Free Theater Isn't Free to Make

We believe we are what we need. Join our Be Free Street Giving Collective and be a part of making theater accessible to all in Chicago.
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We are nothing without community, and every donation helps us reach more individuals, hire more artists, partner with more community organizations, provide more free classes, and continue to use art as a tool to impact Chicago. 

why free street? 

A 501(c) 3 non-profit, Free Street began in 1969 with a vision of bringing theatre to every Chicagoan. From our early years, touring on the back of a semi-truck to Chicago’s Southside neighborhoods, to our current two homes in Pulaski Park and Back of the Yards, Free Street has remained committed to using theatre to bring people together; to create positive change; give participants the tools to write their own stories; and challenge the notion of who belongs in a theatre, where theatre belongs, and what stories are told.

how to decide your giving level: 

Whether it’s $1, or $1,000,000, if your donation is meaningful to you, it’s meaningful to us. Every dollar helps us reach our goals.

Want to give a larger amount, but don’t have the change right now? Consider a recurring donation and watch $5/month become $60/year, $50/month become $600/year, and $250/month become $3,000/year. It adds up fast. 

Scroll down to read more about our giving circles, and how you can impact our communities with your gift.

Want to write a check? 

Mail them to our Pulaski Park location at 1419 W Blackhawk St. Floor 3 Chicago, IL 60642.

Considering a donation but want to talk to us first?

Email subject: Donation Inquiry



How will we use the money?

First and foremost, Free Street believes in pay equity, and that making the art is REAL WORK. So, we pay all of our youth, performers, designers, teaching artists,  a minimum of $16/hour. The majority of budget goes right into the hands of people making Free Street happen:the more donations we receive, the more people we can hire, the more impact we can make, the more lives we change.

Second, we also know there are other barriers besides money that can keep us from participating in the arts. Over the years, we’ve observed how transportation and food access are two barriers we can directly dismantle. Free Street provides transportation support in the form of Ventra Cards or Ubers, and throughout the year, we feed the youth, always stocking a snack or meal pantry, and during late rehearsals provide catered hot meals.

Real money. REAL IMPACT.

Here’s a look into how your donation impacts our community.

  • $20 = One Night of Transportation Support 10% 10%
  • $100 = Feed an ensemble for an evening 50% 50%
  • $500 = Sponsor a free community program 60% 60%
  • $2000 = Sponsors a teen’s year in our youth ensemble 100% 100%


“Free Street’s Youth Ensemble is important because young artists are going to help liberate the culture from social injustices. The support of art- making and young people are key to community building and freedom dreaming. We won’t make it without both. I am honored to support the cultivation and training of the youth at Free Street. May the power they have as artists grow and reach all over Chicago and the world.”

      – Tricia Hersey, The Nap Ministry

What’s in it for you?

Besides the warm and fuzzy glow of philanthropy, donating comes with some perks.

ROOT DONORS || Monthly Recurring Donors

-Early access to tickets, including opening night celebrations.

-Special thank you from our staff

RESTORE DONORS || Single donations or recurring donations totaling over $500

-All of the above

-An invitation to our yearly braintrust

-Automatic VIP package at our yearly Radical Love event


Join Free Street’s Board

Love Free Street? Join our board and help support this historic organization grow past 50. Board meets every other month and connects Free Street to potential donors, new audience members, and other organizations.

For board and host committee information contact Katrina Dion –

special thanks to these folks who already give us money

The Alphawood Foundation, the Arts Work Fund, the
ComEd Powering the Arts program, the Crossroads Fund, The
Chicago Community Trust, DCASE, The Gaylord and Dorothy
Donnelley Foundation, The Driehaus Foundation, the Field
Foundation, Illinois Arts Council, Illinois Humanities, the Reva
and David Logan Foundation, the Joyce Foundation, and many
individuals like you.