Nationally Recognized Nonprofit Consultant, Facilitator and Speaker

A keynote speaker, workshop leader and facilitator, Janet Brown, past president and CEO of Grantmakers in the Arts, specializes in governance and leadership, philanthropic practice, nonprofit management and sustainability, strategic planning, advocacy and racial equity in community engagement and services.


Whether working with boards and staff of philanthropic or nonprofit organizations, Janet understands the importance of candid discussions on the unique roles that boards and staff play in the success of programs. "During this time of change and upheaval, the nonprofit arts sector is in need of courageous leadership to pave new directions and serve our communities and constituents in a relevant and meaningful way."



Organizational and programmatic management is at the center of success and good management and capitalization principles lead to sustainability. Janet brings 30 years of experience in leading and helping organizations to successfully meet their missions to serve artists, arts organizations and communities.


The nonprofit arts sector provides unique opportunities to present the arts and also to inform through the arts. Supporting artists working in areas of social justice, health, corrections, environment, aging, education and other areas of community life elevates the relevancy of the arts. Janet's work in these areas and racial equity can help both grantmakers and nonprofit organizations achieve goals that are relevant and impactful.

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Janet Brown recently stepped down as president & CEO of Grantmakers in the Arts (GIA), a national association for private foundations and public agencies. Under Janet's leadership, GIA became nationally recognized for its bold racial equity in arts philanthropy work and its focus on the financial health of the nonprofit sector.

Prior to GIA, Janet was chair of Performing and Visual Arts at Augustana University and taught Public Policy and the Arts at Goucher College, Baltimore, for 13 years (summers only) in the Masters in Arts Administration program. She began her theatre career as an actress and manager in South Dakota and was co-owner of the Deadwood Production Company. She worked in development and management for the New York Shakespeare Festival (Public Theatre and on Broadway) in New York City, The American Conservatory Theatre, San Francisco and the Minneapolis Society of Fine Arts. She was company manager for the European tour of Ain't Misbehavin' and the assistant company manager for the NY Shakespeare Festival national tour of Pirates of Penzance. 

A registered lobbyist for 15 years, Janet was executive director of South Dakotans for the Arts, a statewide advocacy, service and education organization. In this position, she traveled the region providing management and advocacy assistance to organizations and communities, managed a five state conference, Art Beyond Boundaries for 13 years, and created the Prairie Arts Management Institute, held at Augustana University for six years, which drew participants from the mid-west and Canada.

She has served on the Americans for the Arts (AFTA) and the American Folklife Center boards of directors, and has been a National Endowment for the Arts panelist and evaluator. She received the Selina Roberts Ottum award for advocacy from AFTA, the SD Governor's Award in the Arts and several other honors. Janet has an BFA in Theatre and a Masters in Public Administration.