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.
Home » Support and Donate

the nap ministry pledgeS a $20k match

Will you help us raise $20k by June 15th?

We are nothing without community, which is why we are so grateful to friend and New York Times Bestselling author, Tricia Hersey, for her generous $20,000 match donation. 

how does this work?

For every dollar Free Street raises now through June 15th, up to $20,000, Tricia & The Nap Ministry will match it dollar for dollar. Scroll to read more, or click the button below to donate now for the chance to double your impact.

What are we fundraising for, exactly? 

While all of our work is important, we are focusing this campaign on our youth ensemble, who opens their show WASTED on May 5th!  

Every year, Free Street supports a collective of youth artists, ages 13-19, through their artistic training while they create an original play about issues affecting Chicago youth. Over the past decade, we have mentored over 1000 Chicago youth, who have hailed from over 15 different neighborhoods across Chicago, from Bronzeville, to Little Village, to Humboldt Park, to Uptown.

How will you 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, teaching artists, and supporting designers. The majority of these funds will go directly into the pockets of our youth ensemble members to be distributed throughout their training and creation process.

Second, we also know there are other barriers besides money that can keep youth 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 to youth. Throughout the year, we feed the youth, always stocking a snack or meal pantry, and during late rehearsals provide catered hot meals.

“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

Real money. REAL IMPACT.

Here is how your donation goes directly to our students 

  • $15 = One Uber home for a student 10% 10%
  • $100 = One night of meals for the entire ensemble 50% 50%
  • $500 = Workshop supplies for the year 60% 60%
  • $2000 = Supports one students entire training for the year 100% 100%

What’s in it for you?

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

All merch items listed below can be picked up at Free Street Theater when seeing WASTED (tickets at

One time donations receive the following:

$25 || Our deepest gratitude, and some very cool show merch: a “WASTED” sticker.

$50 || More thanks, a sticker, and a new “Joy + Justice” Free Street shirt OR produce bag.

$100|| A sticker, a shirt, and a produce bag, and oh yeah, our deepest gratitude!

But what if you made it a monthly donation?

ROOT DONORS, $20 – $100 monthly || Free Street ROOT donors want to help cultivate a community of joy + justice. They believe there is a future and want to fiscally sponsor smaller monthly amounts to plant the seeds of this work. Along with our gratitude they receive:

-FST Merch: show sticker, FST produce bag & joy + justice T-shirt

-Seasonal Thank you cards from Youth Ensemble

-Early access to season tickets

RESTORE DONORS, $101 and up ||

Free Street RESTORE donors believe in Tricia Heresy’s words that “Community care will save us.” They have the capacity and care to make a larger monthly investment to the work of joy + justice. Along with our gratitude they receive:

-FST Merch: show sticker, FST produce bag & joy + justice T-shirt

-A FST show sticker at box office for future shows

-Seasonal Thank you cards from Youth Ensemble

-Early access to season tickets

-Personal Invites to Radical Rest : a Radical Love Series Programming


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.