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Shelley Cohn elected chairman of ACF Board of Directors


The board of directors of the Arizona Community Foundation has elected as chairman Shelley Cohn, former executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts.

Shelley succeeds as chairman Ron Butler, Arizona managing partner for Ernst & Young, who served as chairman since 2015. She served as vice chairman to Ron throughout his two-year term. A member of the Arizona Community Foundation board of directors since 2008, Shelley was previously a member of the precursor to ACF’s Philanthropic Services Committee.

“I am impressed with the innovative leadership, programs and reach of the Arizona Community Foundation throughout Arizona, as well as the engagement and diversity of its board,” said Shelley. “I am honored to be elected chairman of the board.”

With a tenure that began in 1984, Shelley had been executive director of the Arizona Commission on the Arts for 21 years when she retired in 2005. She advocated tirelessly for artists, arts organizations and the people whose lives they enrich, so much so that they named an award for her. Since 2006, The Shelley Award has been presented during the annual Governor’s Arts Awards to an Arizona individual who has advanced Arizona arts and culture through strategic and innovative work to create or support public policy beneficial to the arts in Arizona.

Shelley consults with the Flinn Foundation on its arts and culture programs. Additional consultancies have included the Tucson Pima Arts Council, Phoenix Office of Arts and Culture, Rhode Island Arts Council, South Carolina Arts Council, Washington State Arts Council, Minnesota Arts Board, and KAET Channel 8, Kentucky Arts Council, Tennessee Arts Commission. Shelley served as Interim CEO for the Scottsdale Cultural Council from 2006 to 2008. She has taught classes in arts entrepreneurship and arts and public policy at Arizona State University between 2006 and 2010.

In addition to her relationship with the Arizona Community Foundation, Shelley continues to make a difference in the community as president elect of the board of trustees for the Desert Botanical Garden, as a previous president and current board member of Childsplay, and as the chair of Hillel at ASU’s Life & Legacy giving program.

Shelley holds a master’s degree in Humanities from Arizona State University and a bachelor’s degree in English and Education from Washington University, St. Louis, Mo. She completed the Program for Senior Executives in State & Local Government at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government.

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