Monthly Archives: May 2017

RDC Meeting: 2/22/17

Yes! And… Collaborative Arts
Resource Development Committee meeting
2/22/17 7PM

In attendance: Pat Fiorella, Linda Floyd, Deborah Crocker, Julie Kring

-Concessions: No popcorn this year. Candy for at least $2, pretzels, water
-Tickets: Half-priced tickets on Thursday through Philly Fun Guide, Michael will send an email to everyone sharing this 1/2 price info

Ticket sales are important to our bottom line for making the WSOT a break even proposition.  We need to continue hanging posters, inviting friends, forwarding emails. More posters were available for members.

-Reception: Bourbon Blue for free except for gratituity.
-Challenge: $5,000 match, we need people in the room! WSOT

Every family and every board member is asked to invite one new friend and potential donor to our Saturday reception where we will try and match a $5000 donation.  Last year we had great success and hope to replicate that. Paper invitations were available for members.


Grants and Applications

Pre meeting we talked a lot about the grants that YA is researching and Deborah offered insight into grants we may want to pursue.

Discussed were the following:


Phila. Culture Fund

Ludwig- which we were turned down for


Dolfinger Mc Mann-


PNC Arts Alive- possibly for Shadow

Lincoln Financial- like diversity so our program might be right for them

Knight Foundation-possibly Shadow

Phila. Cultural Alliance



Michael is working on the following:

-Applications Pending – MJB reported on what applications are in. Deborah said that we should bring the board lists of grants we are going after to our board to see if there’s overlap/people who may know someone.

Nelson Foundation-said no but we can ask again

Spruce Foundation-we requested $5000

Charter Foundation-they gave us an invitation to ask

King Foundation- they give general operating support


Saturday Club-Michael asked for too much last year but will ask again

Bread and Roses- March 1 deadline

Regatta Insurance Company Grant- happens infrequently from RCM&D in Baltimore but we are connected through Bill Skene and so we will pursue Grants and Income

-EITC prospects – Any corporation doing business in PA can give to a non-profit. Deborah will look into it for us to see if we are eligible.

Pat will do a little research on this funding opportunity and we can decide if it is worth the time it may take to set it up.  Michael suggested that one of his interns may be able to help with that.

Calendar update Calendar for 2017
-mailings, office help, Quickbooks volunteer

The calendar is going to be adjusted slightly to reflect some recommendations by Deborah.  The mailing which we are going to refer to as the annual appeal will go out in April instead of May.  This will highlight camperships and the upcoming summer also WSOT success.  August will see an email newsletter with info about the successful summer program.  September will be a second paper mailing and annual appeal type ask with highlights of the summer and the impact of our work.

October will be all about the auction with an email invitation.  The auction will be moved from December to November.  December will be a final email to end the Annual Giving push for the year.

We discussed different letters for different groups. Also discussed the ability to personalize all the paper mail with past gifts and perhaps a % increase suggestion.  Also discussed a different letter for people who may have dropped off giving, like people who have not given in a couple years. The September letter may just be sent to folks who didn’t give in April.  Lots of talk of targeting our mailing list a bit better to strike the right note with each donor.

Board challenge- Something to look at for the “annual appeal “ letter if there is a consensus on the board and the money there.

Committee Work

Pat brought up the fact that Michael could use some help with the tasks like thank you letters, etc.  At a future meeting we will discuss how thank you and acknowledgement messages should and will go out and what is the time frame. We plan on stuffing and signing with personal notes the Annual Appeal letters at our April meeting.  Michael also needs some help inputting data into Quickbooks so we will look for a volunteer.

2016 Budget Finances
-2016 updates
-2017 actual

The loss was discussed and some budget numbers were reviewed now that everything is in.  Deborah suggested that we simplify the way we track programs, funding and expenses to have a clearer read on the bottom line.  We will discuss that further.

Actual numbers for January and February were not complete and will be presented at the board meeting.

Next meeting is scheduled for Thursday April 20th.


Board meeting on-line action 5-31-17

Do you vote to allow Yes And Collaborative Arts to retain Ms. Morgan Cheshire as our lawyer for the purposes of reviewing our official response to Ms. Cambria Hooven up to $620?
  • Yes 100%, 11 votes
    11 votes 100%
    11 votes - 100% of all votes
  • Abstain 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
  • No 0%, 0 votes
    0 votes
    0 votes - 0% of all votes
Total Votes: 11
May 31, 2017 - June 8, 2017
Voting is closed

The answer to this must be unanimous for electronic passage.

Guest post: “Giving Beauty Back” by Katie Wilson of Elephant Room Productions

Editor’s Note: From time to time we will feature guest posts from our Artist Teaching staff. We hope to bring you content that is helpful in understanding who the artists are who work directly with our children and youth. In today’s entry we hear from Artist Teacher Katie Wilson who, along with Artist Teacher Phil Czekner, helps lead Elephant Room Productions, a theatre production company dedicated to telling difficult stories. We encourage you to check them out. Post disclaimer: This post mentions the existence of suicide.

Giving Beauty Back: The Heart & Story Behind Elephant Room Productions

YACA Teaching Artists: Phil Czekner and Katie Wilson.
Phil is the Executive Director of ERP and Katie is the Marketing Director of ERP.
(Article written by Katie Wilson)

Art is important: whether you are learning it, teaching it, creating it, or just enjoying it. Art is important to have in our lives. As a young theatre artist, I have made it my mission to surround myself with art that will better the lives of others. This was one of the reasons I was drawn to Yes! And… Collaborative Arts. As an artist teacher and collaborator, I am given the opportunity to enrich children’s lives through music, play, and guidance while learning so much from them in the process. Art is all about give and take. As an undergrad studying theatre at DeSales University, I had the rare opportunity to work one-on-one with the late founder of our department, Father Gerard Schubert. Even in his old age, he was constantly inspiring young artists such as myself. He had a personal tagline that he carried with him from day one: “Give Beauty Back”. This phrase has informed my personal and artistic life more than I can explain, and has led me to companies and collaborations that are living this mission out to the fullest. One of those companies is Elephant Room Productions.

Elephant Room Productions, a bi-locational theatre company, was founded in 2014 by Christopher G. Ulloth and Lauren M. Shover, along with a close group of collaborative artists (including Yes! And… Collaborative Arts’ Phil Czekner.) It began with a simple goal: to create the work we wanted to do on our own terms. Our mission statement is based on our devotion to create work that brings to light the stories and issues that are typically more difficult to face. A couple of our previous projects have included topics such as racism, PTSD, addiction, schizophrenia and immigration. We bring this work to the public in many different ways: producing staged readings through our Elephant Ears Reading Series, participating in local cultural events and fundraisers, and producing full-length productions. We strive to use our art to raise awareness of the issues at hand and in turn create true change.

As mentioned above, a unique cornerstone of ERP is our Elephant Ears Reading Series.  The Elephant Ears Reading Series, or EERS, is a developmental playwriting program of our own design. This program gives a home to original pieces at any stage of development and allows writers and actors alike to hone their craft without the pressure of an audience! EERS is broken up into a few developmental stages that take our playwrights on a journey until they feel overtly confident in the work they have created. EERS is the heart and soul of our company and allows us to choose and develop work that we believe will give the most beauty back into the world.

Due to our success and growth thus far, our herd decided to embark on a brand-new adventure this year. Suicide Stories: Gallery of the Untold, a 2017 Philadelphia Fringe Festival piece, will be our first full-length production! This play features a number of different playwrights who have curated original pieces exploring the topic of suicide from the eyes of a survivor. Each piece incorporates its own specific art medium including painting, dance, mosaic, film, etc. to be performed in an interactive gallery setting. The point of this piece is to humanize this problem without romanticizing it. Suicide is an epidemic. It is taboo and misunderstood. We aim to start a meaningful conversation while doing these stories justice. A portion of the proceeds from this production will go directly to a suicide awareness establishment in hopes to continue the fight against suicide.

Much like our teachings with Yes! And… Collaborative Arts, we believe every story deserves to be told and every voice deserves to be heard. We at ERP are so grateful to have the opportunity to create and produce the art we are passionate about. Please join us for one of our upcoming events or reach out to us today to see how you can get involved and make a difference. Join the herd today and always remember to give beauty back.

WANNA SEE US IN ACTION? Join us for our upcoming, collaborative cabaret that is kicking off Philly Beer Week: A Midsummer Night’s Cabaret: Bottoms Up! This ridiculous, musical, drinking game of a show takes place on Sunday June 4, 2017 at City Tap House University City located at 3925 Walnut Street! Visit our events page for details and tickets!

WANNA LEARN MORE? To learn more about Elephant Room Productions, Suicide Stories: Gallery of the Untold, the work we create, the artists behind it, or how to get involved, please visit our website here!

WANNA JOIN THE HERD? If you believe in our mission and want to help us create art that will provoke inspiration and change, please visit our donation page and donate today!

WANNA COLLABORATE? Elephant Room Productions is always accepting submissions from playwrights, actors, collaborative artists or anyone else who wishes to get involved. Reach out, submit, or just simply say “hello!” at!

WANNA FOLLOW US? You can find us on all major social media sites (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & LinkedIn) as well as iTunes with our featured podcast, The Trumpet!

Board Meeting 5/16/17


Present: Meg, Marcella, Deborah, Linda, D’vorah, Pat, Julie, Claudia, Meredith, Robin

Approval of Minutes from March Meeting: Approved
Approval of Agenda: Approved


Executive Director’s Report (Michael):

Keep the staff and all that they are doing in mind- we’re growing and it’s a lot of work!

Mt. Airy day was amazing!  At least 50% of the people who attended came by to say hello and how much they love what I do.  Michael is going to push us into Germantown and surrounding areas.

After school is going really well- they started a garden, working with community

We have two Drexel co-op students, Aijia and Izzy, and they are great!

We would like to have you all join the training sessions which are:

June 1st: 5:30-9:30- New staff, TCL

June 2nd: 5:00-10:00- All staff

June 3rd: 9:00-6:00 – All staff – if you can do only one time, come during lunch on Saturday (12:00 or 12:30), and there will be story and discussion time

June 25th: 5:00-9:00- Site Setup

June 7th- SHADOW will be performing from “The Exonerated” – Philadelphia Youth Theater Festival

Programming Update (Michael):

Looking great!!

We’re using a secondary location for our overflow

Executive Committee Report (Meg/Claudia):

Approval of Summer Sort of Thing – happened at EC meeting, supported by RDC meeting vote

Financial Report (Michael):

Things are looking good right now- because it’s income for summer camp tuition.

Please feel free to ask Michael for bank statements, etc, if you’d like to see them. He’s happy to email them to you.

We got the DOUTY Grant- $4000 – next year will be the year “off”

Still waiting for Lenfest

We have a Drexel Co-Oper who is helping us get our finances in order

St. Clair CPA will be coming out to help us set up for an audit, because this is our 5th summer as a non-profit, so it’s recommended.  It will be an additional cost, which we can put in next year’s budget

For grants we didn’t get, we talked about inviting the representatives to come by and see things with the kids in action, which will keep the relationship open and show there are no hard feelings

Strategic Planning Committee Update (Marcella/Jake) :

There are some gaps that need to be filled in, which will happen at the next meeting – nothing major

Clean up the language, more “strategic” and useful as a document

Most of what we have now is “ongoing” projects – a working plan

Please feel free to look at the document online here:

Discussed the need to come up with a  succession plan

Resource and Development Committee Update (Pat):

Annual “Ask” letter went out the other day:

2 different letters went out- 1 for donors who gave within the last year, and 1 for people who hadn’t given for a couple years.  Will be followed by an email reminder with a link in a week or so

We need to come up with a more cohesive plan, and let people know what that plan is…Deborah is going to help us with that

Auction – reminder:

If we want to do it in November, we should start to talk about it now

We will discuss dates at the next RDC calendar

Nominating Committee (Meredith):

Recruitment of New Members: Over next couple of years we have a lot of people leaving in groups, so we want to be sure we have lots of people who can take their places

Think about people you know in your life who might be a good potential board member and let Meredith know – she will remind us in the next few weeks.

Need more “door openers” and “donors”

Call Summer Hospitality Task Force: D’vorah, Robin, Deborah, Claudia, Julie, Pat

Getting people to Friday events:  7/14, 6:00 PM; 8/4, 6:00 PM, 8/24, 6:00 PM
Managing dinner or cook out during one of the Friday shows: Back to Camp Night??  Maybe this year it’s too soon….
Concessions for SSOT – 8/9, 8/10, 8/11
Scheduling Board Members to attend

Important Dates: July 7th – SHADOW Banquet

Next meeting:  July 18th, 2017, 5:30 Dinner, 6:00 Meeting

Guest post: “Putting Art to Work to Make a Difference” by Belle Alvarez (Artist Teacher)

Editor’s Note: From time to time we will feature guest posts from our Artist Teaching staff. We hope to bring you content that is helpful in understanding who the artists are who work directly with our children and youth. In today’s entry we celebrate with Belle as she shares about an exciting new opportunity with the Painted Bride Art Center. Belle has been an Artist Teacher with us for a few years teaching in Summer Camps and Studio classes. We encourage you to follow along with her during this amazing opportunity on her website or her Facebook page.

Artist teacher Belle Alvarez leading campers in a movement exercise

When I’m not teaching movement at Summer Theatre Camp or Imagination Camp, I love to use dance and movement in projects that bring together art, civic engagement, and activism. This spring, I applied to and was selected for a residency with the Painted Bride Art Center called BrideNext, which is “a citywide collaboration with people in their 20s and 30s who want to put art to work making a difference in Philadelphia.” My project will be looking at the experience of immigration, becoming American, exploring themes around sanctuary and family, and creating space for immigrants from different cultures to share their stories and celebrate what makes each culture unique.

Here are 3 ways that some of Yes! And… Collaborative Arts’ values appear in the process:


For this project, I am supported by an advisory board of individuals who are artists, community organizers, youth workers, city workers, and entrepreneurs. Their insight and connections will play an important role in connecting with the wider Philadelphia community. A gentleman who works for the city’s office of immigration affairs offered to introduce me to organizations who work with immigrants. I will also be seeking collaboration in dramaturgy, sound design, and composition to add texture and depth to my vision for the performance.

Developing a Story

On November 17 and 18, BrideNext will have two evening length performances of the artists’ work. Like a good session at camp, there is a lot to explore in this “story.” I will spend a lot of time looking at the different nuances of the immigrant experience, how it has shaped the history and culture of our city, and what we as a society can do to create a world that welcomes and honors people who come from cultures that are different that ours.


At Yes! And… Summer Theatre Camps, campers get to work alongside professional artists as they develop their collaborative and artistic skills. As an artist with BrideNext, I am being mentored by artist-activists who have a wealth of knowledge for me to learn from. I am learning from my project advisor about a big artistic and civic project she did 20 years ago in New York City, long before I became a professional artist. I am reading articles and chapters on the history and legacy of artist-activists, and reflecting on where my role is in the movement in 2017.

I hope to see you at the Painted Bride this fall after camp! In the meantime, look out for updates on my website and Facebook page.

Thomas and Joseph: Words from our participants

Editor’s note: At times we will feature some stories, testimonies, or words of affirmation about our programs straight from the mouths of the folks who participate: our kids, youth, teens, and parents/caregivers! This first installment is a transcript from our recent Winter Sort of Thing: 10 Year Anniversary Celebration. Joseph and Thomas both shared to the audience what participating in Winter Sort of Thing and Yes! And… Collaborative Arts’ other programs has meant to them. Currently, Thomas is working for us as an After School Group assistant teacher and Joseph is part of our high school Shadow Company in their Core Leadership. We are proud to have them speak on our behalf!

Thomas and Dave

Thomas and Dave in this year’s Winter Sort of Thing: 10 Year Anniversary Celebration

Joseph:  I’m a sports guy.  I like to play.  And when I was 12 (and taking myself pretty seriously) my mom sent me to theatre camp instead of basketball camp… This was not my kind of people.  They made messes.  And imagined.  And danced.  They were silly.  But geez could they wear a man down.  They were relentless, and not just the teachers.  The other kids too.  They forced me to become friends.  To join in, to make my own messes.  I learned to act and dance and sing.  They basically gave me no choice but to join Winter Sort of Thing. And this is where I learned how to work hard.  I thought I already knew what practice was from sports, but I had no idea.  And what I figured out is: I really like to work hard.  I like trying again.  To get back up.  I learned I don’t want to settle.  And how to be myself, and who “myself” really is.  

Thomas:  Good evening.  I hope you have enjoyed the show thus far.  My name is Thomas and I am currently in school to become a video game designer.  When I was a kid my dream was to the first black president.  Someone messed that up for me.  I’m not complaining too much.   Also when I was little, my mom found Yes! And… Collaborative Arts. I started going to camps and in a few years joined Winter Sort of Thing.  I blame them entirely… (I mean I loved epic stories before Yes! And…)  but i didn’t realize that could be me.  That I could author.  That I could shape.  My story,  a story, the story.  And then I could give that to others – I could inspire.  Spark.  I have a long way to go, and bunch challenges I still have to face.  But when I am a millionaire, I’m going to park a truckload of money on these people.  It will be the sweetest revenge.  Until then, I’m counting on you.  

Joseph:  I have to work hard. Harder than others. But most of the time. (Most of it.) I don’t mind, because I’m with my people.  Doing this.