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Keryl McCord

The Equity Quotient
Founder and CEO

Ms. McCord is founder and CEO of EQ, The Equity Quotient, a national training and organizational development firm dedicated to supporting non profits interested in becoming more just and equitable community partners, with equity, diversity, and inclusion as outcomes of their work. EQ’s expertise and its curriculum provides undoing racism training for the field of arts and culture, grounded in an analysis of the history, policies, and practices of the field.

Keryl McCord is a veteran thirty plus year arts manager and administrator with extensive experience in many facets of the arts. Her background includes managing director of two equity theater companies, Oakland Ensemble Theater Company, a five-hundred seat equity theater in downtown Oakland, CA, and Crossroads Theater Company, New Brunswick, NJ, the only black run LORT theater at the time, and the first such company to receive the Tony Award for Outstanding Regional Theater. Crossroads Theater Company also received 4 Tony nominations for It Ain’t Nothing But the Blues, transferred to Broadway in 1999. While in New Jersey, prior to moving to Atlanta, GA, she was Director of Institutional Development for New Jersey Symphony Orchestra.

In 1989 Ms. McCord was a member of a delegation of United States theaters invited to the USSR and hosted by the Union of Soviet Theater Artists. She represented Oakland Ensemble Theater Company, one of only two Bay Area theater companies invited to participate. The League of Chicago Theaters sponsored the delegation that included eleven Chicago theater companies.

Subsequently Ms. McCord became the executive director of the League of Chicago Theaters/ League of Chicago Theaters Foundation in 1990. She expanded the number of discount theater ticket outlets from two to six through a partnership with Rose Records.

She left Chicago in 1991 to take a post at the National Endowment for the Arts as Assistant Director of Theater Programs, and was then appointed Director of Theater Programs in 1993.

She served on the executive committee of the National Black Theater Summit on Golden Pond in 1998, convened by the late Pulitzer Prize winning playwright, August Wilson. Subsequently she was tapped to be a founding board member, and Senior Vice President of the African Grove Institute for the Arts (AGIA), Newark, NJ, of which Mr. Wilson served as chairman. She remained with AGIA until Mr. Wilson’s passing in 2005.

Beginning 2009 she was Managing Director for Alternate ROOTS, a 40-year-old nationally recognized, regionally focused network and service organization for activist artists in the South. Ms. McCord was responsible for overall day-to-day management, including fundraising and development, and helped steward the organization through a period of unprecedented growth. Over the course of her tenure the organization’s budget grew from $250,000 per year to $1.3 million, and upon her retirement in 2016 she had raised more than $5 million dollars.

Ms. McCord has consulted for many nonprofit arts organizations in the areas of institutional development, strategic fundraising, community and cultural organizing, and provides small

and large group facilitation. Clients include the Wisconsin Arts Board, Madison, WI; Arts Midwest, Minneapolis, MN; National Performance Network, New Orleans, LA; The Center for Performance and Civic Practice, Phoenix, AZ; Junebug Productions, New Orleans, LA; Spirithouse, Durham, NC; Su Teatro, Denver, CO; Myrna Loy Center for the Arts, Helena, MT; Dance USA,Washington, DC; and the New Brunswick Jazz Project, New Brunswick, NJ.

She has extensive experience in arts policy and program development. As a grant maker at the NEA she managed an annual budget of $11 million dollars, and reviewed more than 1,000 grant applications per year. The highlight of her tenure saw her develop grant policy review processes to align the program’s review criteria and grant recommendations. It resulted in more equitable funding for all grantees and widened the program’s reach and impact.

For ten years she served as chair of four grant panels for the Alliance of Resident Theaters, NY (ART/NY), and has been a panelist for organizations such as The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, The Nebraska Arts Council, the Joyce Foundation, the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Performance Network, the Lila Wallace Readers Digest Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Arts, among others. Most recently the New England Foundation for the Arts selected her to be an Advisor for the National Theater Project.

My Speakers Sessions

Saturday, May 6

3:30pm CDT