Who We Are

Richard H. Driehaus, a successful investment advisor, made his first public philanthropic gesture in 1983, when he established his eponymous foundation. For the next decade, the Foundation made grants totaling $6,000,000. In 1992 a family board was appointed, an executive director was hired, and giving became more formal and focused. Today the Foundation awards approximately $5,000,000 annually in grants, a portion of which is in partnership with the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The Driehaus Foundation benefits individuals and communities by supporting the preservation and enhancement of the built and natural environments through historic preservation in neighborhoods throughout Chicago, encouragement of quality architectural and landscape design, and conservation of open space. The Foundation also supports arts and culture, investigative reporting and government accountability, and organizations that provide opportunities for working poor people.

Board of Directors

  • Anne Lazar, President
  • Dorothy M. Mellin, Vice President
  • Elizabeth A. Driehaus, Treasurer
  • Christopher Mellin, Secretary
  • Bill Beck 
  • John Chandler 
  • Michael Lykoudis
  • Ernest Wong

Employment Opportunity 

  • The Richard H. Driehaus Foundation is accepting resumes for a full-time Grants Manager position. Details about the role and application process may be found here.

Anne Lazar

Executive Director

A life-long resident of the Chicagoland area, Anne Lazar received her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration Marketing and a minor in Math and Computer Science from Loyola University of Chicago. Anne began her career with Burroughs Corporation as a sales representative in the education segment, selling to schools and universities. She then transitioned to Driehaus Securities Corporation where she worked from 1987 through 1992, managing operations and trading for their international equity portfolios. 

A strong supporter of arts and culture, children’s health and social services, Anne has held officer positions and co-chaired the annual gala for the Women’s Board of Catholic Charities. As a member of the Women’s Board of the Joffrey Ballet for the past twelve years, she and her husband co-chaired the 2016 annual gala. In 2016, Anne co-chaired the annual See Chicago Dance gala that honored Richard H. Driehaus and his valuable contributions to the dance world in Chicago.

In addition to valuing her time spent as a member of the board of trustees for The Richard H. Driehaus Museum, she served on the museum's 2018 10th Anniversary Gala Committee and currently serves as the Chair of the RHDM Development & Marketing Committee. Anne has also served on various school-related boards, including committee leadership, fundraising and gala planning at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart. Anne is a member of the national board for the Institute of Classical Architecture and Art, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Advisory Committee for its Where Women Made History campaign.

Suellen Burns

Senior Program Officer

Suellen Burns has been a versatile professional in the arts, environmental, and urban planning fields for over 25 years. Most recently, she served as senior advisor – urban communities & partnerships for the Illinois Department of Natural Resources. There she contributed to program/project development, stakeholder engagement, partner relations, capacity-building, and targeted grantmaking for the agency’s work in the Chicago area and Lake Michigan coastal region.

Her previous work includes the roles of executive director for Arts Bridge (the nation’s first business incubator for the arts), development director for Friends of the Chicago River, and proposal reviewer for Gaylord and Dorothy Donnelley Foundation. Suellen’s other capacity-building clients and employers range from the Suzuki-Orff School for Young Musicians and Chicago Human Rhythm Project to Illinois Conservation Foundation and South Chicago Art Center, among others. 

She holds a BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a MS in Leadership and Policy Studies from DePaul University. She serves on the Commission on Chicago Landmarks, an appointment from Mayor Lori Lightfoot, and is an adjunct faculty member for DePaul University’s graduate School of Public Service. 

Anita Alexander

Program Officer

Anita Alexander has over twenty years of experience in philanthropy, program development, audience engagement, and arts education. Anita previously served as Program Officer at The Chicago Community Trust, where she worked to increase access to quality arts learning opportunities, and participation in the arts among underrepresented communities. Anita also directed the national and international grants programs for Motorola Solutions Foundation. There she helped the Foundation increase its support for community public safety programs, and improve its efforts to increase the number of women, girls, and people of color in STEM education programs and careers.

Anita's previous work includes the roles of Curator of Education at the Columbus Museum in Georgia, and the Artist Services Director at the Arts Council of Fayetteville/Cumberland County in North Carolina, where she developed and managed arts programs, exhibitions, and regional grant programs to support artists. She also taught art appreciation as an adjunct faculty member at Campbell University's Pope Air Force Base Campus.

Anita is a native of Chicago. She holds a BA in Art History and an M.Ed. in Aesthetic Education and Policy Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Nicholas Burt

Grants Manager/Program Officer

Nicholas Burt previously served as Grants Administrator at the Lloyd A. Fry Foundation. He is a member of the Grants Managers Network (GMN) and past presenter at GMN conferences on the topics of electronic board books and foundation data tools. His interests within the field include practices to streamline the grantmaking process for grantees and applicants. His work experience includes positions at several nonprofits in the social services and the consulting firm of Grenzebach Glier and Associates. He also taught elementary-aged children with AmeriCorps VISTA on the Texas-Mexico border. Nicholas holds a BS in Journalism from Northwestern University and lives in Albany Park.

Amy Domagalski

Project Administrator/Executive Assistant

Before joining the Foundation, Amy spent nine years at the Ralph Lauren Corporation, where, most recently, she was the Brand Presentation Manager of the Midwest region. She also served as the Executive Assistant to the President & COO of the Polo Retail Group in New York. Her background also includes an executive assistant position at MTV Networks. Amy graduated from The Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, New York.