Targeted expertise, with a proven record of success.


Yona Backer

YONA BACKER is a creative consultant working in the field of contemporary art and philanthropy, and the founder of Third Streaming LLC. 

Over her twenty-five year career in the arts, she has been a curator, a program developer for arts and culture spaces, and an experienced grant-maker with a special focus on artist-centered institutions and underexposed groups. She worked for 10 years at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, co-leading the grants program, before she began consulting in 2009. In 2010, she founded Third Streaming LLC, an experimental exhibition, performance, and meeting space in downtown New York (2009-2014) while continuing her consulting practice.  She has an extensive international network and brings a global as well as community-based perspective to her clients’ projects.

Backer is a great listener with an exceptional ability to successfully navigate complex webs of authority and responsibility. She believes collaborative solutions and transparent processes are key to achieving successful outcomes. Her process is research-driven, hands on, holistic and iterative while she helps her clients envision their next evolution and articulates the steps necessary to get there. 

Backer brings significant depth of knowledge across multiple issues and geographic areas in philanthropic giving and nonprofit management that directly matches the interest of her clients. Her team-based approach stresses creativity, effectiveness,  efficiency, customization, cooperation, and confidentiality. She has extensive experience with all aspects of governance and management as well as grantmaking and program strategies.  Her clients have ranged across arts, philanthropy and education organizations.

Backer has a Masters degree in Art History and Archaeology from Columbia University; she completed the Aspen Institute's Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative Seminar in 2018. She is a member of Art Table and Tilting Axis, and serves on the boards of apexart and Slought Foundation. Her writing has been published in magazines and art publications.

  Image credit Whitney Browne.

Image credit Whitney Browne.

Clients Served

  • A Blade of Grass
  • African Film Festival
  • Art Production Fund
  • Artis
  • Creative Capital
  • Denniston Hill
  • Independent Curators International
  • Lambent Foundation
  • New York Community Trust
  • Nicole Klagsbrun Gallery
  • No Longer Empty
  • Protocinema
  • Residency Unlimited
  • School of Visual Arts
  • The Alvin Baltrop Trust
  • The Bronx Museum of the Arts
  • The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation


Columbia University, NY
Master of Arts, Art History & Archaeology (Global Arts & Non-Western Cultures)

Hunter College, NY
Bachelor of Arts, Art History


Professional History

Founder & President, Third Streaming LLC
2009 to present
Senior Program Officer, Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts

Director of Visual Arts, Americas Society, 1997-1999


About Third Streaming

3S participates in the development of society through contemporary artistic practice. We are committed to increasing awareness around socially relevant issues by partnering with clients who share our values. We empower change by leveraging our collective resources that create sustainable impact. 

Founded by Yona Backer, Third Streaming Advisory Services (3SAS) has nearly twenty-five years experience working with nonprofit arts institutions and in philanthropy with a specialization in contemporary art and artist-centered institutions. Backer has a compelling track record of providing strategic guidance and implementation plans, assessing and designing programs, coaching nonprofit leaders and managing complex planning efforts to affect change and meet mutually agreed upon goals.

Backer has developed a uniquely, global perspective in her philanthropic practice. Her approach is collaborative, practical, hands-on, and rooted in an in-depth understanding and knowledge of the arts and culture fields. To address shifts in funding practices in an increasingly global economy, she works with funders and organizations to increase visibility, streamline practices, and identify practical, integrated solutions, which are realistic to achieve. 3SAS also offers strategic planning for individual artists, executors, and their advisors to accomplish the specific objectives of future or existing trusts and estates, with a focus on legacy planning, market analysis, philanthropic objectives, and the transfer of the collection’s assets through both sales and gifts.

Our clients have ranged across arts, social justice and education organizations including some of the most highly esteemed philanthropic and nonprofit arts institutions in the country.


All images above courtesy Third Streaming. Images credit Whitney Browne.


Key Achievements:

● Crafting strategic initiatives with Executive and Board leadership
● Completing Development Plans and Major Gift campaigns
● Leading Board retreats and self-assessments
● Growing client revenues from individual, corporate and foundation donors
● Hiring, training and mentoring staff
● Developing Boards, individual giving groups and exhibition support
● Repositioning and revitalizing benefit events
● Restructuring and rationalizing business activities
● Planning and implementing cultivation events internationally
● Teaching SVA graduate students
● Researching and cultivating potential donors for project support
● Managing grant pipelines and completing successful grant proposals
● High level grant programs assessments and evaluations
● Designing grant programs
● Program development for non profits and foundations