Mike Daisey: Dallas Theater Center Gift Good, But Not Enough On Its Own

Mike Daisey noticed our post about the Brierley gift of $1 million to the Dallas Theater Center’s resident acting company, and while he commends the gift on his blog as the “right kind of news,” he also says it “is a starting point- not the end — for this conversation.” From Daisey:

Let’s make no mistake–in these economic times with careful stewardship, I’ve been told that a 5% return on an endowment is a rough guideline for back of the envelope calculations. At $1 million, that gift should then generate $50,000 a year for the actors–enough to pay one person’s salary, or  not quite two at the low, low rates actors are accustomed to in the American theater.”

That said, the Brierley gift was a naming grant, not a founding grant, and since the DTC’s troupe has been around for some time, I imagine it is being added to an already existent pile of cash.  I have an inquiry into the DTC to try to get a sense of what the size of their current endowment is. I’ll update this space when I hear back.

UPDATE: From the DTC:

An acting company-specific endowment does not exist, and the Brierley’s gift does not exclusively support the acting company. Rather, as stated in the press release, it “will support DTC’s artistic programming, which includes its commitment to productions of classics, new plays and musicals of the highest caliber, meaningful community partnerships, and a resident company of professional actors.”

The acting company is a part of DTC’s artistic programming, and the Brierley’s gift will support the artistic programming as a whole. DTC renamed the resident acting company to the Brierley Resident Acting Company to acknowledge the gift and honor the Brierleys.


  • Dallas has a vibrant culture of donating, which is why we enjoy the most impressive arts district in the world. The Brierley family is a fantastic example of the philantropic spirit alive in Dallas. With continued involvement by its patrons and proper stewardship, Dallas will continue to be noticed for its contribution to the art world.