Jill Paulsen


Jill Marie Paulsen is the executive director of Cuyahoga Arts & Culture, the local public funder of arts and culture organizations and activities in Cleveland, Ohio. Jill joined CAC in 2011 and has served in various roles, including interim director, deputy director, and director of grant programs.


Over the last nine years, Jill has overseen more than $130 million in grantmaking to more than 400 organizations. Jill has taken a leadership role in defining and implementing the agency's commitment to racial equity. She led the expansion of the agency's resident engagement efforts, including the 2016 Voices and Vision project, which helped guide the agency's strategic plan, and a partnership with the Neighborhood Connections program to fund resident-led art in Cleveland and East Cleveland.  She prides herself on working in coalitions and collaborating with other organizations to lift the voices of the underrepresented in the arts community.

Jill has more than 20 years of experience in nonprofit management and local philanthropy, having held positions at the Cleveland Foundation, the George Gund Foundation, and Minnesota AIDS Project (Minneapolis, MN), with additional consulting work at the National College Access Network (Cleveland, OH) and the Corporation for Community & National Service (Washington, DC).

Jill is an appointed board member of the newly-established Cuyahoga County Monuments Commission and chair of the Culture subcommittee for the 2020 Census and the Complete Count Committee. She is the past chair and 11-year board member of the AIDS Funding Collaborative, Cleveland's public-private funder and advocacy collective; she serves as the Gund Foundation's board designee. She is also on the board of Care Alliance Health Center, a multi-million-dollar Cleveland-based nonprofit employing more than 140 people and providing care to over 15,000 Cleveland residents annually; Jill served as board vice chair. 

Jill earned a master's in nonprofit management from Case Western Reserve University. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate from Grinnell College with bachelor's degrees in French and sociology. Jill is a member of Leadership Cleveland (Class of 2017) and a graduate of the Wilder Foundation's James P. Shannon Leadership Institute, the Diversity Center's Lead Diversity program, and the YWCA's Momentum women's executive leadership program.

Jill lives in downtown Cleveland with her husband and daughter. She's an avid fan of contemporary art, and enjoys painting, drawing and spending time at many of Cleveland's arts and culture organizations.

You can reach Jill at 216.306.0113 or jpaulsen@cacgrants.org