We feel for young people struggling in the arts. John and I both came to California with little to live on and no familial support in order to pursue our creative passions. John drove out to LA from Detroit in a 1965 Mustang and worked as a salesperson at Gucci and a doorman at the Comedy Store until he got his big break in 1995 playing the role of "Pops" on the Wayans Bros. I worked as a graphic designer for CBS and an art director at the Washington Post before deciding to pursue acting and directing full-time. After thirty-two years of marriage, we are proud of the careers we have built in the entertainment industry and our two talented sons, John David and Alexander, who are pursuing careers in comedy and music.
We believe in giving back and created the Angela and John Witherspoon Family Foundation for the Arts in order to continue the ethic of supporting young artists. Our aim is to offer small grants to emerging artists, writers, filmmakers, actors, comedians, and others in the arts. Our recipients may use their grants for living expenses until they are able to find their next job or means of support. We encourage our grant recipients to pay back the grants if they are able to do so, to pay back into the foundation so that the next round of artists may be granted the same support.
We hope these grants will encourage our artists to keep creating and giving back to their community. We want to maintain an ethic of lifting up others in need. For this reason we choose our candidates not only on artistic merit and financial need, but for what they do to give back to others.