Sharnita C. Johnson


Sharnita C. Johnson is a philanthropy leader who drives social change at the intersection of arts, culture, and community development. She resources creatives, connects communities, and advises funders, organizations, and networks that seek to center racial equity in pursuit of a just future.

She is currently the Vice President of Strategy, Impact, and Communications at the Victoria Foundation, where she provides oversight and management of all programmatic activities and ensures alignment with the Foundation’s goals and values. Sharnita leads the development and implementation of Victoria’s grantmaking, success measures, communications, and other leadership activities as the Foundation transforms program priorities to be community-centered and focused on equity and justice.

Before joining the Victoria Foundation’s leadership team, Sharnita was Arts Program Director at the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, where she led a statewide grantmaking portfolio focused on arts, equity, and creative placekeeping toward a vibrant New Jersey. While there, she catalyzed the Foundation’s transformation to equity and co-designed its strategic planning and learning agenda, resulting in a mission to address root causes and repair of structural racism and inequity in New Jersey.

Prior to Dodge, Johnson led grantmaking portfolios as a senior program officer and program officer at the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, Skillman Foundation, Ruth Mott Foundation, and the Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs. A native Detroiter, her work creating conditions for thriving communities throughout Southeast Michigan was grounded in her commitment to leverage her role to amplify the voice and power of historically excluded communities.

During the height of the pandemic in 2020, Johnson co-created and co-chairs the New Jersey Arts and Culture Recovery Fund, a first-of-its-kind $5 million fund to support artists and arts organizations impacted by the pandemic. She is also the board chair of Grantmakers in the Arts and a member of its Racial Equity Committee. She also serves on the board of The Children’s Theatre Foundation of America.

Johnson is a Council on Foundations Career Pathways Fellow, ABFE Connecting Leaders Fellow, and Marygrove College Distinguished Alumni. She gave the TEDx talk “Connected Fates” in 2014. Johnson has served as panelist to the National Endowment for the Arts, Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs, and Cuyahoga Arts and Culture.

Johnson earned a Master of Public Administration from the University of Michigan-Dearborn and a bachelor’s from Marygrove College in Detroit.