About Us

The Fund celebrates the lives and legacies of Lester and Hope Abelson and continues their passionate support of projects, groups, and organizations producing performing arts programs whose work is founded in the spirit of innovation, inspiration, and creativity that the Abelsons championed.

Lester and Hope Abelson were deeply involved in the important arts and cultural movements in Chicago and elsewhere during the mid- to late twentieth century and into the twenty-first century, particularly in theater, music, and dance.

Hope Abelson lived in and for the arts, including her early involvement with Chicago summer stock theatre, as a producer on and off-Broadway in New York, and her pivotal role in the development of the widely admired theater community of Chicago. She worked to establish storefront theaters as well as advising, counseling, and influencing now-famous ensembles and individual artists to pursue their ambitions. Learn more about Hope

The Fund continues the mission to support artists in performance and to speed their work toward growing excellence and importance. In addition to its grants, the Fund also confers The Hopie Award, which recognizes two emerging arts groups each year through a private selection process.