BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Shafer Mazow - Co-Chair
Shafer (he/him) is the Executive Director at Z Space, is a writer, theater artist, fundraiser, and activist living in San Francisco and working in program development and strategic initiatives at the intersection of art, science, and social justice. Prior to joining Z Space, Shafer was Senior Grants Manager at the Exploratorium and Director of Institutional Giving and Strategy at American Conservatory Theater (A.C.T.). He serves on the organizing committee for Bay Area Writer’s Resist, leads the trans and gender-non-conforming advocacy and empathy project IPFreely, and has helped to establish space-sharing initiatives for performing artists, community-based theater programs, and research and action initiatives to address gender equity in the non-profit theater field. Shafer holds a B.A. in English from Wellesley College and a M.F.A. in English and Creative Writing from Mills College. His work has appeared in the Berkeley Fiction Review, 580 Split, and the zines Found and Brood. In his early days in San Francisco, Shafer performed stand-up and sketch comedy throughout the Bay Area and was a founding member of the comedy troupe, This Side of Butch.
Charles Gershman - Co-Chair
Charles (he/him) is a Midwest-bred queer playwright/screenwriter. He is a Dramatists Guild Foundation Playwriting Fellow, a 2019 Chesley/Bumbalo Playwriting Award winner, and a 2019 Relentless Award Semifinalist. His award-winning play The Waiting Game premiered at 59E59 Theaters in February 2019. His play Free & Proud recently had an acclaimed run in the UK (Edinburgh Fringe, Theatre503), where it was nominated for the Amnesty International Freedom of Expression Award and the SIT-Up Award and called ‘One of 10 must-see queer shows in town’ (Evening Standard). It is published by Oberon Books (UK).
In the Dramatists Guild Foundation Fellows Program, he has been developing an untitled new play about a modern family and their foster teen, with mentorship from Diana Son. Other plays are currently being developed with support from The New Group, the Flea Theater, and the Lark. Charles earned an MFA in dramatic writing at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts in 2018 and a BA in history at Columbia University. He has been a teaching artist at several colleges, including The New School’s Eugene Lang College, where two of his plays are regularly taught in an undergraduate playwriting class on adaptation.
Leigh Fondakowski - Secretary
Leigh (they/them) is a playwright and director. Leigh was the head writer of The Laramie Project, co-writer of Laramie: Ten Years Later, and an Emmy Nominated co-screenwriter for the film adaptation of Laramie with HBO Films. Their other original plays include, I Think I Like Girls, The People's Temple, SPILL, and her current work-in-progress, Casa Cushman. Their plays have been produced under her direction at American Theater Company, Berkeley Repertory Theater, Encore Theater, EnsembleStudio Theater, The Guthrie Theater, La Jolla Playhouse, Perseverance Theater, SwinePalace, TimeLine Theater, and Z Space Studio. Awards include The Glickman Award for Best New Play in the Bay Area (The People’s Temple); Bay Area Critics Circle nomination for Best Production (I Think I Like Girls); and a Jeff Nomination for BestChicago Production (SPILL). Leigh is a 2007 recipient of the NEA/TCG TheatreResidency Program for Playwrights, a 2009 MacDowell Colony fellow, and a 2018 recipient of The National Endowment of the Arts Residency for Collaborative Teams at Yaddo. They held a Distinguished Visiting Chair at the University of Minnesota in 2010, and is the author of the creative non-fiction book, Stories from Jonestown, which they are currently adapting to film. They teach and lecture around the country, including New Orleans Center for Creative Arts, and has been a member of Tectonic Theater Project since 1995. Leigh was the recipient of a Next Stage Drama League Fellowship in 2018 and was a participant in the Orchard Project’s pilot theater development program Orchard Project Greenhouse.
Keith Butler - Treasurer
Keith (he/him) brings nearly 20 years’ experience as a development professional with some of New York’s most prominent and diverse cultural and social service nonprofits. He is currently the Assistant Vice President, Institutional Advancement for the Museum of the City of New York. In this capacity, Keith oversees all aspects of the Museum’s development efforts in support of individual giving, and has direct responsibility for the generation of major gifts. Keith previously served as Director of Development for the James Beard Foundation, the signature culinary nonprofit and producer of the renowned James Beard Awards, overseeing the creation of a comprehensive fundraising strategy and organizational culture. Keith was Director of Institutional Partnerships for Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE), overseeing both the major gifts and institutional giving portfolios for the organization (approximately $4.5 million annually). Additional nonprofit experience includes development roles and leadership with Film Forum, the Cunningham Dance Foundation (formerly the Merce Cunningham Dance Company), Dance Theatre Workshop, the Brooklyn Philharmonic, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, Inc. He has taught “Development in the Performing Arts” as part of NYU’s Master’s program in Performing Arts Administration, and served as the Fundraising Specialist for Dance Theatre Workshop’s Laboratory in Arts Management. Keith holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance (cum laude) from Boston University and a Master of Arts degree in Performing Arts Administration from New York University.