Meet Our Staff


Elena Forbes

Hometown: Barrington, RI

Elena is excited to bring nearly eight years of experience in arts and humanities fundraising to her work at Elevate and her clients. Prior to joining Elevate, Elena most recently held grants management positions at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts and at the Folger Shakespeare Library where she focused on writing grants for initiatives ranging from scholarly research projects to performances and exhibitions to arts and literacy-building education programs to rare materials acquisitions. She has a particular passion for serving the performing arts and arts education sectors, and for exploring new ways to optimize strategic planning, evaluation, and infrastructure development processes for arts nonprofits.

Elena supports arts work in the region by serving on the Board of Directors for Gourmet Symphony and volunteering as a judge for the Helen Hayes Awards. She is also an active member of the Grant Professionals Association. She holds a MA in Arts Management from George Mason University and a BM in Instrumental Music Education from The Catholic University of America.

When not at work, Elena maintains a profile as a freelance professional clarinetist and can be found museum-hopping, being a habitual patron of many local theaters, or enjoying the eclectic culinary scene of Washington, DC.

What punctuation mark would you be and why?

The Oxford Comma, because like its definition, I strive to be clear, unambiguous, and understandable.

What is your grammatical pet peeve?

The misuse and/or overuse of contractions.

What is your favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon?

Either relaxing and recharging for the week on the couch with a good book (or Netflix), or at a matinee performance of a musical or play.

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