We Create Transformative Theater Experiences That Open A Path to Healing

Our programs focus on the thoughts, feelings and emotions that people who live with chronic health conditions encounter on a daily basis.  We utilize the unique tools of the performing arts – such as puppetry, storytelling, and metaphor- to create artistic programming that shines a new light on people’s day-to-day experiences of chronic disease, allowing for individual discoveries and new realizations to emerge.

Trained facilitators, peers, and health care professionals facilitate the dialogue that surfaces after the artistic intervention in order to assist healthy and safe processing of the experience.

As one participant said, “Your programs, in just fifteen minutes, can put the pain you’ve been carrying around for 20 years into catharsis. You are literally breaking down the Great Wall that we’ve been building up our whole lives.” – Daniele Hargenrader

Our programs are delivered in diverse settings, ranging from community, medical, academic, to artistic and corporate settings.

THE BETES Organization employs the performing arts to help people with chronic conditions form a flourishing relationship with their health.

The BETES Organization envisions a community where individuals with chronic disease feel whole. By embracing both joy and pain we achieve a more meaningful existence.

Theatrical performance provokes deep personal reflection and conversation, creating a caring, collaborative relationship amongst people with chronic illness and with their circle of loved ones and health care providers. This fosters understanding of the lived experience of illness for all.

The BETES Organization envisions a world where performing artists and the medical community, together, champion the healing of both mind and body, so everyone has an opportunity to form a flourishing relationship with their health.


Executive Summary

In this first strategic plan, our overarching goal is to build the team, processes and financial support that we need to achieve our vision. As we prepare our 2020 strategic plan, we want to have:

  • Effective, evidence-based programming
  • A strong board and staff working intelligently and efficiently to achieve our mission
  • A diverse and reliable group of financial supporters  
  • Meaningful partnerships that help us expand our capacity to achieve our mission
  • A reputation as a leader in using performing arts to deliver transformative health experiences

THE BETES will have created performance programming successfully delivered to a diverse range of audiences. These audiences vary by age, relationship to diabetes (living with diabetes, professional and lay caregivers), and setting (camps, conferences, schools, medical institutions, private and community events).

Over the next three years, our goal is to lay the groundwork for successfully scaling the organization. The following strategic priorities will guide us to this destination.


Strategic Priorities

Refine our artistic programming, gather evidence to demonstrate value, and prepare to expand into other disease states beyond diabetes.

A. Continue to develop and refine our artistic programming

Our strategic goal is to identify the essential ingredients of a successful performance program to serve each of our audiences.

  • We will explore the different avenues of program delivery, in person and digitally. Our programming currently targets patients, caregivers, and health care providers.
  • Refine and expand The Invisible Elephant Project performance program, developing a business model and securing national CME accreditation.
  • Expand delivery of The Overneath! program and continue to customize it to serve each type of audience.
  • Develop a sustainable strategy for delivering effective camp programming.

B. Gather evidence to demonstrate value of our programming.

To date, we have gathered anecdotal evidence that our programming is successful at helping those with chronic conditions to progress along the path towards flourishing. To gain widespread acceptance of our methodology, we must:

  • develop a set of criteria for making a strong case for the value of our work
  • create and execute a plan to strengthen that case
  • package and present the case effectively

C. Prepare to expand into other disease states beyond diabetes.

Our goal is to use our success in the diabetes space as a model to expand our programming to serve other chronic disease states.

  • We will continue to refine our programming through the lens of the “chronic commons”, the set of experiences that connect all of those living with chronic illness.
  • Publish findings for consumption by the health care community.  

Prepare a comprehensive plan to take programming to additional chronic diseases.


Build an effective Board of Directors with strong governance processes.

Building a strong Board of Directors and effective governance structures is essential to our long-term success. Our goal is to assemble a talented, hard-working group of individuals that, as a whole, possess the skill sets that we need to become a sustainable organization. In order to achieve this strategic goal, we will do the following:

  • Create a process for identifying, cultivating and onboarding new board members
  • Add 6 to 10 highly-qualified board members who expand our capacity and represent our stakeholders.
  • Create a plan for leadership succession.
  • Create productive and effective board committees including:
    • Executive
    • Finance
    • Programs
    • Board Development
    • Fundraising
    • Strategy


Develop core infrastructure that expands our organizational capacity.

In order to meet our ambitious goals to improve health care, it is essential that we create an organization that has the capacity to deliver on this goal. Towards this end, we must do the following:

  • Build a core staff infrastructure to support the organization’s growth.
    These roles include an Executive Director, fundraising, program and administrative support, and artists. We are committed to providing competitive compensation.
  • Find a physical location for the organization that includes studio space.
  • Continue to develop a strong volunteer Ambassador program that will extend our reach and brand.
  • Identify potential performing artists and facilitators and build a training program.


Create a strong brand identity.

As a new organization, THE BETES must focus on creating a strong brand identity. This goes beyond colors and marketing message to include the full set of thoughts, ideas, values and brand promise that make THE BETES unique. We will do the following:

  • Have strong brand assets, including logo, messaging, website, other marketing/promotional materials, and messaging guidelines.
  • Be a recognized expert in using theater as an innovative approach to supporting those living with chronic health conditions. 
    • Build affinity and alignment with thought leaders in the communities we serve.
  • Publish an annual report.
  • Build recognition of THE BETES Organization by showcasing the excellence of our work through published papers, testimonials, performances at high-visibility venues, and presence at key conferences.


Increase Funding

For THE BETES to thrive, it is essential that we have adequate funding, especially in these critical early years. We will:

  • Implement donor management software and incorporate processes to leverage current resources.
  • Create a fundraising plan tailored to diverse sources of funding including individuals, foundations, corporations, government grants, and fee-for-service programs
  • Raise a cumulative total of $450,000 to provide stability and fuel for continued growth.