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The Donald Fowler Theater Arts Memorial Fund of The Dallas Foundation was created to honor the life of actor, playwright and composer Donald Fowler.  The Fund awards seed grants to early-career artists living in the Dallas Metroplex to enable them to create new innovative works of theater, including plays and musicals.  The purpose of these grants is to assist individual artists with the costs of creation at the earliest stages.

(Photo by Mei-Chun Jau)




The Dallas Foundation is the fiscal sponsor of The Donald Fowler Theater Arts Memorial Fund, a component fund of The Dallas Foundation, a 501(c)(3), publicly supported charity,

Federal Tax ID 75-2890371. 

Your gift, made by clicking the link below, is tax deductible.

Donations may also be made by mail to:

Donald Fowler Theater Arts Memorial Fund c/o The Dallas Foundation,

3000 Pegasus Park Drive, Suite 930, Dallas, TX 75247

(Photo by Karen Almond)



  • The Fund will make seed grants that encourage nascent playwrights and theatrical composers whose work-in-progress is not yet financially or otherwise supported by a theater or presenter. 

  • For the current cycle, one grant is expected to be awarded in the amount of $5,000. 

  • Grants will be awarded to Dallas Metroplex residents. Metroplex residents whose projects encompass the work of (or collaborations with) artists in other locations are eligible. 

  • Full-time students are ineligible.

  • Applicants may only submit one proposal per year. Requests for the same project should not be made by multiple applicants. 

  • Grant recipients will be asked to provide a progress report to the Fund at the one-year anniversary of the grant and to give notice of any subsequent theatrical production of the new work. They will also be asked to give permission for the Fund to share their identity as a grant recipient along with a description of the prospective work. ​

We thank you for your interest and support.

 (Photo by Kevin Gunter)


2024 Janelle Gray - "Under the Bridge"

The 2024 grant was awarded to Janelle Gray for her continued development of her new play "Under the Bridge," a story of a Black experience in the United States examining what it means to be liberated in modern times and showcasing the importance of familial inheritance and the preservation of history. Gray’s prior works include #voiced, presented at University of Texas - Dallas in February 2023, and RAGE, presented by the The Elevator Project of AT&T Performing Arts Center in March - April 2022.

Janelle Gray stated: “I am humbled to receive this grant and even more honored to become a part of the Donald Fowler arts grant family. Being able to continue my work as part of this wonderful Dallas theater community is a joy.”



2023: Catherine D. DuBord - "The Last Flapper"

2022: Adam C. Wright - "Another Night at the Crescent"

2021:  Holly Doubet - "38 Minutes"


The application cycle  for 2024 grant is now closed. Thank you.



November 13, 1961 – May 3, 2020

Donald Robert Fowler, a longtime resident of Dallas, beloved uncle, dear friend, valued member of the North Texas theater community, and successful leader in the world of luxury retail, died unexpectedly on Sunday, May 3, 2020. 

Donald was a dedicated brother and uncle, often making unplanned trips to be with his family and going out of his way to attend important events.  He took special pleasure in supporting his niece and nephew in their achievements.  To his family, he was a genuinely profound source of love, joy and inspiration.  

After graduating from Cooper High School, Abilene, Texas, in 1980, Donald studied Mass Communications at Texas Tech University and University of North Texas, before relocating to Los Angeles, where he studied acting at Playhouse West.

He later returned to Texas, settling in Dallas. 

Donald was a talented and spirited actor, writer and composer, collaborating with many theaters in North Texas.  He appeared in productions at WaterTower Theatre (Parade, Our Town, Man of La Mancha, Company, Rockin’ Christmas Party, Sweeney Todd, Enter the Guardsman, Working), Uptown Players (Wild Party, Kiss of the Spider Woman, A New Brain, Falsettos), ICT Mainstage (Nine), Theatre Three (I Love You, Your Perfect, Now Change!, Elegies, Company, Saturday Night), Irving Arts Center (Bells are Ringing), Echo Theatre (Cloud 9) and Plano Repertory Theatre (Songs for a New World), among others. He was the recipient of a 2001 Leon Rabin Award for his performance in Floyd Collins at Plano Repertory Theatre.  He had a particularly long association with WaterTower Theatre.  In 2005, he premiered his one-man show Jacket Required at WaterTower’s Out of the Loop Festival and in the Fall of 2015, premiered at WaterTower his musical Creep: The Very, Very Sad but Unfortunately True and Completely Fabricated Tale of Jack the Ripper. The production of Creep received a 2016 Column Award for Outstanding New Work by a Local Playwright.  In addition, he was the author of the plays The Politics of Up and Peggy Lee on the Midway.  Most recently, Creep was performed in concert at the Texas Tech School of Theatre and Dance in November 2019.

Donald had an equally stellar roster of roles in the world of Dallas retail.  He began as a Sales Associate at Translations, spent many years as Senior Buyer and Manager for the Home Shop at Stanley Korshak and then held the position of Senior Buyer and Manager at Nest.  Most recently, Donald worked as Director of Retail at the Nasher Sculpture Center. 

Donald’s love, enthusiasm and creative genius were an inspiration to many.  His life, music, stories, and generous spirit will live on.  

Donations in Donald’s memory to the Donald Fowler Theater Arts Memorial Fund may be made through the link above on this site or by mail to:

Donald Fowler Theater Arts Memorial Fund c/o The Dallas Foundation

3963 Maple Avenue, Suite 390, Dallas, Texas 75219.

(Photo courtesy of WaterTower Theatre)

Read more about Donald's musical Creep:



Donations may be made through the link above on this site or by mail to:

Donald Fowler Theater Arts Memorial Fund c/o The Dallas Foundation

3000 Pegasus Park Dr #930, Dallas, TX 75247

 Questions regarding the Fund and the grant application process may be directed to:

(Photo by Kelsey Leigh Ervi)

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