Our Funding Priorities

Vitality Arts

Inspiring creativity in adults 55
and better

Discovery Arts

Sparking wonder through creativity
for children and youth

Humanity Arts

Enhancing homes and empowering
creativity for adults with mental illness


Founder's Message

After eight years, Aroha Philanthropies is changing its name to E.A. Michelson Philanthropy. While the Māori word “aroha” can convey ideas of selflessness, tolerance, kindness and compassion, which are values embedded in our founder’s philanthropic work, “aroha” is not a commonly known or used word in English. Going forward, we feel we need a name that better aligns with our identity as a small private foundation founded and led by Ellen A. Michelson. 

The mission of E.A. Michelson Philanthropy will remain the same: Through funding and advocacy, we champion programs that break barriers, build community and spark creativity. We are proud to have made grants totaling more than $47 million since 2006, actively supporting nonprofit organizations across the United States through direct financial support, advocacy, partnerships, informal alliances, convenings, trainings and more – work that we will continue to do.

Ellen A. Michelson

Founder and President
E.A. Michelson Philanthropy

“I move through my life every day enriched by art. Sadly, sometimes I forget to 'stop and smell the roses.' When I do stop and take notice, my day has just become a bit more fragrant. Art makes the world a better place.”

— Ellen A. Michelson

A bit about us

Teresa Bonner
Executive Director
(415) 547-9025

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Lindsay Lewis
Program Officer
(612) 377-8400

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Suzanne Paki
Grants Manager
(612) 377-8400

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Sarah Drebelbis
Communication and Event Coordinator
(612) 377-8400

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