(Boston, MA) Lawrence J. Simpson, board chair of the New England Foundation for the Arts (NEFA), announced the appointment of two new board members:  Amy Zell Ellsworth of Belmont, Massachusetts, and Elizabeth Theobald Richards of Montclair, New Jersey.

Ms. Ellsworth brings over 30 years as a professional dancer, teacher, and choreographer, 20 years of service on area nonprofit organizations, and 10 years in philanthropy consulting to NEFA’s board of directors. Most recently she was a senior philanthropic advisor at The Philanthropic Initiative, a nonprofit advisory team that designs, carries out, and evaluates philanthropic programs. She continues her relationship with TPI as a senior fellow. Amy holds a BA in Dance from Sarah Lawrence College and an MA in Dance Education from the University of Michigan.

“My relationship with NEFA began more than 30 years ago when I was the Artistic Director of a modern dance company; since that time, I have watched as the organization has evolved with the changing arts landscape and responded to the needs and opportunities that have presented themselves,” commented Amy. “I feel honored to join the board of NEFA, to follow it more closely, and to serve it and the arts community.”

Ms. Richards
is currently the senior creative fellow at The Opportunity Agenda, a progressive communications think tank based in New York City, where she leads their work at the intersection of arts and social justice. She previously served as a program officer in Media, Arts and Culture at the Ford Foundation where she oversaw grant making to Native American and place-based cultural communities in the U.S.  Prior to that, she was the inaugural director of public programs at the Mashantucket Pequot Museum & Research Center where she oversaw all educational, interpretive and cultural activities.

A theater artist and teacher, she has served on the board of Grantmakers in the Arts and the Connecticut Commission on Arts and Education. Betsy, as she is known, is an enrolled member of the Cherokee Nation of Oklahoma and holds a BFA from New York University and an MFA from Yale University’s School of Drama.

“It’s an honor to be asked to serve on NEFA’s board,” noted Betsy Richards. “My relationship with NEFA began in the late 1990’s and since then, I have come to know NEFA as a dynamic and pioneering supporter of artists, culture bearers, and arts communities and a key connector regionally, nationally and internationally.  I look forward to joining with them as they pave the road for the future.”

About NEFA
NEFA builds connections among artists, arts organizations, and funders, powering the arts to energize communities in New England, the nation, and the world. NEFA is a 501(c)(3) that operates in partnership with the National Endowment for the Arts and the New England state arts agencies, with additional funding from corporations, foundations and individuals.

NEFA administers grantmaking programs that support the performing arts, public art, and Native American artists. NEFA also leads projects and initiatives that range from the analysis of the impact of the creative economy to the creation of online tools which link and advance the regional, national, and international cultural community. For more information, visit or call 617.951.0010.

Contact: Ann Wicks | 617.951.0010 x534

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