Paul JohnsonFounder & President

“Money follows vision.”


Paul has over thirty years of development and business experience at institutions large and small. Before forming Creative Fundraising Advisors in Minneapolis, Paul worked with organizations at various stages of transformational change. His efforts have helped nonprofits raise hundreds of millions of dollars.

Paul was a member of the Arts & Culture practice group for the firm Alexander Haas. Notable clients included the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; The Mabee Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, Okla.; The Tres Centurias Foundation in San Antonio, Texas; The Vero Beach Museum of Art in Vero Beach, Fla.; the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, R.I.; and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, Mass.

Paul oversaw Development and Membership as Deputy Director of the Brooklyn Museum. He has also led Development departments at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.

 Paul also has experience at the development offices of New York University School of Medicine, Columbia University, Oberlin College and the Minnesota Orchestra. At Columbia, he led the campaigns to create the first-ever endowed chair in the U.S. in Modern Arab Studies and the first-ever Center for the Study of Energy Policy.

Paul’s expertise has also extended into the commercial art world as a senior executive at both of the world’s major auction houses – Sotheby’s and Christie’s Auctions. He is former President of and an active member of the Art Museum Development Association, as well as on the Development and Membership committee of the American Alliance of Museums. He is a former Board of Trustees member of the New York Academy of Art.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, he holds a Bachelor of Music from St. Olaf College and a Master of Music from the University of Southern California. Paul and his partner Tim are currently restoring a house built in 1886 on Dayton’s Bluff in St. Paul.