Aisha Saunders-Jackson, a native of Cambridge, MA, is an accomplished non-profit and resource development professional with more than 30 years of experience.
I sat down with Aisha to ask her a few questions about her experience in the non-profit industry, what she is most looking forward to this year in her new role at BAA Foundation, and why she wants to support the students of Boston Arts Academy.
Take a read, and get to know Aisha.
Tell us about your background, and your experience in the non-profit industry.
[Aisha] I started my career in the not-for-profit sector after working at the Boston Globe newspaper for 20 years. My goal was to take all my executive experience, board experience and governance experience and become a development or fundraising professional for mission-based philanthropic initiatives. Hence, the rest is history and subsequently I have held leadership positions at Wheaton College, Milton Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital-Milton, The Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, and Parents Helping Parents.
Why are you passionate about BAA Foundation’s mission in providing equitable access to life-changing opportunities to Boston Arts Academy’s students?
[Aisha] BAA is a Boston-based public school that is likely to be mistaken for a private school. However, its students and families come from the local neighborhoods and its diversity and inclusivity represents the community in which it serves. This 25-year-old inspirational arts institution is filled with committed leaders, faculty, and staff! The 25th Anniversary year of the school coincides with the Grand Opening of the new school building located on 174 Ipswich Street and stands as a beacon for all the supporters, funders, and numerous stakeholders. BAA has access to resources and opportunities that help students to be more effective learners in school and to be successful in future careers, including top notch jobs in Fashion, Film & Television, Visual Arts, Dance and Music. This is evident in the many success stories of BAA alumni.
What are you looking forward to contributing to this year, with the Grand Opening of the new BAA school building?
[Aisha] As the new Vice President of Philanthropy, firstly, I am extremely elated to join such a stellar team of BAAF staff and to work each day knowing that I’ve made a difference in a young person’s life. Secondly, I consider myself a lover of the arts and my observation is that art represents culture, creativity, and stimulates all our innate senses as well as draws people together. Therefore, I am looking forward to contributing my people skills, work experiences, professional network, and resources to making the strategic and fundraising goals for the Building Our Future campaign a reality.
What’s your favorite shows, performances, and/or artists?
[Aisha] My favorite shows and performances are The Wiz, The Phantom of the Opera, The Book of Mormon, Chicago, Beauty and The Beast, Dreamgirls, The Color Purple, The Lion King, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Black Nativity and Hamilton.
I particularly enjoy listening to music and my favorite genres are Jazz and R&B: Miles Davis, Ella Fitzgerald, Nina Simone, Ray Charles, Al Jarreau, Herbie Hancock, Shirley Horn, George Benson, Nat King Cole, Hugh Masekela, Celia Cruz, Sade, Aretha Franklin, Jonathan Butler, Najee, Stevie Wonder, and Bob Marley...just to name a few!
Have more questions? Or, want to grab coffee with Aisha? You can reach Aisha at Asjackson@baafdn.org or 617-513-5601.
Caitlin Durkin, Events & Communications Manager, BAA Foundation