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Rick Bayless Establishes Family Foundation For Chicago Theater


To the long list of accomplishments of Chef Rick Bayless, add one more: benefactor of the performing arts.

The first act of the newly established Bayless Family Foundation was awarding $10,000 grants to 17 different theater companies in Chicago, from Edgewater's scrappy Broken Nose Theatre to the acclaimed Lookingglass Theatre Company on Michigan Avenue. A full list of grant recipients follows.

"We value theatre that ignites conversation, extends community, and reaches to a broader audience in the service of impactful storytelling," said Bayless, the much-heralded chef behind Frontera Grill and Topolobampo and a longtime patron - and occasional star - of the city's theater scene.

The foundation will be led by Kevin Sullivan, making the effort a true family affair.

Sullivan, 32 and a Northwestern University graduate student in arts management, is married to Lanie Bayless, daughter of Rick and Deann Bayless and a graduate of New York University's drama program. Deann Bayless holds a graduate degrees in theater and Rick Bayless, cookbook author and host of public television's "Mexico One Plate at a Time," has mounted his own play, the immersive "Cascabel," for two sold-out runs, once at Lookingglass Theatre and once at the Goodman's Owens Theater.

"Chicago is positively awash in amazing theater. This scene has enriched our lives in innumerable ways. We simply wanted to find ways to give back to the people who've given us so much," Rick Bayless said.

The foundation plans to continue its charitable giving through 2018 and beyond.

Establishing the Bayless Family Foundation is another pillar in the Bayless' philanthropic efforts. In 2007, they launched the Frontera Scholarship, a full-tuition scholarship that sends a Mexican-American Chicago Public School student to Kendall College to study culinary arts. Their nonprofit Frontera Farmer Foundation, which began as an informal no-interest loan program to local farms, has grown into a formidable farm business accelerator, with more than $2 million in capital development grants awarded since it formed officially in 2003.

2017 Award Recipients

16th Street Theater Remy Bummpo Theatre Company

Black Ensemble Theater Shattered Globe Theater Bohemian Theatre Ensemble (BoHo) Silk Road Rising

Broken Nose Theatre Strawdog Theatre Company

Griffin Theatre Company Teatro Vista

The House Theatre of Chicago The Hypocrites

Lookingglass Theatre Company Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre Porchlight Theatre Timeline Theatre Company Raven Theatre

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