Women At The Helm 2011

In the Arts, Activism, Government and Human Rights, These Out Nonprofit Leaders Create Positive Change Every Day.

Chelsea Lemon Fetzer: Executive Director,The Create Collective The height of the economic crisis might not seem like an ideal time to launch a nonprofit—but Chelsea Lemon Fetzer didn’t let the recession stand in her way. Along with co-founder Maril Ortiz, Fetzer formed The Create Collective, an organization that facilitates collaborations between professional artists and community-based spaces to offer free, high-quality arts programs to people of all ages and means. Youth development and identity, social justice, job creation, crime and safety are just a few of the issues Fetzer’s programs explore. Before starting The Create Collective—her first experience in the nonprofit sector—Fetzer developed and led a workshop series with her father, Ralph Lemon, called the Memory Project. She went on to teach undergraduate literature and writing courses at Syracuse University. She’s currently a volunteer for the New York Writer’s Coalition and leads weekly creative writing workshops for LGBT homeless youth, augmenting her desire to make a positive impact on the community. “The most rewarding part of this work has been creating relationships between artists and everyday people. Both perspectives are changed as a result. Again and again we witness the transformative possibility of these collaborations,” Fetzer says. “Relative to the usual life span of non-profits, we are still a very young organization. Optimism and energy are on our side.”