Louisville, KY (January 4, 2024) – Today, Fund for the Arts announced the NeXt! Ambassador leadership development program class of 2024. NeXt! Ambassadors will complete the program prepared to serve as effective, transformative board members and volunteer leaders for arts organizations.  

Stock Yards Bank and Trust returns in 2024 as the Presenting Sponsor of the NeXt! Ambassador program with a commitment to building transformative arts leaders of the future. Thanks to their generosity, the five-month program is free for all participants.    

This year, Fund for the Arts worked with the Young Professionals Association of Louisville (YPAL) to get the word out about the program and application to their members. Thanks to this partnership, 17 of those accepted into the program are YPAL members.  

The NeXt! Ambassador program is dedicated to preparing a new generation of emerging professionals for volunteer leadership roles within the Greater Louisville and Southern Indiana arts community. The program leads ambassadors through an immersive experience in which they develop necessary skills, build diverse relationships, apply lessons learned, and volunteer with local arts organizations. The program will conclude in May 2024 with a board matching event to support arts organizations and new leaders making immediate connections. Alumni of the program will be invited to participate as well.  


The 2024 NeXt! Ambassadors are: 

  • James Adams, Stock Yards Bank and Trust
  • Adetokunbo Adeniyi, GE Appliances  
  • Abigail Bauer, Access Care 
  • Tamekka Cornelius, Kentucky Performing Arts
  • Rebekah Courtney, Louisville Tourism 
  • Sachin Devkar, Semonin Realtors 
  • Casey Foley, Department of Agriculture (USDA) 
  • McKenzie Gary, RoamVista 
  • Sydney Harbin, Muhammad Ali Center 
  • Carrie Hardaway, Home of the Innocents 
  • Eli Jacob, Catholic Charities of Louisville 
  • Nicole Kaforski, University of Louisville 
  • Jeliah Logan, C2 Strategic Communications  
  • Erica McDaniel, Big Brothers Big Sisters 
  • Alex Mercer, Luckett & Farley  
  • Saravanan Murugan, Humana 
  • Joel Mwambayi, Edward Jones 
  • Emily Neat, Mercer 
  • Devin Payne, Culbertson Mansion State Historic Home Site 
  • Sarah Pennington, Pottery With a Purpose, Artist 
  • Jesten Slaw, Legal Aid Society Louisville 
  • Sara Smith Bowman, Leadership Louisville Center  
  • Ryan Stevens, Frost Brown Todd LLP 
  • DéQuan Tunstull, Musician  
  • Maria Villares, Fund for the Arts (ad-hoc member) 
  • Jared Williams, GE Appliances  
  • Jenna Williams, Brown-Forman 
  • Mary Wurtz, The Council of State Governments  

“One of the best ways to help shape the arts world is to join a board and raise your voice! NeXt! is so important to me because it helped me develop those skills and work towards making a difference,” said Kiana Del, President of the NeXtGen Board. 

The 2024 NeXt! Ambassadors represent a variety of professional industries and experiences and their inclusion as volunteer and board leaders will significantly benefit Greater Louisville’s arts and culture sector. 

Andre Kimo Stone Guess, President and CEO of Fund for the Arts adds, “The NeXt! Ambassador Leadership Development program builds a clear path for interested young adults to learn about the arts ecosystem, understand what organizations look to from board leadership, and see themselves directly in the arts. Fund for the Arts is proud to invest in future volunteer arts leaders and we can’t wait to see all that this year’s class will do.” 

To learn more about the NeXt! Ambassador program, visit www.fundforthearts.org/Next


About Fund for the Arts 

Fund for the Arts is a regional nonprofit with the mission to contribute to the overall health and well-being of our community by generating resources for, investing in, and supporting our local arts, artists, and arts organizations. The Fund envisions a healthy and vibrant community where everyone embraces the art that exists in our lives every day, everyone contributes to the well-being of our arts community, and it is understood that everyone belongs to the arts community. The organization facilitates the largest arts grant program in Greater Louisville and it conducts one of the two oldest united arts campaigns in the country. For more information, visit www.fundforthearts.org

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