For 42 years, Maud Lyon has guided the development of nonprofits, helping them to improve service to the community while adapting to changing circumstances that alter their business models. She also deeply understands the role of arts and culture in civic life: how it brings people together, creates a sense of possibility and opportunity for individuals and communities, and establishes connections that are essential to vibrant civic engagement.
As President of the Greater Philadelphia Cultural Alliance 2015-2020, she spearheaded exploration of the economic, cultural and political forces re-shaping arts and culture that would affect the future of museums, performing arts, arts education and community arts nonprofits. From April to July 2020, she led COVID-19 Arts Aid PHL, collaborating with foundations, individual donors, the Philadelphia Cultural Fund and the Office of Arts, Culture and the Creative Economy. Together, these partners awarded over $4 million in grants to artists and cultural nonprofits in the early stages of the pandemic.
Prior to her work in Philadelphia, Lyon founded and led CultureSource, Detroit’s first arts service organization serving a seven-county region in Michigan, helping nonprofits to adapt to and recover from the 2009 Recession. In her 27-year career in Detroit (1987-2014) Lyon transformed the City’s Detroit Historical Department and laid the groundwork for a shift from public to private support. She founded two nonprofit organizations as start-ups to meet specific community needs and guided the merger of four existing nonprofits to form the successful Belle Isle Conservancy that now supports Detroit’s 985-acre island park.