In this episode Durell speaker with Sharnita C. Johnson, a philanthropy leader who drives social change at the intersection of arts, culture, and community development and the Vice President of Strategy, Impact, and Communications at the Victoria Foundation. She most recently served as Arts Program Director with the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, where she led a statewide grantmaking portfolio focused on arts, equity, and creative placekeeping for a vibrant New Jersey. While there, she catalyzed the Foundation’s transformation to equity and co-designed its strategic planning and learning agenda, resulting in a mission to address root causes and repair of structural racism and inequity in New Jersey.
Prior to Dodge, Johnson led grantmaking portfolios as a senior program officer and program officer at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. In these roles, Johnson led collaborative, place-based work that increased investment in, built leadership of, and created conditions for thriving communities throughout Southeast Michigan.
Johnson co-created and co-chairs the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund, a first-of-its-kind $5 million fund to support artists and arts organizations impacted by the pandemic. She is board chair-elect of Grantmakers in the Arts and former co-chair of its Racial Equity Committee. She serves on the board of ArtYard and joins The Children's Theatre Foundation of America board January 2022. She is a Council on Foundations Career Pathways Fellow, ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellow, and Marygrove College Distinguished Alumni.
Johnson earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a bachelor's from Marygrove College in Detroit.