A graduate degree is the primary gateway to a professional playwriting career. It firmly places an emerging writer on the short list of new writers most seriously considered by agents and theaters.

University scholarships cover only tuition, and most graduate schools are in cities with extraordinarily high costs of living—there are currently no scholarships dedicated to covering graduates’ living expenses. This scholarship will provide three years of protected time for the recipients to write, work with collaborators, and benefit from the guidance and input of mentors that will endure through their careers.

The Lillys aim to raise a $2,500,000 fund in Hansberry’s name to make sure the next generation can follow in Hansberry’s footsteps, regardless of race, gender, or economic situation.