Greg Cameron, president and CEO of the Joffrey Ballet, has been honored with The Benjamin Franklin Award by the American Fundraising Professionals (AFP) as part of their Annual Philanthropy Awards. This award signifies AFP’s recognition of Cameron’s lifetime dedication to uplifting nonprofit organizations and celebrates his outstanding achievements as a fervent advocate for the arts and an exemplary figure in the philanthropic community.
Greg’s passion for the arts and philanthropy can be traced back to his childhood in suburban Chicago. Even then, he showcased a remarkable knack for fostering community and creativity; he ran a makeshift theater out of his garage and was notably skilled at fundraising, selling more mints for his local YMCA than any of his peers. “I always loved art, but I wasn’t a great artist. I realized early on I was a good dot connector. I could connect people to each other and help them get involved with the things they believe in,” Cameron said while in conversation with Make It Better’s Founder Susan B. Noyes.
His dedication to arts administration and philanthropy matured over three decades, during which he served notable institutions like the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art — where he progressed to the position of Deputy Director and Chief Development Officer — and WTTW/WFMT where he served as COO.
His tenure with the Joffrey Ballet, where he has served as President and CEO since 2013, has been marked by record-breaking box office sales and an unprecedented financial stability for the institution. Working alongside The Mary B. Galvin Artistic Director Ashley Wheater MBE, the duo has ushered in a golden era for the Joffrey. Cameron shares, “The Joffrey brings it all together for me. It’s about collaboration, partnership with the community, honoring and supporting artists, and telling stories that truly move people.”
Cameron’s commitment extends beyond the walls of Joffrey. He actively volunteers for various nonprofit organizations and civic committees. These include Enrich Chicago, Forefront, and the UIC Chancellor’s Leadership Board, along with the School of the Art Institute of Chicago Fashion Committee, the UIC Visiting Committee — College of Architecture and the Arts, Chicago Community Trust LGBT Committee, Terra Foundation’s Art Design Chicago Advisory Committee, and Choose Chicago. He is also a State Street Commissioner. Cameron has also previously served as a judge for the Make It Better Foundation Philanthropy Awards.
Alongside Cameron, the AFP also recognized other distinguished individuals in the 2023 Honorees list:
- Joan and Paul Rubschlager received the Distinguished Philanthropists Award.
- Deborah E. Bennett from Polk Bros. Foundation was awarded the Professional Grantor Award.
- Pastor Corey B. Brooks of the Project H.O.O.D. Communities Development Corporation earned the Outstanding Community Leader Award.
- Kelsey Malnati Howell from the Marc and Jeanne Malnati Family Foundation was presented with the Emerging Philanthropist Award.
- Ava Gresser was honored with the Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy Award.
- Jennifer Guzman took home the Outstanding Volunteer Award.
The combined efforts of these honorees have undeniably shaped the philanthropic landscape, and their recognition serves as an inspiration for future generations of givers and changemakers.
How to Help:
The generous contributions of donors enable Joffrey Ballet to continue to broaden its vision and continue to deliver inclusive arts education to the community, top-tier dance instruction for dancers of all skill levels and ages, and exceptional performances that enrich the city’s cultural tapestry.
In 2021, the Joffrey Ballet was honored with its ninth consecutive 4-star rating from Charity Navigator, the foremost global nonprofit evaluator.