Morristown, NJ — The Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation today announced the appointment of Sharnita C. Johnson as Arts Program Director.
Johnson, a Detroit native, brings to the position more than 20 years of experience with community-focused nonprofits and the arts, including serving in program officer roles at two prominent foundations in Michigan.
Since 2012, Johnson has managed a $25 million grantmaking portfolio in education, health and family economic security at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Prior to that, she was a senior program officer at the Skillman Foundation, where she developed strategic partnerships and oversaw neighborhood development, arts and culture, and youth development grantmaking.
In her role at Dodge, Johnson will direct the Foundation’s Arts grants, which foster a diverse and vibrant arts ecosystem, create broad-based public support of the arts, and support communities engaged in creative placemaking in New Jersey. Dodge currently awards more than $3 million annually to established and emerging arts organizations throughout the state.
“This is an important and exciting time for the arts in New Jersey as partners across nonprofit, public, and private sectors work together to drive community revitalization through arts and culture,” Dodge Foundation President and CEO Chris Daggett said. “Sharnita’s breadth of experience in building better communities through collaborative efforts at some of the nation’s most respected foundations, and especially her passion for the arts, make her a tremendous addition to our team at Dodge and to New Jersey’s arts community as a whole.”
Johnson, who holds a Master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a Bachelor of Arts from Marygrove College in Detroit, has also worked at the Ruth Mott Foundation, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and Detroit’s Museum of African American History.
“I’m excited to have the opportunity to contribute to the cultural vibrancy of New Jersey and to join an amazing team at the Dodge Foundation that has been doing incredible work,” Johnson said. "I can’t wait to immerse myself in the New Jersey arts and culture community and meet the people that share their creativity and talents every day."
Johnson will begin her new position on Jan. 20, 2015. She was selected after a broad national search.
“We are delighted to welcome and introduce Sharnita to New Jersey’s thriving arts scene,” said Barbara Moran, a Dodge Foundation Trustee and former executive director of the New Jersey State Museum and New Jersey State Council on the Arts. “I know she will fit right in because she believes in the power of the arts to change communities, and has helped make it happen.”