Lisa Cremin

Director, Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund

After the economy went pear-shaped, Cremin and the Community Foundation—which in 2010 alone paired nonprofit causes with $99 million from donors—made a crucial decision. They changed the way competitive funds—including the one Cremin created in 1993, the Metropolitan Atlanta Arts Fund—granted their moola. Instead of bankrolling debt reductions or staff positions, the funds would support operating budgets. On top of that, the Arts Fund—which has given $8.1 million to seventy organizations over the years—launched the Atlanta Arts Recovery Initiative to boost its giving, helping the likes of the Metropolitan Ballet Theatre and True Colors Theatre Company stay afloat or remain stable. Cremin also created the Nonprofit Toolbox to help with strategic planning and the Nonprofit Loan Fund to give advice and short-term loans to programs in a pinch. Cremin’s next goal is to boost the Arts Fund’s endowment from $7.5 million to $20 million. As tickets such as Actor’s Express struggle to stay viable, people like Cremin with a passion for the arts—and a little spending power—are more important than ever.

Art History Cremin was previously employed by Weston Gallery in Carmel, California, where she worked with photographer Ansel Adams.

Photograph courtesy of the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta

This article originally appeared in the May 2011 issue