Laura Aden Packer, Executive Director

Laura was appointed as the Executive Director of the Howard Gilman Foundation in July of 2014. She was entrusted by the Foundation’s Board to “reboot” a Foundation that had been dormant and without a professional staff for nearly a dozen years. The Foundation now provides $20M in grants annually to New York City-based performing arts organizations. Prior to joining the Foundation, Laura served for thirteen years as the Arts Program Director for the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, the largest private funder of the arts in New Jersey. Before joining the philanthropic field, Laura worked for over two decades in the nonprofit theatre arena, including thirteen years as the first full-time Executive Director of the award-winning New Jersey Theatre Alliance and in senior management positions at American Players Theatre in Spring Green, Wisconsin and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Laura was a founding member of ArtPride/NJ, the state’s advocacy organization, where she served on the Executive Committee as Treasurer for twelve years; she also completed a six-year term on the Board of Grantmakers in the Arts. Laura now proudly serves on the Boards of Philanthropy/New York and the Shakespeare Theatre of New Jersey. Born and raised on the Upper West Side in her family’s art-filled apartment, Laura attended the Preparatory Division of the Juilliard School, studying piano, music theory, and voice, and later received her B.A. in Political Science and English from the University of Wisconsin—Madison. She is delighted to once again be living and working in the city that first nurtured her great passion for the arts.