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Learn How Community Forklift Helped Bring a Gala Theatre Set to Life

Learn How Community Forklift Helped Bring a Gala Theatre Set to Life

By Community Forklift, originally published on Community Forklift’s blog

Community Forklift provided the backdrop for exciting programming and shows from GALA Theatre, one of the most vibrant arts groups in the Washington, DC area.

GALA (Grupo de Artistas LatinoAmericanos) Hispanic Theatre is a National Center for Latino Performing Arts group located right in Washington, DC. This group brings Latino arts to audiences who are both steeped in the culture as well as those who are experiencing the beauty and diversity of Hispanic heritage for the first time. Live theater, dance, and musical productions are performed in both Spanish and English, and GALA Theatre provides the space and expertise for education and enrichment in addition to entertainment.

But putting on these impressive shows and programming can be costly. Often, we think of the lighting, venue, advertising, staff, and other large expenses when it comes to running a theater company, but the cost of the set itself can be significant.

That’s why GALA applied to Community Forklift’s Community Building Blocks (CBB) program. This grant allowed them to bring their set to life for programs, plays, GALita children’s plays, ArteAmerica programs, and PasoNuevo youth performances. One of the highlights of the season was using Community Forklift finds to showcase the vibrancy, color, and provenance of their February 2024 show, Las Hermana Palacios (The Palacios Sisters).


The set for GALA’s most recent production “Mummy in the Closet: Evita’s Return” incorporates salvaged 4x4s, light fixtures, molding, and more from Community Forklift.

Materials sourced from Community Forklift added detail and authenticity to the set. Everything from wall sconces to trim, doors, hardware, floor tiles, sliding glass doors, paint, and lamps were used to breathe life into the stage. These real pieces made the on-stage scenery tangible for the audience and brought a quality of dynamism to the production. And these pieces aren’t just used once — they can be used year-after-year, reimagined for each season’s productions.


“Mummy in the Closet: Evita’s Return” is a musical blending history and fantasy. It follows the afterlife of Eva Peron, when her preserved corpse ignites political scandals and clandestine affairs.

The partnership between GALA and Community Forklift was initially borne out of the company looking to Community Forklift as a resource for affordable secondhand finds for the set. With the encouragement of the Community Forklift staff, GALA applied for a CBB grant and was accepted. Since 2011, over 500 other organizations across the area have received over $500,000 worth of materials.

Through our Community Building Blocks (CBB) program, we provide mini-grants that allow community groups and nonprofits to use warehouse credit towards a wide range of projects that serve the greater community. That could be furniture for an elementary school teacher’s lounge in an underserved neighborhood or necessary appliances for a facility that works with providing resources to the unhoused community.

Community Forklift turns the construction waste stream into a resource steam for communities in the DC region — by keeping perfectly good items out of the landfill, preserving historical materials, providing low-cost building supplies, and creating local green jobs. Learn more and support them by donating or shopping. Organizations interested in applying for a CBB grant can connect with them to find out more.

Announcing Spur Local’s 2024 Nonprofit Class

Announcing Spur Local’s 2024 Nonprofit Class

Spur Local (formerly known as the Catalogue for Philanthropy) is proud to announce the 137 organizations in our 2024 class, the 22nd class of nonprofit partners since we were founded in 2003. These community-based organizations preserve and elevate stories of local history; equip the next generation to be engaged civic leaders; cultivate vibrant regional food systems; and directly provide needed services and support across Greater Washington. Together, they work holistically to make this region more equitable, reminding us that collaboration strengthens our collective impact.

The Spur Local nonprofit review process is driven by community input. This year, we enlisted 150+ volunteers who live and work in the region to read the nearly 200 applications we received from nonprofits. In addition to this community review, Spur Local conducts a rigorous financial review and arranges site visits between all selected organizations and reviewers or Spur Local team members. The guiding principle throughout this decision-making process is to select organizations making critical local impact. The generosity, time, and expertise of our volunteer reviewers also ensure that every nonprofit applicant receives feedback — we know that such feedback is enormously helpful to improve future applications to Spur Local and other opportunities.

When nonprofits join the Spur Local network, they begin a four-year partnership with us alongside hundreds of other small, locally-focused nonprofits. In cohorts and workshops, partners share resources, uncover new ideas, and form the critical connections that allow them to further their impact. Spur Local builds collective infrastructure through this network and in organizational and professional development training so nonprofits can sustain their vital work over the long term.

We also uplift their stories of impact across the region, shining a spotlight on their incredible but often overlooked work. Partners can access opportunities to maximize the reach of their stories through media partnerships, social media, and our blog. Through our flagship print catalog, as well as its digital companion, Spur Local works to inspire and inform the community to support these local changemakers. On our website, you can find ways to volunteer or donate to support their cause and, ultimately, your community.

Meaningful transformation requires a broad mix of engaged stakeholders, including each of us. Just as every nonprofit plays a role — whether in basic needs or arts and culture — you, too, can offer your time, talent, ties, and other resources to advance this shared vision.

We invite you to learn more about the organizations in our 2024 class and join us in celebrating them by giving them a shoutout on social media, donating, or sending them a quick congratulatory email! 79 of these nonprofits will be featured in Spur Local’s yearly print and digital catalog. Add your name to our mailing list to receive a free copy when it is released in November. Save the date to meet these organizations in person at our annual Community Changemakers on October 30, 2024, at Hook Hall in NW DC.