

Executive Director

Ms. Toya Lillard

Main address

138 South Oxford Suite 4D

Brooklyn, NY 11217 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

20-0482372

NTEE code info

Theater (A65)

Youth Development Programs (O50)

Civil Rights, Social Action, and Advocacy N.E.C. (R99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

The recent study, “Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Over-policed, and Under-protected," (http://www.aapf.org/recent/2014/12/coming-soon-blackgirlsmatter-pushed-out-overpoliced-and-underprotected), noted that girls of color face more challenges than others when it comes to the way that they are disciplined and educated, and they are excluded from most efforts to address the school to prison pipeline. In addition, black girls are disciplined more harshly than any other group, nationwide (https://nwlc.org/resources/stopping-school-pushout-for-girls-of-color/). Black girls are also seen as less innocent than their white counterparts(https://www.law.georgetown.edu/news/press-releases/Black-Girls-Viewed-As-Less-Innocent-Than-White-Girls-Georgetown-Law-Research-Finds.cfm). To address these challenges, viBe's programs are year-round, high in quality and free of charge. viBe also focuses on girls of color at a pivotal moment—adolescence—when they are often challenged emotionally and academically

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

viBeStages

viBeStages, our core program, is a collaborative performance experience in which 8-10 girls work with professional theater directors for 10-12 weeks to write and perform an original show. Offered twice a year, viBeStages builds leadership and collaborative skills while introducing young women to elements of writing, acting, dancing, singing and songwriting. Girls structure each show, gaining literacy, organizational and dramaturgical skills as they integrate their words and ideas into a cohesive narrative. Programs culminate in free performances at professional theaters. We also offer a condensed version called viBeXpress, offered twice annually.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Adolescents

viBeSolos allows up to 8-10 viBeStages alumnae to express their individual creative visions by writing and performing their own, professionally directed "one-girl” shows over a 10-12 week period, in collaboration other participants. Since 2004, viBe has presented the extraordinary solo work of nearly 50 girls.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Adolescents

viBeSongMakers trains 6-10 viBe girls to express themselves through song-making. It provides girls with the tools and inspiration to write, record and perform a full length album over 6 months. Offered twice annually, girls benefit from our unique program that includes the making of a music video.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Adolescents

viBeGirlsInCharge provides up to 8 viBe girls with opportunities year-round to perform for larger audiences and also to facilitate post-performance workshops in a variety of different settings, such as schools, community based organizations, and arts festivals, increasing our capacity to serve more youth, increase our visibility, and strengthen our girls' confidence as artists and leaders.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Adolescents

viBeApprenticeShip is an ongoing leadership program geared toward viBe Alumnae in high school and college who have expressed an interest in exploring careers in theater. Girls have completed apprenticeships in Directing; Lighting and Set Design; Arts Administration and more.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Students

viBeTeenAudiences, offered throughout the year, reaches into high school classrooms and community organizations through pre-performance workshops facilitated by our Teaching Artists and viBe alumnae that enrich their experiences in the audience.

Population(s) Served
Adolescents
Economically disadvantaged people

viBe Leadership Institute is a 6 month training program. Through viBe Leadership Institute, viBe will train participating young women to be arts practitioners in their own right so that they are able to "pay it forward" by first learning, mastering, and implementing viBe's unique training, and then learning, mastering, and implementing best practices within the field.

Population(s) Served
Women and girls
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

Union Square Award 2006

Union Square Awards

Star Inititiative 2008

WNYC/New York Public Radio

Young Artists Award 2011

NYC Festival of YOung Artists & Leaderships

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

viBe engages 250 girls each year through its 6 signature programs and school residencies. 9 out of 10 viBe participants are girls of color, and most live in under-resourced, low-income neighborhoods with poorly performing schools. In addition, 90% live in single-parent households. viBe's organizational and program objectives include the following qualitative outcomes for participants. In each of the programs, viBe encourages girls to:
• Amplify their voices, uncensored—first, in a small, nurturing setting and then before a public audience.
• Build self-confidence.
• Develop literacy and communication skills through writing and revising plays, lyrics, and poetry.
• Problem-solve through role-playing.
• Build leadership skills by working in a collaborative environment, and making key decisions collaboratively.
• Give and receive respect in a safer space.
• Create an artistic response to the societal issues that affect them most.
• Explore the power of the arts as a tool for crafting a message, and effecting social change.

Young women come to viBe from over 20 public high schools and countless social service organizations throughout New York City, hungry for opportunities to create and perform their own work. Girls attend tryouts (held multiple times in fall, winter and summer) seeking to find their passion through work in the arts. Through process-based creative methods and over 8-12 weeks of intense rehearsals for each new play, viBe's team of professional directors help to frame the stories, monologues, scenes, dances and songs that these young artists create about their collective and individual passions, struggles, hopes and dreams. viBe's girls take the lead as they craft the structure of each show, gaining leadership, literacy and organizational and dramaturgical skills as they integrate their words and ideas into the building of their play. Since 2003, viBe has served over 2100 girls, most of whom reside in Brooklyn. We have produced over 75 original shows and 10 full length albums as well as conducted dozens of creative workshops. viBe's unique pedagogy places girls at the center of the work that is created. We ask girls to respond to the world around them, and to work together to generate solutions to their challenges both personally, and societally. Increasingly, there are precious few "safe" spaces for girls to express themselves uncensored, and untethered to pre-existing ideas/expectations regarding their abilities. As has been noted before, recent studies have shown that black girls in particular are over-policed in school, under-protected in their own communities, and shut out of opportunities to lead. Rather than see girls of color as the "problem," or label them "at risk," we see them as an essential part of generating solutions. We acknowledge girls of color as the "experts in the room" with regard to their lived experiences, and we provide safer spaces for them to talk with each other about their challenges, and to respond to the stereotypes and misconceptions about what it means to be a girl/young woman of color. We acknowledge them as artists, activists, and leaders from the first day of program. All decision making is consensus based, and led by these young women, who are courageous enough to create art that speaks truth to power, and to perform it in front of audiences throughout the city. Through the performing arts, our girls are able to create their own narratives and posit their own solutions to the challenges that they face personally, and to advocate for the breaking down of systemic barriers to their social and emotional wellbeing. As an organization, viBe also provides opportunities for young women to receive training to pursue careers in the arts, and to work for viBe as an organization. We see the young women that we serve as part of our sustainability model, and by hiring young women of color to lead viBe programs, we are giving our constituents a reflection of themselves in every aspect of our work.

By having an organization led by, and for, women of color, viBe is providing for the girls/young women we serve a clear reflection of how they might be able to also contribute to the field. viBe is also committed to serving the LGBTQ and trans communities of color, and a reflection of that commitment is evidenced by our hiring of two non-binary staff members of color. Historically, the theater and music that is created by our girls/young women has provided a platform for them to come out to their families/friends, in a supported environment. Within the field, viBe hopes to inspire more young women of color to develop the confidence and leadership skills that can help them navigate through life, face challenges, and create their own agendas. We also aim to help young women who want to become practitioners of the arts programs that many of them benefitted from as teens. By giving viBe Alumnae the opportunities to lead, viBe will also be an active voice in increasing the diversity within other cultural organizations in New York City as well. In addition, the Executive Director is in a unique position to leverage her role as a “thought leader" by sharing the success and impact of viBe's work with the community at large. viBe is not only looking to create the next generation of leaders of color within its organization, but throughout the country. viBe contributes to, and advocates for, a shift in the way that girls and women of color are perceived, and a stop to the way that they are shut out of leadership opportunities. Because girls/women of color are too often seen as "at-risk" "needy" or lacking leadership skills, the organizational model (particularly here in New York City) tends to be one that affords leadership opportunities only to "NYU trained" women who work on behalf of girls/women of color. viBe sees its constituents as THE leaders and change makers that we need in order to truly shift cultural perceptions and norms. By providing our girls/young women with real leadership opportunities, and including them in every decision that is made within the organization, we "walk the walk" by providing for them a seat at every table. We also equip them with the skills that they may use to serve other organizations, or to start their own! We truly believe that the only way to combat the stereotypes and misconceptions that shut girls/young women of color out of leadership opportunities is to "be the change we wish to see." To that end, viBe is led by a woman of color, and is staffed by people of color. This contributes to a positive culture shift in New York City, and directly challenges the notion that girls/women of color are only useful as participants, not leaders. We instill in our young women the confidence to lead even if there has been no opportunity provided. In the words of Shirley Chisholm, 'If they don't give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.'

In FY17, viBe Theater Experience served 203 girls through 6 free after-school programs, and produced 5 full length plays (“Crown Heights: A Remembrance" “Little People, Big Voices" “Beauty Beneath the Surface" "The Truth About our World" and “World War III: Mad and Moody") through our viBeCompany, viBeStages and viBeSolos programs. We also produced one full length album (“VENUS" by Femme Fatale) through our viBeSongMakers program. Through these programs, productions, and other invited performances (The Women's Building Block Party, Poetic Theater Productions' Generation Now! Irondale Ensemble, JACK), viBe girls performed for audiences of over 1,000! In addition, we partnered with other community based organizations, (Groundswell Community Arts Mural Project, Irondale Young Company, PowerPlay NYC), and city initiatives (Council Member Cumbo's Women and Girls Initiative) to raise viBe's visibility and serve more communities through our programs. Additionally, in 2017 viBe became a member of the Downtown Brooklyn Arts Alliance.
We are also proud of the fact that we have continued to train and hire more viBe alumnae to direct our programs through our viBe Leadership Institute and viBeApprentices programs. We also celebrate the fact that, in FY2017, viBe maintained a 100% high school graduation rate, and a 90% college acceptance rate, with 2017 graduates headed to schools like Hampshire College, SUNY Oswego, SUNY Buffalo, Brooklyn College, and SUNY Onoeonta.
Lastly, viBe's advocacy efforts, as well as our pedagogical approach have led our girls to address issues that affect them, and our nation, the most. Our girls have tackled racism, homophobia, sexism, sexual harassment, poverty, and police brutality head on In FY17. Each of our productions has placed at the center the voices of those at the margins, and given young women of color a platform and an audience to amplify their voices, and create their own solutions.

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Electronic surveys (by email, tablet, etc.), Paper surveys, Focus groups or interviews (by phone or in person),

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify and remedy poor client service experiences, To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To make fundamental changes to our programs and/or operations, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To identify where we are less inclusive or equitable across demographic groups, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our staff, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    It is difficult to get the people we serve to respond to requests for feedback, The people we serve tell us they find data collection burdensome, It is difficult to find the ongoing funding to support feedback collection, Staff find it hard to prioritize feedback collection and review due to lack of time,

Financials

viBe Theater Experience
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

viBe Theater Experience

Board of directors
as of 02/22/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Cheryl Overton

Egami Consulting

Term: 2017 - 2022

Kristin Marting

HERE Arts Center

Cheryl Overton

Egami Consulting

Christina Kilijan

Blackrock, Inc.

Toya Lillard

viBe Theater Experience

Arti Ram

Bloomberg, LP

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 8/16/2021

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Black/African American/African
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Decline to state

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

Disability

Equity strategies

Last updated: 05/20/2021

GuideStar partnered with Equity in the Center - an organization that works to shift mindsets, practices, and systems to increase racial equity - to create this section. Learn more

Data
  • We review compensation data across the organization (and by staff levels) to identify disparities by race.
  • We ask team members to identify racial disparities in their programs and / or portfolios.
  • We analyze disaggregated data and root causes of race disparities that impact the organization's programs, portfolios, and the populations served.
  • We disaggregate data to adjust programming goals to keep pace with changing needs of the communities we support.
  • We employ non-traditional ways of gathering feedback on programs and trainings, which may include interviews, roundtables, and external reviews with/by community stakeholders.
  • We disaggregate data by demographics, including race, in every policy and program measured.
  • We have long-term strategic plans and measurable goals for creating a culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.
Policies and processes
  • We use a vetting process to identify vendors and partners that share our commitment to race equity.
  • We have a promotion process that anticipates and mitigates implicit and explicit biases about people of color serving in leadership positions.
  • We seek individuals from various race backgrounds for board and executive director/CEO positions within our organization.
  • We have community representation at the board level, either on the board itself or through a community advisory board.
  • We help senior leadership understand how to be inclusive leaders with learning approaches that emphasize reflection, iteration, and adaptability.
  • We measure and then disaggregate job satisfaction and retention data by race, function, level, and/or team.
  • We engage everyone, from the board to staff levels of the organization, in race equity work and ensure that individuals understand their roles in creating culture such that one’s race identity has no influence on how they fare within the organization.