Taneshia Nash Laird, the first President & CEO of the Greater Roxbury Arts & Cultural Center (GRACC), which is currently under development in the Nubian Square commercial district in Boston, MA, has been named one of five winners in the First Annual Community Sentinel Awards for Black History Month 2023 by the New England Blacks in Philanthropy (NEBiP). Laird, who began her tenure at GRACC on December 5, 2022, was one of 29 nominees, which was then narrowed down to a list of 11 semi-finalists. After public voting, five winners were announced, including Laird.
Taneshia Nash Laird holds a Master of Arts in Live Entertainment Management from the University of Miami, Frost School of Music, and a Bachelor of Business Administration from Baruch College. She has a long and rich history in arts and entertainment. This includes having co-founded the MIST Harlem entertainment center in New York City, serving as an adjunct professor of entertainment and arts management at Drexel University, being a local/state official for economic development in New Jersey, and a board member for several local and national arts organizations including the National Independent Venue Foundation. She also mentors young Black professionals through organizations such as Women in Music and Diversify the Stage, as well as Princeton University’s GradFutures program. Her consultancy Legacy Business Advisors provides entrepreneurs and government agencies with social impact strategies.
Before being chosen to lead GRACC, she was president and CEO of the Newark Symphony Hall in Newark, NJ and previously served as Executive Director of the Arts Council of Princeton in Princeton, NJ. Her other awards include being named to NJBIZ’s Power 100, ROI-NJ’s Women in Business Influencer, and one The Network Journal’s 25 Influential Black Women
“I’m incredibly proud to be named to the New England Blacks in Philanthropy’s first class of Community Sentinels,” Laird says. “NEBiP does fantastic work helping to lift voices in the Black community and I’m honored to have been given a platform to amplify my work advancing social justice and economic empowerment through the arts.”
The mission of New England Blacks in Philanthropy (NEBiP) is to inform, reform and transform the practice of philanthropy. Their goal is to increase the assets and power of Black philanthropy and communities and support philanthropic efforts/research to inform the practice of philanthropy in Black communities. NEBiP launched the Sentinel Awards during 2023’s Black History Month. It is a 28-day, community-driven effort to identify a person, group, or organization that embodies what they call the 5 Ts of Philanthropy (time, talent, ties, treasures, and good testimony) given by each nominee. The award was named after “The Sentinel,” a bronze sculpture by African American sculptor Fern Cunningham-Terry and the first sculpture of a woman placed on city-owned land in Boston.
[Below is the nomination video of Taneshia Nash Laird]