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April 8, 2013
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Know Your Nonprofit: Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra

What is your mission statement?

The Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra promotes diversity in the arts through multicultural theater, events, and workshops. It seeks to enrich the cultural climate of the Sierra Foothills and the greater Sacramento region with works on Asian-based themes. CATS welcomes participation from Asians and non-Asians alike, whose interest is in ethnic theatre, and multicultural arts and activities.

What is your yearly budget and how many employees do you have?

CATS is a nonprofit organization run primarily by volunteers. Its annual budget is approximately $90,000 and its artistic director, executive director and treasurer receive a nominal annual stipend.

What is your nonprofit history?

CATS was incorporated as a 501(c)(3) under the Internal Revenue Service Code in 1996. Its season of events is composed of an annual theatrical production at the Nevada Theatre and cultural enrichment events throughout the year. Its productions have been recognized regularly for distinction by local theatregoers and by the Sacramento Area Regional Theatre Alliance (SARTA). CATS has become one of the community’s most respected arts and culture organizations. Its productions are compelling, entertaining, and educational and often have high production values. Its cultural enrichment programs often complement these productions. These include excursions, workshops, cooking classes and demonstrations, films with filmmaker presentations, concerts, festivals, book signings, luaus, Asian storytelling, acting classes, and even a trip to China. CATS also offers an annual scholarship to a graduating high school senior majoring in Theater. In addition to revenue from ticket sales, CATS receives financial support from member donations, sponsorships, and grants.

Who is your primary audience?

CATS’ primary audience comes from a 25-mile radius of western Nevada County. However, it boasts a loyal following from the Sacramento region and the Bay Area.

List the biggest achievements in your nonprofit’s history.

(1) Collaborating with Sierra Stages and InConcert Sierra in its 2011 production of Rodger’s and Hammerstein’s “The King and I” was a great achievement in sharing artistic visions and resources. (2) The Chinese New Year Festival in Nevada City in February 2013, was an achievement in collaboration with local community members and businesses and was endorsed by the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce and the City of Nevada City. (3) Its April-May production of “Journey to the West” is the most complicated show that veteran director Diane Fetterly has ever embarked, due to its enormous complexity that requires immense coordination among the actors, production crew and musicians.

List the biggest challenge.

Because CATS does one play a year, its biggest challenge is to choose a play that has broad appeal and is consistent with its mission of promoting cultural diversity. Every production is unique, and finding that special quality that excites and motivates people to come see the show – and to financially support the show and the organization – has to be the biggest challenge. Creating the compelling “why” is the biggest challenge.

What is your No. 1

short-term goal?

To make sure that “Journey to the West” is a success at the box office and in the minds and hearts of our community.

What is your No. 1 long-term goal for the next three years?

To develop and strengthen our relationship with our donors, sponsors and grantors.

What are your major

fundraisers and dates?

Our authentic Hawaiian Luau is Aug. 24, 2013, and our Asian Tales of Terror is Oct. 27. See for details.

What is the best way a person interested in your organization could help?

Any playwright, actor, director, costume designer, set designer, or musical director should contact Artistic Director Lisa Moon at 530-273-6362 or send her your resume at

Anyone with a proposal on a cultural event should contact Executive Director Jeannie Wood at or at 530-265-2990. Anyone interested in volunteering should also contact Jeannie Wood.

Community Asian Theatre of the Sierra (CATS) is a member of the Center for Nonprofit Leadership, which provides the weekly Know Your Nonprofit feature. You can learn more about The Center for Nonprofit Leadership online at The Center is on Facebook and Twitter @NevCoNonprofits.

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The Union Updated Apr 8, 2013 10:29PM Published Apr 9, 2013 10:37PM Copyright 2013 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.