aria mcelhenny pear associates

Aria McElhenny

Senior Consultant

Aria is fiercely committed to helping nonprofits grow and thrive through strategic fundraising and authentic partnerships. She has over 25 years of nonprofit leadership experience in development, communications, and management. At Pear Associates, Aria works with Perkins School for the Blind to help generate grant funding for their international programs for children with disabilities; with Apprentice Learning in Boston to expand their fundraising revenue from individual donors and with CISF in Jamestown, Rhode Island, helping to build resources for their outdoor education and boating programs.

Before joining Pear Associates, Aria was a fundraising consultant and grant writer for organizations in education, the arts, health care, and food justice. She also served as the Executive Director of the Gloucester Education Foundation, a nonprofit that has raised over $9 million for innovative programming in the Gloucester, Mass. Public Schools. Before leading the foundation, Aria established fundraising programs at Backyard Growers, an organization that promotes food access and healthy eating by teaching people to grow their own food, and Next Step, a youth services organization that helps seriously ill young people find community and resources as they transition from pediatric to adult health care, as each organization’s first Development Director. She cultivated her knowledge and love for the arts by working in Communications at the New England Foundation for the Arts in Boston for several years.

Aria earned her master’s degree in education from Harvard University and her bachelor’s degree from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She volunteers for groups in her community that support education and the arts. She founded the Cape Ann Development Warriors, a group of fundraising professionals that meets monthly to collaborate and build partnerships for the greater good.

Aria lives in Gloucester with her husband and three terrific kids, and their bagel-loving dog, Bacon.