Professional Development and Career Resources

Grantmaking with Denise M. Brown

Friday, October 22, 2021 5:00pm
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Morgan Building, White Room

Please join us as we welcome Denise M. Brown, Executive Director of the Leeway Foundation, for a Fall 2021 MFA Professional Development presentation. The Leeway Foundation supports women and trans* artists and cultural producers working in communities at the intersection of art, culture, and social change. Through grantmaking and other programs the Leeway Foundation promotes artistic expression that amplifies the voices of those on the margins, promotes sustainable and healthy communities, and works in the service of movements for economic and social justice.

Denise will discuss topics such as:

  • The history of the Leeway Foundation
  • The grantmaking approach and the impact of these grants in the community
  • Advice about the decision-making process (what jurors look for when choosing grantees)

Denise M. Brown (pronouns she/her) is a cultural organizer and strategist, coach, and facilitator who is passionate about using her skills and energies on creating, supporting, and illuminating work at the intersections of art, culture, and social justice. She is the executive director of the Leeway Foundation, an organization whose mission it is to support women and trans* artists and cultural producers creating art for social change. She currently serves on the boards of the Henrietta Wurts Memorial Fund of the Philadelphia Foundation and Scribe Video Center, a Philadelphia-based media arts organization. Denise was Associate Director of Bread and Roses Community Fund, a film programmer for the Neighborhood Film/Video Project and Philadelphia Festival of World Cinema, and a consultant with Leeway and other organizations in the Philadelphia area.

For over 25 years, Denise has consulted with cultural and social justice organizations, individual donors, and foundations on program development and grantmaking strategies regionally and nationally. In addition, she has served on the boards of Bread and Roses Community Fund, Grantmakers in the Arts where she co-chaired the Racial Equity Committee, Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, and the Philadelphia Public Access Corporation (PhillyCAM) among others. She is a graduate of Brown University.

*Leeway is a trans-affirming organization committed to gender self-determination, and uses the term “trans” in its most inclusive sense, as an umbrella term encompassing transsexual, transgender, genderqueer, Two-Spirit people, and anyone whose gender identity or gender expression is nonconforming and/or different from their gender assigned at birth.


If you require any accessibility accommodation, such as live captioning, audio description, or a sign language interpreter, please email to let us know what you need. Please note, we require at least 48 hours’ notice. If you register within 48 hours of this event, we won’t be able to secure the appropriate accommodations.