Paul Johnson

Founder & President

Paul Johnson, Founder & President

“Money follows vision.”

As a seasoned fundraising professional, Paul has over 30 years of experience working at institutions both large and small in a variety of communities throughout the United States.

In 2015, Paul formed Creative Fundraising Advisors. His current and past clients include the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures,  St. John’s College (Annapolis, MD and Santa Fe, NM), the School of Advanced Research (Santa Fe, NM), the Portland Museum of Art (Maine), the Milwaukee Art Museum, Philadelphia Contemporary, the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, the Briscoe Western Art Museum, the Guthrie Theater, the American Craft Council, the Playwrights’ Center, Minnehaha Academy, Hiawatha Academies, and New Mexico School of the Arts,

Prior to forming CFA, Paul was a Partner with the Atlanta-based fundraising consulting firm Alexander Haas, where he was a Senior Consultant within their Arts & Culture practice group. While with the firm, Paul worked with a number of clients who were at various stages of transformational change. Notable clients included the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego; The Mabee Gerrer Museum of Art in Shawnee, OK; The Tres Centurias Foundation in San Antonio, TX; The Vero Beach Museum of Art in Vero Beach, FL; and the Redwood Library and Athenaeum in Newport, RI; and the Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art in Amherst, MA.

Paul was Deputy Director at the Brooklyn Museum where, amongst other responsibilities, he oversaw Development and Membership. He has also held senior Development positions at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Additionally, Paul spent a year consulting the Getty Trust in Los Angeles on their multi-year, multi-institutional, highly acclaimed project Pacific Standard Time: Art in LA from 1945 – 1980.

Paul has also worked in the development offices of New York University School of Medicine, Columbia University, Oberlin College and the Minnesota Orchestra with wide-ranging responsibilities including principal gifts fundraising, planned giving, corporate sponsorship management, special event management, and grant writing.

In addition to Pacific Standard Time, highlights of Paul’s museum career include securing funding to name the Contemporary Art galleries at the Brooklyn Museum; establishing the first department of Arts of the Islamic World at the MFAH (the first of its kind in the Southern United States), the completion of the capital campaign to build the Kilroy Visitor and Education Center at Bayou Bend (a part of the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston); securing major individual and institutional support for dozens of exhibitions that have been seen by millions of museum visitors; and raising funds to acquire hundreds of objects for museum collections. Additionally, at Columbia University, he led the campaigns to create the first-ever endowed chair in the United States in Modern Arab Studies (named for Professor Edward Said) and the first-ever Center for the Study of Energy Policy.

He is former President of and an active member of the Art Museum Development Association and formerly on the DAM committee of the American Alliance of Museums. He is a former member of the Board of Trustees of the New York Academy of Art. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Cantus, a full-time men’s vocal ensemble based in Minneapolis.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, he holds a Bachelor of Music degree from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minnesota and a Master of Music degree from the University of Southern California.