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Dr. Kathryn (Kit) Matthew

Senior Associate, Charleston, SC

Kit has led mission-driven organizations to achieve greater impact and effectiveness in partnership with their audiences, supporters and customers for over 35 years. She continues to explore how local assets—people and places, residents’ knowledge, collective narratives, and iconic objects and sites—can weave together to strengthen communities. She works across sectors as she leads and coaches arts, cultural and heritage institutions, funders, impact investors, and policy-makers.

She has held positions in executive leadership, fundraising, and program development at a wide range of organizations such as the Appalachia Funders Network, St. David’s Foundation, Historic Charleston Foundation, Please Touch Children’s Museum, and the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science. In these and other roles, she has applied innovation management approaches based on her new product development experience in nonprofit software and consumer products. Appointed by President Biden, she currently serves on the National Council for the Humanities, an advisory group to the Chair, National Endowment for the Humanities.

In 2015 Kit was confirmed by the Senate and then appointed by President Obama to serve as the executive-level agency head of the Institute of Museum and Library Services. In that role she blended grantmaking, capacity-building, mixed-methods evaluation, shared learning, and policy development to strengthen communities nationwide. During her tenure within two presidential administrations, she prioritized investments in cultural stewardship, lifelong learning, digital literacy, civic cohesion, health and wellness, and workforce development.

Her recent book Fundraising for Impact in Libraries, Archives, and Museums: Making the Case to Government, Foundation, Corporate and Individual Funders speaks to the importance of funders and cultural organizations aligning in their collective work toward community wellbeing.

Her career experiences have built a deep knowledge of the educational and public service roles of museums, libraries, zoos, gardens, cultural spaces, heritage sites, archives and libraries as they strive to become sustainable, community-focused organizations.  Her career interests have centered around building the capacity of such organizations, large and small, who are focused on propelling their programs, communications, events, and fundraising offerings to a higher level of success. She has also gained insights into the vital roles for these organizations as anchors and catalysts including within rural, tribal and smaller communities. A skilled facilitator and project manager, she has led innovation teams, communities, and funders and donors towards aligning around common agendas with agreed-upon outcomes and progress indicators.

Kit earned a Ph.D. in Biology from University of Pennsylvania and an M.B.A. from the University of Minnesota. In addition, she is a Prosci-certified Change Management Practitioner and Lean Six Sigma Blackbelt-certified from the University of Southern California.

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