Our Giving Programs

As a non-profit 501(c)3 organization, we count on the many individuals, corporations and foundations  who contribute to Valley Youth Theatre each season. With ticket revenues comprising less than 50% of our budget, it is through the generosity of individual donors, corporate sponsorships and foundations that help to raise the curtain on award-winning theatre.

Your contribution enables VYT to keep ticket prices affordable for the entire community—from students to seniors, and everyone in between. Also, VYT is able to remain fee-free to the youth who attend our auditions and perform in our mainstage productions, ensuring equal access and opportunity to anyone with the desire to perform. It provides free and low-cost educational outreach programs for our schools. And it ensures we maintain the artistic excellence you have come to expect at Valley Youth Theatre.


End-of-Year Giving Campaign

Through your End-of-Year donation, you have the opportunity to play an important role in children's lives and will see them become successful entertainers, leaders, activists, volunteers and parents –proving that your investment in today's youth is an investment in tomorrow's leaders. Your End-of-Year support will go directly toward our General Operating Expenses and allow us to continue inspiring young people to be the best they can be.

With your support, we can remain fee-free for performers, with no pay-to-play requirement, no costume purchase or rental needs and no expectation for actors to sell tickets. That is what ensures that all young performers, no matter their social, cultural or economic status, have equal opportunity to audition for, be cast in and spotlight their talent in VYT shows.

Donations earmarked as End-of-Year Giving are perfect for those donors looking to maximize their charitable donations before the close of the current fiscal year. All End-of-Year donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law, less the fair market value of the benefits received from in-kind contributions. Valley Youth Theatre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and our Federal Tax ID number is 86-0641978.

VYT is recognized as a respected, award-winning theatre company that teaches children leadership and life skills through our incredible productions and outstanding education programs. We also provide once-in-a-lifetime experiences for thousands of underserved Valley children who might not otherwise have live theatre in their lives – let alone live theatre with kids their age, on stage.

For additional information, please contact our Development & Communications  Director, Leigh Ann Dolan, at 602.253.8188 x304 or at Development@vyt.com.

Artistic Director's Circle

Are YOU in the circle? VYT's ARTISTIC DIRECTOR'S CIRCLE (ADC) is an exclusive group of supporters who have decided to increase their level of support for VYT and receive exclusive and exciting rewards. This helps to ensure and increase the reach of our unique programming.

Through your investment, our young actors who perform fee-free will continue to receive extensive training in the theatrical arts, bolstering their chances for success in life through higher self-confidence, elevated leadership standards and public speaking skills. Additionally, we have the capacity to expand our reach in the community, inspiring underserved children in local public schools through our Literacy and the Arts program and partnering with local social service agencies to bring the magic of live theatre to children through our Adopt-A-Seat campaign.

ADC members receive exclusive and exciting rewards for their support of VYT and the fostering of its mission. As a member, you will be among the first to know new details about VYT happenings, get early access to events and join a social group of people who truly believe in what we do!

We would be honored to have you join the Artistic Director's Circle and help us continue to INSPIRE the youth in our community.

Donations earmarked as End-of-Year Giving are for those donors looking to maximize their charitable donations before the close of the current fiscal year. All End-of-Year donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law, less the fair market value of the benefits received from in-kind contributions. Valley Youth Theatre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and our Federal Tax ID number is 86-0641978.

ADC Levels of Giving & Associated Benefits


Applause $1,000

  • Invitation to private ADC events and advanced notification of special VYT productions
  • Two Season Memberships (2 tickets to 6 shows)
  • Two Individual Performance Tickets
  • Priority Seating and ticket services
  • Behind-the-scenes tour
  • Recognition in playbills and theatre lobby signage
  • Annual tax deduction*

Bravo! $2,500

All of the benefits above, plus:

  • Cocktail Party with Producing Artistic Director
  • Four additional Season Memberships (6 total)

ENCORE! $5,000

All of the benefits above, plus:

  • Dinner Party with Producing Artistic Director
  • Two additional Season Memberships (8 total)
  • Invitation to Opening Night After Party

We are happy to assist you in becoming a member and payment options are available. For additional information and to join the Artistic Director's Circle, please contact our Development Director at 602.253.8188 x304 or at Development@vyt.com.

Your contribution is tax-deductible as allowed by law, less the fair market value of the benefits received. Valley Youth Theatre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and our Federal Tax ID number is 86-0641978.

*All monies associated with your ADC membership, less the dollar value of any benefits, may be tax-deductible. ADC members also have the option of receiving a 100% tax deduction for their gift by declining any associated benefits with dollar value.

You can provide ongoing support for VYT, throughout the year, by selecting to make an automatic monthly donation in the amount you choose. For example, if you choose to give $10 a month that provides $120 a year to support our programs, $50 a month provides $600 a year. Pick whatever amount is manageable for you! Click here to find out more.

General Operating Support

Donations earmarked as General Operating Support are for those donors who wish to contribute to VYT's productions and internal programs, throughout the year. All General Operating Expenses donations are tax-deductible as allowed by law, less the fair market value of the benefits received from in-kind contributions. Valley Youth Theatre is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and our Federal Tax ID number is 86-0641978.

Donations contributed to General Operating Support help fund the following internal programs:

  • Fee-Free Participation in Productions, which is a cornerstone of our theatre. Our cast members do not pay fees to participate. They don't have to rent or purchase costumes and there are no requirements for them to sell tickets. They also aren't required to have any previous theatrical experience or formal training. We just strive to recognize each child's potential and to match their talent and skill level with the needs of each role. That means, our open casting gives every child in the Valley an opportunity to participate in our shows – regardless of their social or economic backgrounds. During our 2019-2020 season, an extremely diverse group of 362 young people auditioned for 161 roles.
  • VYT's Military & First-Responder Program allows us to offer complimentary tickets for select performances to families of the armed forces and local law enforcement, firefighting and emergency personnel, which helps to reinforce family bonds and create positive life-long memories. During our 2019-2020 season, 139 of these complimentary tickets were given to these heroes and their family members.
  • HopeKids Dress Rehearsals allow VYT to bring families of children with chronic and life-threatening illnesses to a free performance, immediately preceding opening night. Not only does this allow our casts to perform in front of a live audience for the first time, it also gives these extraordinary audience members the opportunity to see brave young people – who are often their own age – pursuing their dreams. Last season, we facilitated 546 of these complimentary seats to these appreciative families.
    "Valley Youth Theatre is one of our most valued event partners. The laughter, joy and hope they bring to our HopeKids is immeasurable. VYT takes our HopeKids off to magical places and gives them an escape from the daily struggles living with a life-threatening medical condition. Thank you for giving our HopeKids something to always look forward to. We appreciate your constant support of HopeKids." - HopeKids Program Manager, Angie. During our 2019-2020 season, we facilitated 314 of these complimentary seats to these appreciative families.
  • Reduced Weekday Field Trip Tickets provide a way for teachers to supplement under-funded school arts programs by purchasing tickets at half price. For every show, our cast, crew and orchestra set aside designated daytime performances to facilitate these teachers and their students. During our 2019-2020 season, 1,432 students were able to see a VYT show for a reduced price.

Literacy and the Arts (LTA)

VYT's Literacy and the Arts program gives students from Title 1 schools a page-to-stage experience by effectively combining the power of in-school learning with the enchantment of experiencing live theatre. Books related to the production and accompanying study guides prepare children for a production that helps them learn. Between 2019-2021, 3,667 Title 1 school students benefited from this program.

Program Description

Improving literacy among at-risk youth is one of the most direct and viable routes out of poverty and critical to the future of our community. We created the Literacy in the Arts (LTA) program in 1993 to give K-8 students from two inner city school districts - Roosevelt and Phoenix Elementary - the opportunity to develop an enthusiasm for reading and enhance their reading comprehension and literacy through live theatre. Every year 3,000 to 5,000 students have had the wonderful opportunity to enjoy the benefits of this program. 

Outcomes of the program are to motivate students to read more and, subsequently, to improve their reading comprehension and literacy skills.

Program Activities

The LTA program runs concurrent with the districts' school year at no cost to them. Activities include:

  • Our Director of Education meets with representatives from the two districts each spring to plan for the following school year in terms of what book correlates most to our productions and what will benefit the student most. Each production is carefully chosen by the school district that is most age appropriate for their students.
  • After the initial meeting and book selection two specially designated shows are scheduled for students participating in the LTA program for five of our six annual productions. Those students then attend their designated production that reinforces the book being read and studied in the classroom.
  • Thirty days prior to the performance each child receives their book on which the performance is based.
  • Teachers receive a study guide created by Valley Youth Theatre with the input of educators that touches on math, language arts, history, social studies, and more to integrate into a curriculum-based classroom study.

Who Is Served

The Roosevelt District is comprised of 12,500+ mostly economically disadvantaged students, with 40% living in non-English speaking households. Eighty percent (80%) of Roosevelt students are Hispanic and 15% are African American. Phoenix Elementary has almost 9,000 students and 85% are Hispanic. On average, 83% of the students in the Roosevelt and Phoenix Elementary (Title 1) schools qualify for free or reduced-price lunches; the average for the state is 51%. Poverty, according to the Children's Defense Fund, is one of the largest factors for family stress and relates directly to failure at school. The stresses that children face at home are huge, as a result of economic status and of the consequences that result from that, such as poor nutrition, unstable family lives, less access to mental health care, and frequent absence of stable male role models.

What They Do

Each school participating in the LTA program adapts it to best serve its students' needs: some use it as a reward for reading progress (Roosevelt School District's "Superintendent's Reading Club)" the benefits of which are participation in the LTA program. Others use it as an incentive to encourage children to read more books during the school year. All participating schools integrate it into their curriculum as an essential arts-based learning experience.

While we, of course, do not take full credit for improved reading and comprehension scores, many of the same students participate in the LTA program as they move through grades, and some of the same schools participate and we therefore can track how these students are improving in reading and literacy. Also, feedback from school officials and teachers demonstrate that we are making a difference in improving the reading and literacy skills of their students.

What Does the Program Cost

The program is free to students. Our goal is reach 3,600 at-risk youth at a cost of $25 per student and an annual budget of $90,000. Support for the program is broken down by increments of 200 as our theater holds 202 seats.

$5,000 200 children
$10,000 400 children
$15,000 600 children
$20,000 800 children
$25,000 1,000 children (and so on)

What People Are Saying

"Increased literacy, love of reading, and appreciation for live theatre among disadvantaged children has developed through this innovative program." - Myrium Roa, Superintendent of the Phoenix Elementary School District.

"Our students are provided exceptional learning experiences through our partnership that enhances our ongoing focus to increase student achievement and cultural experiences for all of the children." - Jacqueline Jackson, Ed. D, Superintendent of the Roosevelt District.

"You have made a huge difference in our children's lives by combining reading and the performing arts to inner-city children while expanding their world through educational and creative opportunities they otherwise might not experience." - Frank Diaz, social worker at Lowell Elementary School.

"I read all the time now. Can you guys invite us again please?" - Name of 3rd grade Garfield School student withheld for privacy purposes.

What Others Are Saying

Studies sponsored by the United States Department of Education, National Endowment for the Arts, American for the Arts, and other respected cultural policy and arts advocacy organizations have demonstrated that community collaboration through the arts has had a farther reaching effect on youth at risk than any other youth program in the United States. These studies have consistently emphasized that participation in the arts by young people living in poverty-stricken inner city neighborhoods inspires and equips young people with the tools they need to make positive change happen in their lives, such as increased self-confidence, connection with the community, ability to solve problems in their lives and school, the economic benefit of growing up less dependent on social programs, and a greater ability to cope with the world.

What We Say

Valley Youth Theatre's partnership with two of the largest inner-city school districts in Phoenix on the Literacy and the Arts program helps at-risk youth see beyond the circumstances of their lives to the world of possibility that awaits them, and promotes their healthy growth and development through a well-rounded curriculum that opens up a new way of learning for them and breathes creative energy into a community.

Nigel Ross Scholarship Fund

To commemorate the special talents and unique spirit of Nigel Ross, a victim of domestic violence, on Christmas Eve 2017, Valley Youth Theatre and United Surgical Partners International (USPI) created the Nigel Ross Scholarship Fund. Supported by contributions from USPI and the local community, this fund enables other young performers to attend the summer theatre workshops that Nigel enjoyed so much.

A natural leader with an infectious smile, Nigel loved acting, singing and dancing – talents that were recognized by his securing the lead role in the theatre company's production of "Aladdin." Not only did VYT's annual summer camps offer Nigel a place to hone his craft and feel accepted and inspired, they afforded him a temporary respite from the hardships he endured at home.

Sensing how important this workshop was for Nigel, VYT insisted that his family accept a scholarship for him to attend a second four-week session last July. "I just had a feeling that Nigel needed us as much as we needed him," explained Bobb Cooper, VYT's Producing Artistic Director. "In his brief 11 years, he went through more than most people will in a lifetime. But for a few weeks last summer, Nigel was able to take a break from those daily challenges and just enjoy being a kid."

The initial funding was granted by USPI-run St. Joseph's Surgical Outpatient Center where Nigel's mother worked as an administrator.

"Our team at St. Joseph's Surgical Outpatient Center was happy to have initiated the fund and to have contributed to it in memory of Nigel," said Francie John, VP of operations at USPI. "We hope the Scholarship Fund will help children to have a great experience at Valley Youth Theatre for years to come."

VYT's Summer Camp is offered twice each year for boys and girls ages 5 through 18. Donations will be gratefully accepted as one-time contributions or on an ongoing monthly basis.


VYT's Sponsor-a-Seat program allows disadvantaged children from dozens of social service organizations to attend a free VYT performance at the Herberger Theater Center and enjoy a complimentary lunch with the cast and crew. During our run of Freaky Friday, 1,001 children enjoyed a complimentary Sponsor-a-Seat performance.

Now in its 23rd year, Sponsor-a-Seat provides underserved boys and girls with a truly unique opportunity to experience the performing arts. For two magical afternoons, each season, 1,500 children from more than 30 local social service agencies fill the Center Stage seats at the Herberger Theater Center. They then enjoy a healthful lunch, donated by Subway, that they get to enjoy while meeting and socializing with the show's cast and crew.

"Last year, our sponsors gave more than 1,000 youth who live with physical disabilities, come from broken homes, and/or regularly deal with domestic violence and poverty the opportunity to experience the wonder of live theatre through Freaky Friday," said Bobb Cooper, VYT's Producing Artistic Director. "This year, we've serving even more children and we look forward to seeing the hope and inspiration this program provides as they witness and interact with our young actors and musicians."

The social service agencies attending last year's Sponsor-a-Seat productions included Arizona Children's Association, Chicanos por la Casa, Devereaux, Down Syndrome Network, First Place, Homeward Bound, Marc Center, New Pathways for Youth, One Step Beyond, Project Access, Salvation Army Chandler, Salvation Army Phoenix, Save The Family, Southwest Human Development, Sunshine Acres and UMOM.

Throughout the year, local companies and individuals are encouraged to donate to Sponsor-a-Seat or to provide volunteers for performance days. Last year, employee volunteers from APS and Edward Jones volunteered their time to help VYT make Sponsor-A-Seat an extra-special day for all attendees.

Every $50 donation provides a child's ticket and lunch. Since 1996, more than 20,000 Valley youth have participated in the program.

VYTal Affair

VYTal (Valley Youth Theatre Applauds Leadership) is our annual gala, placing the spotlight not only on our talented young performers, but members of the community who have made a difference in the lives of children. By checking the VYTal Affair box on our Donation Page, you can purchase tickets or make a financial contribution toward the gala.

Last season's event represented VYT's 20th VYTal Affair and its largest fundraiser of the year, with 92% of all money raised going directly to VYT programs. Each year, VYTal Affair offers the opportunity for local arts patrons to network and support our nonprofit theatre that has gained national recognition for the high quality and professionalism of arts in The Valley. Premium tickets typically cost $300 and balcony seats are usually $175.

According to 2019 Event Chair, Andrea Tyler Evans, "It is an honor for me to help Valley Youth Theatre grow, thrive and serve an even broader cross-section of the community. VYT serves a critical role in the arts in the Valley and is a tremendous resource for our young people in helping them achieve dreams they never thought possible."

Top sponsors of the 2019 event were APS and Sanderson Lincoln. BOK Financial, Carstens Family Funds, Edward Jones, Gammage & Burnham, KPMG, PONO Construction, Andrea & Tom Evans and Sherman & Howard were also large contributors. Bar sponsors were Tito's Handmade Vodka and Crescent Crown Distributing with complimentary valet service provided by Pescatore Cooper, PLC.

VYT's Producing Artistic Director, Bobb Cooper, states, "Though we are a small company featuring very young performers, I believe our theatre is mighty in the way we have garnered support from some of the most well-respected people and businesses in the community."

Hosts for the 2019 event were local personalities, Gina Salazar-Hook and John Hook, and the evening's live auction "Auctiontainer" was the renowned Letitia Frye. Complimentary catering was provided by 1130 The Restaurant, Aioli Burgers, Alexi's, Canyon Café, Cibo, Conceptually Social Catering, The Dirty Drummer, The Farish House, Hava Java, New York Pizza Dept., Pomo, Portillo's and Short Leash Hot Dogs/Rollover Doughnuts. Deserts were provided by Nothing Bundt Cakes, AJ's and Pie Snob.

Deduct Your Donation – Universal Tax Break 2021

Congress has extended and enhanced the 2020 one-year tax break that was enacted under the CARES Act! 

In 2021 an above-the-line tax deduction can be made for gifts of cash to qualifying charities of up to $300 for individuals and up to $600 for joint filers!!!  For 2020, the deduction was limited to $300 per tax return.  The new provision allows a married couple filing jointly to basically get DOUBLE the deduction for 2021 if they make $600 in cash gifts to charity!  That means you can claim your VYT investment on your taxes next year, even if you don’t itemize!

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