Laura is chair of the Foundation board. She has pursued her lifelong passion for innovative contemporary art in a variety of ways. She founded Art Matters, Incorporated, a nonprofit organization that funds artists taking risks outside the boundaries of the commercial arts culture. She also founded the Good Works Foundation supporting arts, education, and climate resiliency primarily in Southern California. Laura chairs the board of the Institute of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (ICALA), and she sits on the board of Sarah Lawrence College. She is the daughter of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley.
Brian is The New York Public Library’s inaugural Merryl and James Tisch Director. He is the chief librarian responsible for directing NYPL’s 88 neighborhood branches, as well as the Library’s educational strategy. Prior to that, he was commissioner and chief executive officer of the Chicago Public Library. Before his tenure in Chicago, Brian was Chief Information Officer at the San Francisco Public Library and worked at the Seattle Public Library and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He has been recognized as an innovator throughout his career: amongst many other accolades, he has been named to Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business” list and was named one of Chicago’s top 100 innovators by Blue Sky Innovation, a publication of the Chicago Tribune. Brian received his B.A. from Pacific Lutheran University and his Master’s in library and information science from the University of Washington Information School.
Betsy is the Founder and the past Executive Director of the Spring Island Trust, a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation and protection of the environment and cultural history of Spring Island, SC. She is also the co-founder of the Low Country Institute created to provide responsible leadership in the conservation and use of Lowcountry natural resources. Ms. Chaffin is a past trustee of the South Carolina Nature Conservancy, the University of North Carolina Institute for the Environment, and the Aspen Foundation, and is a Life Trustee of the Anderson Ranch Arts Center. She received a B.S. in History and Education from the University of North Carolina. An artist, she lives with her husband in Spring Island, SC, and Snowmass Village, CO.
Inanna is currently a seventh-grade math teacher and advisor at the Dalton School in New York, where she and both of her sons were students from Kindergarten through 12th grade. She coaches the seventh-grade Math Team and is an Equity Group facilitator, a position she has held for the past two years. Inanna has served as the Middle School Math Department Chair for grades 4-8 while at Dalton. Inanna has a B.A. in English Literature from Yale College and an M.S.T. in Education from the University of Chicago. She has taught at the University of Chicago Laboratory School, the Latin School of Chicago, and the Brearley School in New York City. She returned to serve on the Foundation board in 2016, having previously served from 2004 to 2007. She is a granddaughter of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley.
Shawn is President of Strategic Giving, a philanthropy consulting firm. She is a Guild Fellow of Corpus Christi College, University of Cambridge and on the boards of the Art Institute of Chicago, Northwestern Memorial Foundation, American Associates of the National Theatre, Cambridge in America, and is past Chairman and Life Trustee of Goodman Theatre. Her honors include Oprah Winfrey’s Angel Network Award, Outstanding Individual Philanthropist, Treasure Coast Association of Fundraising Professionals, and Crain’s Chicago Business “Forty under Forty.” A member of the Economic Club of Chicago and The Commercial Club of Chicago, she previously served 10 years on the boards of United States Artists, Chicago Community Trust, and Loyola University New Orleans. The former head of political affairs for R.R. Donnelley, she received a B.A. from Loyola University New Orleans and an M.A. from Emerson College. She is a granddaughter of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley.
Denise is a retired marketing executive and former president of Insights & Opportunities, a research-based marketing and strategic planning firm. She is also the co-founder of Namaste Laboratories and former VP, Marketing at Soft Sheen Products Company. Denise is Chair-Elect of the Board of Trustees at the Art Institute of Chicago and serves on the Board of Governors of The School of The Art Institute of Chicago. She has served on the Executive Committee of The Chicago Community Trust, the Board of Visitors of Northwestern University’s Weinberg College, Chicago Humanities Festival, and The Chicago Public Library Board. Denise and her husband, Gary, have invested significantly in improving college access in Chicago and have a long-time commitment to supporting critical educational needs at the high school level. Because of their commitment to collecting and promoting art by African American artists, they received the Citizens Advocate award from Arts Alliance Illinois and have been featured in the New York Times. Denise began her professional career at Leo Burnett Company after graduating from Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. She also holds a B.S.J. from Northwestern University in Advertising and Social Psychology.
Laura is a retired executive with ties to Chicago and the South Carolina Lowcountry. After a 14-year career in the Chicago office of McKinsey & Company, Laura joined the Field Museum where she served as Vice President for Museum Affairs. She served on the boards of directors of the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre, The Wetlands Initiative, and Chicago Wilderness Magazine. In Charleston, Laura is an active participant in civic life. She currently serves on the boards and executive committees of The Southern Environmental Law Center and the Preservation Society of Charleston. She chaired the boards of the South Carolina Coastal Conservation League and the Gibbes Museum of Art and served on the board of the Historic Charleston Foundation and as a member of the Tourism Commission. Further afield, she is a board member of the National Archives Foundation. Laura is actively engaged with her alma mater, Wellesley College, where she is a trustee and served as Chair of the Board of Trustees from 2011 to 2018. In addition, she has served as a Director and President of the Wellesley College Alumnae Association and Chair of the Business Leadership Council. Laura received an AB from Wellesley College and an MBA from Harvard University. She lives in Charleston and on Wadmalaw Island.
Wendi Huff is the Vice President of Programs & Clinical Care at the Myasthenia Gravis Foundation of America. She oversees comprehensive disease education, advocacy, public policy, and research programs to improve health outcomes for myasthenic patients. Her diverse healthcare experience has focused on rare disease and health equity. She has held executive leadership positions including Chief Advancement Officer and Senior Director of Industry Affairs at the National Brain Tumor Society Foundation, Vice President at the Morehouse School of Medicine, and Chief Executive Officer of a YWCA chapter. Wendi is a former professional ballet artist, choreographer, and dance educator. Her advocacy and civic work include supporting the arts, youth education, climate action, and women’s rights. She currently serves on the boards of New Morning Foundation and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra. Wendi and her husband live in the South Carolina Lowcountry.
Rick Lowe is a Houston-based artist who has exhibited and worked with communities nationally and internationally. His work has appeared in Contemporary Arts Museum, Houston; Museum of Contemporary Arts, Los Angeles; Neuberger Museum, Purchase, New York; Phoenix Art Museum; Kwangju Biennale, Kwangju, Korea; the Kumamoto State Museum, Kumamoto, Japan; the Venice Architecture Biennale; and Documenta 14, Kassel, Germany and Athens, Greece. He is best known for his Project Row Houses community-based art project that he started in Houston in 1993. Additional community projects include the Watts House Project, Los Angeles, CA; the Borough Project, Charleston, SC (with Suzanne Lacy and Mary Jane Jacobs); the Delray Beach Cultural Loop, Florida; Small Business/Big Change, Anyang, Korea; Trans.lation: Vickery Meadow, Dallas, TX; and Victoria Square Project, Athens, Greece. Among Rick’s honors are the Rudy Bruner Awards in Urban Excellence, the AIA Keystone Award, the Heinz Award in the arts and humanities, the Skowhegan Governor’s Award, the Skandalaris Award for Art/Architecture, and a U.S. Artists Booth Fellowship. He has served as a Loeb Fellow at Harvard University, a Mel King Fellow at MIT, an Auburn University Breedan Scholar, and a Stanford University Haas Center Distinguished Visitor. President Barack Obama appointed Rick to the National Council on the Arts in 2013; in 2014 he was named a MacArthur Fellow; and in 2016 he joined the University of Houston as a professor of art. Currently, he is working in Tulsa, OK on the Greenwood Art Project and in Chicago, IL on the Black Wall Street Journey.
Mark N. Templeton is Clinical Professor of Law, Director of the Abrams Environmental Law Clinic at the University of Chicago Law School, and a Research Affiliate of the Energy Policy Institute at Chicago. Previously, Templeton was a Trustee and Executive Director of the Office of Independent Trustees for the $20 billion Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Trust. He previously served as the cabinet-level Director of the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Associate Dean and COO at Yale Law School, and at McKinsey & Company, where he worked on sustainability issues. Prior to that, he worked on human rights issues at the State Department and as an adviser to the US Delegation to the UN Commission on Human Rights. Early in his career, he was a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs. Mark has an AB from Harvard College and a JD from Yale Law School.
Alaka Wali is curator of North American Anthropology in the Science and Education Division of The Field Museum and Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University. She was the founding director of the Center for Cultural Understanding and Change from 1995- 2010 and co-founder of the Chicago Cultural Alliance. She currently curates the sizeable North American collection which includes a contemporary urban collection. She also works closely with colleagues in the Science Action Center to implement community based environmental conservation efforts in both Chicago and the Amazon regions of Peru. Her current research focuses on the relationship between art and the capacity for social resilience. Alaka received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in Anthropology from Columbia University in New York. She lives with her husband in Evanston, IL and has two children.
Mimi Wheeler is first and foremost a mother of two living in Venice, California. She is passionate about food and food justice, social justice, environmental action, and the arts. Mimi serves as a board member of Art Matters, supporting artists through individual grants. She is also a board member of the Good Works Foundation, which supports the arts, the environment, social action, and education in Los Angeles. Mimi is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where is she studied English literature and fine art. She is a granddaughter of Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley.