Lisa Richards Toney became President and CEO of APAP on July 1, 2020. Ms. Richards Toney brings more than 20 years of experience leading a range of small and large arts and humanities organizations, managing change, and building stability. She most recently served as Executive Director of the Abramson Scholarship Foundation, where she increased funding and steered the foundation through a period of change management in programming, finance, development, and governance. She also improved the scholar experience by curating innovative professional development opportunities in financial literacy, professional visioning, and mental health awareness while utilizing professional networks to build exposure for scholars pursuing careers in the arts. As Deputy Director and later Interim Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, she worked tirelessly on behalf of the diverse resident artists and arts organizations of the District of Columbia. Her additional leadership experience includes Director, Writers and Schools at the Pen/Faulkner Foundation; Director, Literature to Life at The American Place Theatre, where she presented performances at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Library of Congress; and the first Executive Director of the Debbie Allen Dance Academy.
In September 2023, Ms. Richards Toney was named among industry luminaries to the first NYC Live Entertainment Industry Council by New York Mayor Eric Adams. She was also named one of "The Next 50
" as part of the 50th anniversary celebration of the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. She was previously a booking and producing consultant for cellist Okorie “OkCello” Johnson, consultant for the Reel to Reel Filmmaker’s Project for the Prince George’s County Arts Council, and provided tour management and planning support for Moving Forward Dance Company/Dana Tai Soon Burgess. She received her Bachelor of Arts Degree in Drama and English as a Presidential Scholar from Spelman College, a Master of Arts Degree as a John Beinecke Scholar in Arts Education from New York University, and was awarded a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship to study Black Dance in London, as well as a Vilar Arts Management Fellowship with the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.