Heritage Salon Spotlight: Haili Francis

Haili Francis

Haili’s professional background as an artist, cultural producer and scholar is synthesized through a confluence of curatorial practice, scholarship and fundraising strategy. Haili’s creativity offers a perspective on philanthropy that is human centered, fresh and innovative. Her core interests are in broadening access to museums through civic engagement and adopting inclusive practices to elevate dynamic narratives from historically disengaged groups. Her belief is that the arts and humanities can be diplomatic tools that can shape public understanding of culture in empathetic and thoughtful ways. The impetus for her work as a fundraiser is ensuring that cultural institutions are financially sustainable and in excellent service to the public, even in economic downturns. In 2016, Haili joined the Smithsonian advancement team during their $1.5 billion capital campaign, the largest in history for a cultural organization. In addition to her advancement work she has used her talents for special projects. Among her projects include working alongside the highly acclaimed Content Director, Marquette Folley, and the design firm We Should Do it All to select artists, manage donor relations, and co-convene the curatorial and scholarly advisory committees for the nationally touring Smithsonian exhibition, Men of Change: Power. Triumph Truth. 

Haili now leads the Office of Advancement at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage. She designs sophisticated strategies for board management, donor cultivation and stewardship events, and digital content to align the Center’s top philanthropic priorities with broader Smithsonian goals.

Haili Francis is an artist, scholar and Harvard trained cultural producer with specialties in African American and contemporary art. While pursuing her bachelor of fine arts at the University of Southern California, she completed a Getty Multicultural Internship at the California African American Museum and studied abroad in a fine arts program in Italy. Haili also received a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from USC and served on the Museum Services Council at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art from 2009-2011. Haili has worked extensively with the Kinsey Foundation for Arts and Education and their award-winning private African American art collection, The Kinsey African American Art and History Collection, which is one of the largest in the world.During the Smithsonian’s historic $1.5 billion capital campaign, Haili joined the advancement team at the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service. Among the traveling exhibition project teams Haili has worked on is Men of Change: Power. Triumph Truth, Robert Blackburn & Modern American Printmaking, Dolores Huerta: Revolution in the Fields, The Negro Motorist Greenbook and The Bias Inside Us. 

In the spring of 2019 Haili became an adjunct faculty member at Trinity Washington University where she taught the inaugural African American Art History I & II courses. Haili is an alumna of the Getty Leadership Institute and the AAM/Getty Career Management Fellowship. Haili has a Masters in Museum Studies from Harvard where she was awarded the Derek Bok Public Service Prize at commencement.

To learn more about Haili visit: http://hailiwood.com/

Follow her on social media:

  • Instagram: @hailiwood
  • Linkedin: Haili Francis

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