Dawn M. Ellis & Associates (DME) helps those in the business of helping people. Through creativity, research, technical assistance, and education, DME improves work in the public good arena. Across the U.S., DME works with schools, districts, governmental agencies, nonprofit and service organizations, philanthropies, businesses and individuals. We place people at the center of the work: the students, patients, clients, communities, and customers the agency seeks to help.
Our services include facilitation, curricular and professional development, coaching, critical friend guidance, leadership cultivation, educational and program design, partnership development, evaluation and research translation, strategic planning, grant writing and giving optimization, creativity consulting, and leading seminars and residencies.
Creative and Cultural Core
Founder and President of DME, Dawn Ellis brings the creativity of a multidisciplinary artist (performing and visual), the social justice mindset of a community developer, the capacity building skills of an educator, and the keen inquiry of a researcher to the firm. On one day, she could tap creative and reflective techniques from the cultural realm to help adults envision, develop, or adapt their professional practice. Another, might consist of modeling and participating in a learning community, then stepping back to peer coach, observe, interview and facilitate groups of students, families, and adults. DME services strive to leave people and their organizations in a wiser, more capable, connected place, to harness their own skills and those within their network to meet their professional and social benefit goals. From grassroots inclusion work in rural Vermont, to leadership development in urban Anacostia, DC, to national research on the staff of the President's Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, Dawn understands the cultural sector deeply. She's taught, strengthened, and empowered groups working in all levels of the system, across discipline, socio-economic class, geography, background, ability, and age.
DME began in the 1990’s as a Vermont-based sole proprietorship started by social entrepreneur, educator, and creative, Dawn Ellis, with a particular emphasis on the cultural sector, education, and access. In early 2000’s, Dawn M. Ellis & Associates incorporated and added research, policy, and strategic planning to its portfolio to address a growing need in the field to address questions of quality, impact, and coherence. At the same time, the geographic reach expanded to serve clients across the United States. Bridging sectors, the firm developed frameworks to help people design programs to serve whole children and whole families, as they navigate school, health, social service, and rehabilitation programs,as well as life in their homes and communities. Today, DME’s client list includes public agencies, philanthropies, nonprofit organizations, service associations, corporations and small businesses, schools, coalitions, and individuals.
National Scope, International Reach
Organizations with international reach, such as the Ford Foundation, VSA arts, and Ford’s Theatre invited DME to research and help guide debut funding or programming initiatives. Service associations such as the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies, National Guild of Community Schools of the Arts, Educational Theatre Association and the Arts Education Partnership and national agencies such as the National Endowment for the Arts turn to Dawn M. Ellis & Associates for translation of research to practice, leadership development, and building learning communities. States seek DME assistance with facilitation, professional development, educational design, and inclusion work, including coalitions across California, Rhode Island and Alabama and agencies in Connecticut, Vermont, Tennessee, and Wyoming. At the local level, DME assistance ranges from logic modeling and strategic planning, to building social capital to build bonds for more sustainable communities, to the development of creative approaches to documenting and do-it-yourself evaluation tools.