Arts and Education Council



Cynthia A. Prost

Cynthia A. Prost, President
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Cynthia Prost has over twenty years of nonprofit leadership experience and currently serves as President of the Arts and Education Council since 2008. In this role she oversees all institutional matters including fundraising and grant making.  She received her bachelor of arts (magna cum laude) and a master of arts in management from Fontbonne University in St. Louis.

Prost is an adjunct faculty member at Fontbonne University in the Nonprofit Management graduate program, teaching courses in fundraising, philanthropy, grant writing, strategic planning and board governance and management.

Prost has been recognized as a “Most Influential St. Louis Business Woman” by the St. Louis Business Journal, “Outstanding Arts Professional”, Grand Center Visionary Awards and a YWCA Leadership Award for Non-Profit Management. Prost is a graduate of the FOCUS St. Louis Leadership program; serves on the Private Sector Council of Americans for the Arts; the St. Louis Regional Chamber board; Social Venture Partners of the Regional Business Council; Community Board for Clear Channel Communications, is a former Commissioner of the St. Louis Zoological Park and the Tax Incremental Financing Commission for the City of St. Louis.



Kate Francis, Vice President of Development for the Arts and Education Council

Kate Francis, Vice President of Development
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Kate Francis joined the Arts and Education Council team in July 2014 as vice president of development. In this role, Francis provides leadership, professional expertise and direction to A&E’s philanthropic and development efforts and is responsible for corporate, foundation, individual giving, major gifts and planned giving.

Most recently, Francis served as chief development officer at the YWCA Metro St. Louis.  Prior to joining the YWCA, Francis served as director of development and marketing for Jazz St. Louis. She has held a variety of arts management positions including president and managing director of the Orpheum Theatre in Galesburg, Illinois, director of development for Arizona Opera, and campaign manager for the St. Louis Symphony. Francis earned her B.A. (cum laude) in Philosophy from Monmouth College.

In her free time, Kate enjoys spending time with her husband and three children, traveling, photography, singing and playing guitar.  She volunteers her time as Treasurer-Elect of the Lafayette Square Restoration Committee and as a member of the Kappa Kappa Gamma Stewart House Museum Committee in Monmouth, Illinois.

Heather Edwards, Development Manager
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Heather joins the Development team as a manager of Workplace Giving programs in the corporate/professional divisions. She earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Mass Media Arts cum laude from Hampton University (Virginia), and is currently working toward a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Missouri - St. Louis.

Her professional experience includes event planning, community relations, media, and other communications roles for the past 11 years, most recently as corporate relations/communication services coordinator with Centric Group, L.L.C. Additionally, she has served on the allocations panel for United Way of Greater St. Louis and is a volunteer with their GenNext program.
As a Thespian, Alpha Player, and trained classical ballet dancer, Heather continues to "keep art happening" by attending dance productions, live theatre, jazz concerts and watching great movies -- her most favorite is, The Wizard of Oz.


Dorothy Powell, Development Manager
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Dorothy manages the education and government divisions of development, and she holds over thirty years of experience in the education division. Dorothy and her husband Tommie have two sons and two daughters; Steven, Tommie Jr., Tammie and Wonder. Dorothy is especially fond of her grandchildren (7 boys, 3 girls) who call her “Darling.” Her favorite classical songs are Rhapsody in Blue, The Hallelujah Chorus and Moonlight Sonata. 


Melissa Howe, Development Assistant
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Melissa Howe joins the Arts and Education Council as the Development Assistant. In this role, she will work with the other members of the Development team on projects, special events and establishing a Young Friends of A&E program. Melissa graduated from the University of Kansas with a Bachelor of General Studies in American Studies with a focus in Popular Culture and is currently working towards a Certificate of Fundraising Management through the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at Indiana University- Indianapolis. In her free time, Melissa enjoys traveling to visit friends, running through Forest Park and exploring new restaurants.



The Arts and Education Council is deeply grateful to all donors and community partners for sharing our vision.

Patricia Tichacek, Director of Development Administration
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Pat has been with the Arts and Education Council since 1972. During her career at the Arts and Education Council, her duties have included raising funds, grant writing, direct mail, organizing workplace giving campaigns, publications, database management, special events, volunteer coordinator, liaison to arts organizations for various projects, and working with the board of directors on assigned programs among other responsibilities. Pat and her husband, Dave, have four daughters and several pets. She enjoys gardening, music, movies, theatre and travel.


Mandi Hanway, Online Giving Coordinator
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Mandi Hanway joined the Arts and Education Council in November 2014 as the Gift Processing Associate. In this role, Mandi will be responsible for processing and acknowledging donations and assisting the A&E staff with Workplace Giving Campaigns and special events.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music from Missouri Western State University, where she graduated with magna cum laude honors, as well as a Master of Fine Arts in Arts Management and Leadership from Webster University. 

Mandi’s professional experience includes database management, direct mail, individual giving, and social media.  She enjoys music, art, and theatre and is excited to be helping to keep art happening in St. Louis. 


Tonya Hahne, Gift Processing Associate
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Tonya Hahne joined A&E as Gift Processing Associate in March 2015. In this role, Tonya provides administrative support to the Development team including maintaining the donor database, donor acknowledgment, event assistance and prospect research. She has nearly 15 years experience in nonprofit member relations and development, and recently served as Development Assistant at the Humane Society of Missouri. A lifelong Metro East resident, Tonya looks forward to learning more about the arts and introducing them to her family and friends.



Susan Rowe Jennings, Vice President, Administration and Grants 
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Susan Rowe Jennings, Vice President, Administration and Grants, manages the administration for the Council, the Centene Center for Arts and Education and the grant application and allocation process. Susan has been with the Council for nine years and has worked in the arts for over 20 years including managing the AXA/ Equitable Gallery in New York City and working in the Curatorial and Development Departments of the Saint Louis Art Museum. Susan and her husband Michael have two daughters; Alex and Franny. In her free time, Susan enjoys reading, dancing and music.


Joe Soer, Controller
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Marketing and Communications

Krista B. Grant, Communications and Events Coordinator
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Krista Grant joined the Arts and Education Council in March of 2015 to provide marketing communications, public relations and event support. She holds a Master’s Degree in Arts Administration from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University, with a focus on arts marketing and a background in fine arts and graphic design. Krista has worked with nonprofits and arts organizations in a variety of capacities, including outreach, communications, PR and grant writing. 

Having recently returned to St. Louis, she enjoys revisiting the many arts institutions she frequented as a child as well as discovering the many new organizations that have grown in the area since. Krista spends her free time traveling, creating visual art, playing music and skating with Arch Rival Roller Girls.


Ellen Futterman, Communications Content Editor 
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Ellen has been communications content editor since January of 2009. In that capacity, Ellen contributes to A&E's Happenings newsletter and other publications. In addition to her work at A&E, Ellen is editor of the St. Louis Jewish Light, where she is responsible for editorial operations, including managing both staff members and freelancers. Under her editorship, the Light has won six Rockower Awards, which are the highest awards given for Jewish journalism.