Targeted expertise, with a proven record of success.


“Yona is a fabulous professional, with expertise in strategic planning, fundraising, nonprofit management, and much more. Her approach is holistic and effective. I consider myself very lucky to have been able to work with her!”

— Yael Reinharz, Founding Director, Surf Point Foundation


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 and aspire to generating social change. 

Founded by Yona Backer, Third Streaming Strategic Services (3S) has over twenty-five years experience working at the intersection of the arts, philanthropy, and social justice. Backer has built a compelling track record for her capacity building work with nonprofit organizations; providing strategic guidance and implementation plans, assessing and designing programs, coaching nonprofit leaders, and managing complex planning efforts to affect change and achieve mutually agreed upon goals. We meet organizations where they are and help our clients improve performance, remain relevant in the larger ecosystem, and deepen their impact while putting sustainable practices in place. Whether it is to help move an organization from start-up to the growth stage, or generate a turnaround after going through a period of decline, 3S is known for creating lasting organizational change.

Backer has developed a unique, global perspective in her practice. Her approach is collaborative, practical, and 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. 3S also works with individual artists and their families to develop, design, and create their own foundations including grantmaking, legacy planning, and other programs.


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


Key Achievements:

  • Crafting strategic initiatives with Executive and Board leadership

  • Designing fundraising campaigns and development plans

  • 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

  • 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 program assessments and evaluations

  • Designing grant programs

  • Program development for nonprofits and foundations

  • Legacy Planning and Estate Management

Life is short, art is eternal.
— Hippocrates


Yona Backer

YONA BACKER is a creative strategist  working in the field of contemporary art and philanthropy at the intersection of social justice.

Over the course of her 25+ year career in the arts, Backer has worked in the global contemporary art world in various capacities and contexts. They range from curator, educator, lecturer, cultural producer, and director of several art spaces, including the Americas Society where she was the Director of the Visual Arts. She co-led the Grant Program at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, during which time she initiated new programs and organized large-scale conferences. She is the founder of Third Streaming, an interdisciplinary art space in downtown Manhattan (2010-2014) dedicated to experimental and socially-engaged art.

Backer is best known for being a champion of artistic practice and free expression, and more recently, for the capacity building and fundraising work she provides to arts organizations and foundations situated at the intersection of art and social justice. In addition to her decade-long term at The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Backer consulted for artist-endowed foundations such as Lambent Foundation and The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation. 3S oversees The Alvin Baltrop Trust.

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, and confidentiality. She has a BA in Art History and History from Hunter College, City University of New York; and an MA in Art History and Archaeology from Columbia University. In 2018, Backer received her certificate from the Aspen Institute's Artist-Endowed Foundations Initiative (AEFI). Born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in Amsterdam, Netherlands, Backer is based in New York City.

Image credit Whitney Browne.

Image credit Whitney Browne.



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

Hunter College, NY
Bachelor of Arts, Art History & History

Clients Served

  • A Blade of Grass

  • African Film Festival

  • Art Production Fund

  • Artis



  • Creative Capital

  • Denniston Hill

  • Independent Curators International

  • Lambent Foundation

  • More Art

  • New York Community Trust

  • Nicole Klagsbrun Inc.

  • No Longer Empty

  • Protocinema

  • Residency Unlimited

  • School of Visual Arts

  • The Alvin Baltrop Trust

  • The Bronx Museum of the Arts

  • The Robert Rauschenberg Foundation