Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC)

The New Normal for Funding and Philanthropy

 The New Normal for
Funding and Philanthropy

Please join expert panelists for a lively discussion addressing funding trends for the arts and humanities across the nation. Moderated by Amanda Farnum, Marriott Foundation, panelists will explore public funding trends for the arts and humanities. Panelist will help participants understand what funders are looking for, the changes that have occurred over recent years in the philanthropic community and tools that can be used to increase funding opportunities. 

The Panelists:

Michael Killoren

Michael Killoren serves as the Director for Local Arts Agencies and Challenge America Fast-Track at the National Endowment for the Arts. He is responsible for the grantmaking processes for Local Arts Agencies (LAA’s), developing partnerships to advance the LAA field as a whole, and the Challenge America Fast-Track program. 

Most recently, Mr. Killoren served as director of Seattle’s Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs, a cabinet-level position, from 2002 through 2010, where he led the city department’s funding and public art programs, developed policy initiatives to increase public access to arts and culture, and established a groundbreaking partnership to restore arts education in Seattle Public Schools. 

Prior to July 2002, Mr. Killoren was Seattle’s first director of cultural tourism for Seattle's Convention and Visitors Bureau, where he launched an initiative to promote the region’s cultural assets.  He also served as an arts program coordinator and later executive director of the King County Arts Commission, where he worked to increase access and participation in arts and culture, with a focus on rural and suburban communities.  He also served as managing director of the Alice B. Theatre, all three organizations based in Seattle. For three and a half years prior to coming to Seattle in 1993, Mr. Killoren was part of the programming staff at the Sheldon Arts Foundation in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mr. Killoren has served as president and vice-president of the U.S. Urban Arts Federation of Americans for the Arts, and as a member of the Downtown Seattle Association Marketing Committee, among other community service positions. He has a B.A. in Media Arts from Webster University in St. Louis and completed graduate studies in telecommunications at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Michael Bigley


Michael Bigley is the Program Officer for the Arts and Humanities with The Morris and Gwendolyn Cafritz Foundation – the largest private foundation specifically focusing on the DC region. He has an Executive Certificate in Nonprofit Management from Georgetown University’s Public Policy Institute, and also has varied experience with the fields of elementary education, childhood literacy and arts education. Prior to working at the Foundation, Mr. Bigley was the head of education with Washington Performing Arts Society and was the founding chair of Emerging Arts Leaders DC. He had a graduate fellowship in arts education at St. Bonaventure University, where he was the founding staff person focused on creating K-12 programming surrounding the Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts, which included a newly expanded museum component.  Currently, Mr. Bigley chairs the Arts and Humanities Working Group of the Washington Regional Association of Grantmakers, sits on the Grantmakers in the Arts board nominating committee, is a committee member for The Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management and reviews proposals for the Catalogue for Philanthropy. He is also an actor, singer and musical director.

Lionell Thomas

In October 2011, Lionell Thomas returned to the District of Columbia Government after serving as the Executive Director of the Prince George’s Arts and Humanities Council for two and half years. He was previously with the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities for over 22 years, where he served in numerous capacities throughout the agency; eventually serving as the Deputy Director and Interim Executive Director. Over the years, Mr. Thomas has been cited as a dynamic arts administrator and for his profound sensitivity to arts and culture.  

Mr. Thomas earned a Master of Arts Degree in Organizational Leadership from Lewis University and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Communications from the University of Pittsburgh.  Mr. Thomas is a native Washingtonian and has received various accolades for his creative approaches to arts management and programming. He has also served on a number of state grants panels as a reviewer and site evaluator. He currently serves on several boards inclusive of the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, Cultural Alliance of Greater Washington, and others.  Of all his accomplishments to date, Mr. Thomas is proudest of the initiatives developed to bring arts programs to underserved communities; many of which remain staples of the District of Columbia’s arts community today.

Theresa Colvin

Theresa Colvin is executive director of the Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC), where she was appointed in 2002. She joined the MSAC staff in 1997 as the program director for community arts development and music, having worked previously as deputy director for the Howard County Arts Council in Ellicott City, Maryland. Colvin has been active on numerous boards and committees, including the Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation, Maryland Cultural Data Project, Maryland Arts and Entertainment District panel, and the Baltimore Arts Stabilization Committee. Colvin has served as a review panelist for the National Endowment for the Arts and Very Special Arts. She is from Philadelphia and holds a B.S. in business administration from La Salle University and an M.S. in arts administration from Drexel University. (Board term 2010-2012)

Amanda Farnum

Amanda Farnum joined The J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation as Grants Manager in the fall of 2011.  Prior to joining the Foundation Amanda worked as the Director of Health Safety Grantmaking for the Virginia Health Care Foundation in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to her foundation experience, Amanda has served in a variety of roles with non-profit organizations including fundraising, marketing and program management. Amanda is a graduate of the College of Charleston where she studied Arts Management and Art History. Immediately after college she served as a Volunteer in Service to America in rural Colorado where she coordinated literacy outreach efforts for a high need elementary school community.

Proposed Topics Include:

  • As public money for the arts shrinks, how are funders making each dollar go further?
  • How are public funders addressing operational support versus project support?
  • What are ways to increase public value when funding with public money?
  • What should a funder focus on for building and maintaining public trust and why is this critical?
  • What are ways public funders are encouraging sustainability?
  • How are grants under a competitive process helping artists, art organizations, and the community? 



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