Young Playwrights' Theater inspires young people to realize the power of their own voices.

Amelia Stanley

Dedicated Donor, April 2017

YPT could not do what we do without the support of our many amazing donors. From volunteering their time to contributing financially to cheering on our students in the audience, we are lucky to have such a wonderful community of support. Periodically, we like to feature our donors in a series we call Dedicated Donors. Over the next two months, we will feature all of the donors who give to YPT on a recurring basis. This month we are featuring Amelia Stanley!

Amelia Stanley is the type of person who gets things done. She is the Associate Director of Development at Woolly Mammoth Theater Company in the heart of Penn Quarter. Woolly has been producing new, edgy work for the past thirty-seven years and Amelia has been on its development team for over a year. She lights up with enthusiasm when talking about her love of the work that they produce, and her love of theater and creative expression in general.

Amelia first learned about YPT through YPT’s former Program Manager Laurie Ascoli. They first bonded as friends over a mutual love of theater education, which Amelia studied when she went to New York University. Her degree was through a program that she designed. She studied theater education from the perspective of an organization, to learn how organizations can cultivate the next generation of artists and theater lovers. Amelia and Laurie bonded as friends in DC over the “beauty and importance of theater.” She came to the New Play Festival with Laurie for the first time in 2014, calling it her “aha!” moment with YPT. She says she was struck by how “sophisticated, smart, funny, thoughtful, memorable” the plays were, and since then she has gone on to be a valued member of YPT family, volunteering at our events and even serving as a lead volunteer in the gala planning committee in 2016.

We had a chance to sit down with Amelia for an interview over the phone this week to talk about her monthly giving to YPT.

YPT: What inspires you to give to YPT? What inspired you to start giving monthly?

AS: It’s really important work – work that I believe in and feel passionate about. I want to give this opportunity to students. I only have a small amount of money to give, so giving small monthly increments is the most effective way I can show my support. It allows me to make more impact – it’s more manageable to give small gifts that add up to a lot over time. I want to make the most impact with my giving even though I’m only able to give a smaller amount. As someone who works in development for another theater, we really appreciate small gifts, so this seemed like the best way to support YPT. It also makes it easy to have an ongoing dialogue with the organization and to give money that YPT knows it can count on. As an arts administrator, recurring donations make it easier to understand what’s coming - not being able to plan and uncertainty about where funding is coming from makes our lives hard. Recurring donations make our lives easier. Now, even though it’s a small monthly amount, YPT knows that it can plan on that donation from me.

YPT: What impact do you hope your gifts will have on YPT students?

AS: I understand it’s important to fund special projects and general funding alike. I hope that my donation goes to one classroom for a teaching artist, but wherever it goes, I know it’s going to where it’s most needed. I want my money to go to whatever allows the YPT staff to do what we need to do. Everything YPT does is important.

YPT: Why is monthly giving to YPT important to you right now? Why is it important that we come together as a community to keep programs like YPT’s alive in the current political/social/economic climate?

AS: Well, it is important to give monthly for me because it helps make my cash flow better. It’s an easy thing for me to do – I don’t have to think about it or feel worried that I forgot.

Right now, there is so much going on. So much conflict – so much inability to communicate. So much uncertainty of the future. Regardless of your political beliefs, we need the next generation to be able to communicate effectively. It’s not just about teaching students playwriting, it’s about teaching them how to communicate. I think YPT is doing extremely important work with kids of DC. Being in DC, you are in the thick of politics, and if we can continue to teach kids who are in school how to talk to a broad group of people – it makes me more optimistic that we can get out of this period of conflict. People have forgotten how to talk to each other. There is so much lack of active, productive dialogue. If we can teach kids about dialogue then they can learn how to have those conversations. Kids aren’t being taught how to creatively communicate and that’s why YPT is important to me.

YPT: Monthly, sustained giving helps ensure that programs like YPT are around for young people for years to come. What future do you dream of for the young people involved with YPT? What kind of world do you want to give to them?

AS: I’m excited for the future. This Monday, I’m coming to elementary school night of the New Play Festival. I’ve never been, and I’m really excited.

In the future, I hope that we can expand to more classrooms, train more artists to teach kids this kind of work, find more students, expand programming and expose kids and teachers alike to the work so that it can translate into everyday aspects of students’ education. Recurring giving allows us to be able to provide that. This is important for the future for YPT because it gives YPT the future.

We truly appreciate the support from Amelia. YPT is not able to do the work that we do without the invaluable support from members of the YPT family like Amelia, who help bring our mission to life through the power of their volunteer and donation support. From May to June 2017, our goal is to cultivate 100 monthly donors who will pledge to give at least $10 a month. If you are interested in joining Amelia as a monthly donor and want to learn more about monthly giving please contact Jessica Wisser, Development Director, at