The children served by Only Make Believe face different challenges – some are chronically ill or struggling with psychiatric disorders; others have physical or developmental disabilities; most spend a large portion of their childhoods isolated from their communities. But all can benefit from the therapeutic power of theater. Only Make Believe creates and performs interactive theater for children in hospitals, care facilities, and special education programs, bringing the magic of imaginative play into their lives. With the help of local professional actors, children take part in original plays, dressing up and becoming the stars of the show. Each performance is tailored to suit the children’s needs – including sensory modifications for children with disabilities, and an interactive closed-circuit TV program for kids who cannot leave their hospital beds – and all are free of charge. Nurturing children’s imaginations helps them to learn, and to heal. You can play a role.

Headquarters: DC-Ward 5

Where They Operate: DC-Ward 5; DC-Ward 7; MD-Montgomery County; VA-Fairfax County; Anacostia; Brookland; Maryland; Virginia

Age Groups Served: Pre-K (3-4); Youth (5-11); Pre-teen/teen (12-17)

Population(s) Served: Individuals with Disabilities; Men/Boys; Women/Girls

Schools They Work In: St. Coletta of Greater Washington; River Terrace Education Campus


  • Performances offered annually:   125
  • Number of children served annually :   1200
  • Number of volunteers who work with us annually:   609
  • Number of hours of volunteer work we record annually:   1218
  • Artists employed by us annually:   12

Awards & Recognition

2017 DC Mayor's Arts Awards Finalist - Excellence in Performing Arts
Catalogue for Philanthropy (2017)
National Endowment for the Arts - ArtWorks Award 2016

Press

Budget (FY2016)

  • $3 million or higher
  • The current budget for Only Make Believe is: $1 million to $3 million
  • $500k to $1 million
  • Less than $500k

Catalogue charities range in size from $100,000 to $3 million. This graphic indicates the budget range of the organization featured here. If you see an organizational budget above the $3 million mark, that is because the featured charity has grown in size since it first appeared in the Catalogue. We proudly present on our website the work of these "growth" charities.

About the Catalogue for Philanthropy

Each year 120 expert reviewers evaluate applicants for distinction, merit, and impact. Each featured charity has been successfully site visited and its financials given the thumbs up. The Catalogue for Philanthropy charges no fees and raises funds separately to support its work. Since 2003, it has raised over $40 million for charities across the Greater Washington region.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy looks to friends like you to keep our services independent and entirely free of charge. Consider a small contribution to the Catalogue to cap off your gift and help the causes you care about get the full support they deserve!

If you like Only Make Believe you might also like



This organization collaborates with